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Old 10-20-2013, 12:08 PM   #1
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


Hello all and thanks in advance for checking this out. I'm a newbie at home improvement but have a problem that 2 plumbers have been unable to solve, so I'm not quite sure where to go to get answers, or whether or not/how I should approach this problem myself.

Essentially, for the past few months, there has been a water leak that happens only sporadically through my living room ceiling above which there are two showers. The water occasionally comes through two light fixtures (I'll turn off the electricity if I attempt to do anything with regards to fixing this myself).

Like I said, two plumbers came out and tore holes out of the ceiling but then couldn't find the source of the leak. So, should I call a contractor or something to come have a look? I don't even know how to approach finding the leak in the first place since I'm assuming it's coming from inside a wall somewhere.

Thanks y'all.

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Old 10-20-2013, 12:17 PM   #2
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


Does it only leak when the showers running?
When it's raining outside?
Did they open up the ceiling below and check for drain leaks?
Anyone check to see if the stems leaking in the shower valve and running down the back side of the wall?
Anyone open up the wall behind the shower valve to take a look?

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Old 10-20-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


Open up the ceiling.
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:40 PM   #4
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Does it only leak when the showers running?
When it's raining outside?
Did they open up the ceiling below and check for drain leaks?
Anyone check to see if the stems leaking in the shower valve and running down the back side of the wall?
Anyone open up the wall behind the shower valve to take a look?
Well, the plumbers opened up the ceiling and used some IR tool to find out the general areas where the leaks were and there were 2. One of them evidently got fixed (according to my girlfriend, whose house this actually is). I took a look where the other leak is and all I see are some pipes from which the dust pattern underneath clearly shows water has been dripping. I also saw some dirty joints with a yellow color. I suspect that's where the water is coming from because the sealant used in other joints is purple and this one section is yellow... Why else would it be yellow? However, we can't replicate the leak. It has only occurred maybe 3 times since she has lived here (for several years), and it doesn't seem to correlate with washer usage or shower usage. Also, she describes the leak as "gushing" but I'm not sure a faulty joint would cause that kind of leak.

Anyway, to the other poster, the plumbers did not take out the shower fixtures. I think they both did a crappy job trying to figure this out. How much should I expect to spend on paying someone to solve this problem if I can't?
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:50 PM   #5
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


What color are the pipes? Beige?
If so there CPVC.
It's possible one pipe had primer on it then got glued and the other one did not.
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #6
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


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What color are the pipes? Beige?
If so there CPVC.
It's possible one pipe had primer on it then got glued and the other one did not.
They are all white.
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:44 PM   #7
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


Well there's one problem.
Are they hard or flexible?
If there hard then there PVC which is not rated for pressure inside a home, only for drains and vents.
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:44 PM   #8
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


I'm not sure Joe but usually a loose joint is pretty easy to spot. I'm thinking maybe like a roof leak and it's leaking down on the pipes. Or maybe a bad caulk job on the shower control plate, and the way you stand it gets splashed then runs down on the pipe. Maybe really check the caulk around the tub, with someone in it. The caulk could look good then when the weight is added it opens up a little. Check the caulk around the outside of the tub maybe one bad spot.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:35 AM   #9
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


as toolseeker mentioned it could be a roof boot leaking around a vent pipe in the wall in question. try and get a look at the roof above the leaky area and see if there are any pipes protruding from that area. if so, make sure the boots are sealed to the pipe...otherwise is it and exterior wall that the leak is located in? could be a penetration in the house envelope allowing water in somewhere.
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:29 AM   #10
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Approach to a rather complex ceiling leak


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It has only occurred maybe 3 times since she has lived here
The leak has probably occurred countless times. She has only noticed it a few times. It is likely rotting your house and building up mold. You need to track it down. Toolseeker had some good thoughts on items to check. If you have the ceiling opened up now, that helps. Run the shower for a while and see if any water is visible below. Spray the towards the shower hand valves --- look below for a leak. Next time it rains, look for a leak (if the weather is too nice-the old standby is putting a hose on the roof). Keep in mind that it could take 10 or 20 minutes from the time you start running the water to the time it becomes evident below.

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