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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a friend who has a drop in jacuzzi tub. She recently replaced her shower head with a hand held one.
The neighbor below her told her that her wall and ceiling are showing signs of them getting wet. (its a 3 floor condo building my friend in on the 1nd and the neighbor on the ground floor.
The neighbor sent her plumber up to talk to her and tells her because her tub is a drop in and does not have a flange the tub needs to be replaced. My friend thinks its the drain flange. I say you don't replace a tub to fix a problem with either flanges.
The did a test the other day (I was not there) looking up from the hole in the ceil from the neighbors apartment below they had her run water in the tub for 2 or 3 seconds and said they could see the water.
To me the test would account for water on the neighbors ceiling and replacing the drain gasket would fix it.
The plumber insists on replacing the tub because it does no have a flange and there isn't any guarantee that fixing the tub will resolve the leak because the tub does not have a flange.
This is all coming to me second hand and I am just about screaming to myself this is crazy- the plumber wants 2500 to replace the tub not including the tub. Please tell me i am not insane thinking this is crazy. a one dollar drain gasket and a tube of silicone or replace the tub OMG insanity.
 

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Was it leaking before the shower head was replaced? Its possible something came loose when that was done. I agree the plumber seems to be looking for profit more than a proper diagnosis.

What is a drop in tub? Got a picture?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Drop in tub rest on platform. Think stove top. No leaks for 10-12 years.
I say there may be 2 issues drain gasket and caulk around perimeter of tub plus grouting needs inspection. She uses the Hand held now to clean the tub and walls she can be spraying anywhere - but the floor outside the tub is not wet.
but to replace tub?????
 

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Does she shower in the tub. He means that the drop in doesn't have the lip like other tubs do that the tile comes down over top of. Most drop in tubs aren't made to be showered in. If they see water when just the spout is on then the leak is at the tub drain. If it leaks when the walls are getting washed then that's a different issue.
 

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This "...She uses the Hand held now to clean the tub and walls.." is likely the cause.
She is now spraying water directly onto areas that used to only get indirect water splash. Suggest that she simply wipe down the walls, instead of spraying them, and see if the problem persists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Does she shower in the tub. He means that the drop in doesn't have the lip like other tubs do that the tile comes down over top of. Most drop in tubs aren't made to be showered in. If they see water when just the spout is on then the leak is at the tub drain. If it leaks when the walls are getting washed then that's a different issue.
I got the rest of the story. There were 2 leaks one a few months ago caused by caulk around the spout. She wanted the spout replaced and whoever had installed it as well as time (16 years ago) the spout would not come off and had to be cut off. New one was put on. She had 3 pro there of course the first found the leak from the caulk around the spout but the first 2 would no touch cutting it off. The third was the GC from downstairs who had his plumber come in cut it off an replace it. Along with the replacement was a hand held shower head. Fast forward my friend sating how she loved the hand held (I'll bet) she could clean and wash down the walls now. Great new except her downstairs neighbor started to notice her walls under the tub showing signs of being wet. GC from downstairs came up with his plumber and took the side off the tub and could see when spraying the walls the water seeping through. Now i know hindsight is 20/20 but being a pro and the caulk around the spout failing should he have maybe wanted to caulk the tub then. But now that suggestion isn't on the table its replace the tub for $2500 that's for labor she need to go buy a tub and with it only the first 2 rows of tile (which will look like hell). The only way to do this is because he has the ceiling open below and can connect the tub from their since the vanity would have to be removed to gain access. My question is what if the grout it failing higher up. By removing access from the side because its a drop in you have no way to monitor it. Why not clean out the old caulk and re-caulk it maybe even take away the hand held. She had no problem for 15 years. The other option and probably why a drop in tub was put in (for access the vanity is built in original - tub, tile surround and floor tile replaced) is to redo the entire bathroom (the tub and toilet are in one room with a door and the other side is the vanity). Point being it could be fixed for the price of tube of silicon caulk rather than the other options
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This "...She uses the Hand held now to clean the tub and walls.." is likely the cause.
She is now spraying water directly onto areas that used to only get indirect water splash. Suggest that she simply wipe down the walls, instead of spraying them, and see if the problem persists.
YEAP!
but replace the tub or caulk
 

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While the ceiling below is still open, simple elimination tests will tell you what's leaking.
-- Run the water thru the spout and check the drain set. Leaking or not?
-- Run water around the tub to wall caulking. Leaking or not?
-- Check the tub carefully for cracks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It was proved that the issue is the caulk around the tub (done 15 or so years ago ) when you look closely at the caulk there isn't a well formed bead. I'd say the original installer should maybe have put a backer rod in before caulking. But do you reseal the grout and caulk properly check for leaks OR rip out the tub without even trying. Of course no more hand held sprayer. The wall tiles are in good shape as well as the floor tiles both of which will be damaged or require more to accommodate the tub which has a lower height and width than the platform for a drop in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Was it leaking before the shower head was replaced? Its possible something came loose when that was done. I agree the plumber seems to be looking for profit more than a proper diagnosis.

What is a drop in tub? Got a picture?
I have asked for a picture. but no no leaks until began using a hand help shower wand to clean walls. I asked if while cleaning the walls they noticed any debris - no. But maybe it was pushed in or unnoticed or non existent and just the force of spray is causing issue. Caulk bead around tub is not well defined. because its a platform you can take the front off and see underneath. this makes an attempt to caulk properly and verification easier. But to rip out the tub before caulking. $2500 in labor not including tub or tile and only replace 2 rows of tile and half row of floor tile with something that doesn't match in an otherwise very nice bathroom. It doesnt sound ideal.
 

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. But do you reseal the grout and caulk properly check for leaks OR rip out the tub without even trying.
I can’t believe you are asking that question. You can buy a tube of quality caulk for less than $10 and spend 2 hrs doing a proper job of recaulking. Or you can spend $1,000 and 3 days replacing the tub. Hello … !
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Well you can only lead a horse to water. She ignored the obvious easy fix. Because of two reasons the owner below her is has insisted she get it fixed properly (this is here 3rd leak in 18 years 1-toilet wax seal 10 yeas ago, spout caulk leak then surround) so the person sent her GC to do the work. What I do not understand is when the GC/Plumber pair fixes the spout they ignored the caulk around the tub. The second reason is she didn't like having to step so high to get into the tub. (obvious reason to ignore the simple fix).
She called me to say the plumber got the tub in. Its her money and you cant argue with her. However when the GC came and looked at he got mad at the plumber. The sent her a text about removing all the tile because the walls are not plumb. The plumber says there are hair line cracks. (they should get their stories straight)
(I went there today. Looks like a nice job tub is level. I suggested to her to get bright lime green tiles or red ones to fill in. - she picked red)
all three walls lean in a couple of degrees. They are also not square (wider at the opening) 2-3 degrees. There was no lose or cracked grout but it could be sealed. I could not feel and hairline cracks in tile. I did not see any cracks that had may not have gone through the tile glazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
While the ceiling below is still open, simple elimination tests will tell you what's leaking.
-- Run the water thru the spout and check the drain set. Leaking or not?
-- Run water around the tub to wall caulking. Leaking or not?
-- Check the tub carefully for cracks.
Spout problem resolved by caulking. One would think that since there may be an issue with spout caulk check the caulk around the perimeter. Hell its been almost 20 years just re-caulk it. this should have averted the second issue. When the side access panel was removed (this is a jacuzzi tub) and watching underneath the plumber said when spraying water directly at caulk line it began to leak. But the repair of re caulking was not an option what she was told from the plumber is that re - caulking would only last 3 months.
The only option is to replace the tub.
I think this is ridiculous. But anyway the tub is replaced now they want to tear out the walls -see last post.
Thanks for helping
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I can’t believe you are asking that question. You can buy a tube of quality caulk for less than $10 and spend 2 hrs doing a proper job of recaulking. Or you can spend $1,000 and 3 days replacing the tub. Hello … !
She's already paid more than that just to replace the tub. Now the GC want to tear the walls out because they are < 2 degrees out of plumb
 

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Well you can only lead a horse to water. She ignored the obvious easy fix. Because of two reasons the owner below her is has insisted she get it fixed properly (this is here 3rd leak in 18 years 1-toilet wax seal 10 yeas ago, spout caulk leak then surround) so the person sent her GC to do the work. What I do not understand is when the GC/Plumber pair fixes the spout they ignored the caulk around the tub. The second reason is she didn't like having to step so high to get into the tub. (obvious reason to ignore the simple fix).
She called me to say the plumber got the tub in. Its her money and you cant argue with her. However when the GC came and looked at he got mad at the plumber. The sent her a text about removing all the tile because the walls are not plumb. The plumber says there are hair line cracks. (they should get their stories straight)
(I went there today. Looks like a nice job tub is level. I suggested to her to get bright lime green tiles or red ones to fill in. - she picked red)
all three walls lean in a couple of degrees. They are also not square (wider at the opening) 2-3 degrees. There was no lose or cracked grout but it could be sealed. I could not feel and hairline cracks in tile. I did not see any cracks that had may not have gone through the tile glazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Why was GC mad at plumber?
I have no idea Pat. I am telling the story as it was told to me. Not being in the trade says you wanted the plumber to remove 2 courses of tile (as i think she said you had wanted) so you could get some green board behind it. Now with 2 inches to work with you are worried water will get behind it. In either case it should have been done before the new tub went in. To step back even further you could have put a caulk backer in and re caulked the surround but telling someone (as was told to me) that caulk lasts three months is not a true statement and makes people question why it would be stated. Considering she had gotten 15+ years of service out of the old caulk before she started spraying and scrubbing it. Again a caulk backer and silicon or PVA caulk and keeping up with maintaining it or maybe even replacing it every 5 years in could have lasted indefinitely. Then it was said the wall is out of plumb - well all the walls are out of plumb a little over an 1/8 bubble or about 2 degrees they are also not square. Again I am not in the trade. But if this matters it should have been checked before you cut a hole in the vanity wall considering you would have the whole open to install a new diverter which also probably didn't need to be replaced except at the owners request. But I think you just wanted to get some new green board higher up which is valid but saying this makes people question its reason. There is also loyalty to the the neighbor and to make her problems go away not caring that bathroom will look like hell with mismatched tile on the surround and floor , the vanity needs to be replaced anyway you should have insisted and advised the whole bathroom should be redone otherwise she will reduce the resale value especially in that neighborhood. Considering the owner wanted the rub replaced.....

I would like to point out that when the replacement tile is installed what will you use to seal the tile to the tub? Is there some magic product no one knows about or will you be using ... Caulk? well won't that fail in three months? Is i t special caulk? I thought you and the plumber said caulk only lasts 3 months if that.
 
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