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Leaking Shower: Is it Behind the Drywall?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Heading over to Virginia to chat with Roderick about a leaky bathroom. What’s going on?

    RODERICK: Yeah, I’ve actually got a – I bought a three-level townhome and at the top level where the shower is, where the door is, I’ve actually got a leaking – it’s actually leaking towards the bottom on the drywall and I’m trying to find out what’s the best way for me to actually try and find that leak.

    TOM: Do you suspect, Rod, that the leak is behind the wall or do you think it’s happening when the water sort of bounces off you when you’re standing in the shower?
    RODERICK: You know what? I actually looked at the seal. I actually looked at the seal by the door and the seal by the door looks about fine, so I’ve got a suspicion it’s actually coming from behind the actual drywall itself.
    LESLIE: Hmm. And there’s no access panel to look at the plumbing itself?
    RODERICK: You know what? There isn’t. I’ve actually got to probably knock out that drywall to actually find the actual leak itself, so …
    TOM: Well, before you do that, Rod, why don’t you take off the shower head and then screw on a cap to the end of that pipe. You take the shower head to your local hardware store; they can sell you a little cap for the end of the plumbing pipe that’ll be just, you know, fifty cents. Screw it on there …
    TOM: … and then turn the shower on. So now …
    RODERICK: Yeah.
    TOM: … you don’t have any water coming out but you have the shower line pressurized and see if the water …
    TOM: … shows up behind it. If it doesn’t show up behind it, then there’s nothing wrong inside the wall. Don’t go performing, you know, sheetrock surgery looking for a leak that doesn’t exist.
    RODERICK: Yeah, exactly.
    TOM: Now, if it’s not there, then the only other thing it can be doing is just dripping down from somewhere else. So it’s either bouncing off you when you’re in the shower or it’s collecting in the door and running out; it’s coming from a different location. But if you pressurize that line and you don’t have a leak, then that’s going to actually save you a lot of aggravation.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you’re opening it up, Rod, you want to make sure that – especially if you’ve got access behind it – leave an access panel. This way you’ve got a piece that’s removable without completely damaging the drywall again, so in case there ever is, God forbid, another leak or incident, you’re able to get to those pipes.
    RODERICK: OK. I really appreciate it.
    TOM: Alright. You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.  Sounds to me like Roderick really wants to tear into this wall.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah. Looking for an excuse to do some demolition.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) We’re trying to tell him not to do it.  Demolition is fun but reconstruction, not so much. 

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