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How to Check for Bathroom Leaks – A Homeowner Guide

ceiling leak

Usually, the first sign of a plumbing leak in your bathroom will be water stains on the ceiling of the room directly below. This is usually a sign that the leak has caused expensive damage to hidden areas and you must call out a plumber to inspect and repair the leak.

Most plumbing leaks originate near plumbing fixtures like bathtubs, shower enclosures, sinks and toilets. By taking the time to look out for some telltale signs that your bathroom could have a leak, you could save yourself a headache and expensive future repair bill.


Shower leaks

It’s a good idea to check the seals around your shower and showerhead from time to time, as this is somewhere where an undetected leak can lead to a more serious plumbing problem.

It can cause major damage if the water is constantly leaking and coming into contact with the surrounding wall or floor.

peeling paintwork

Shower leaks could soon become an expensive plumbing repair because extensive renovation work might also be required.

Wooden floorboards and joists are prone to swelling and eventually rot, which can cause an expensive replacement project where your shower tray or enclosure may have to be removed so that work can begin on the damaged area below.

Things to look out for include peeling paintwork and rotting flooring. If you have vinyl flooring, this is more of a problem, as water puddles can cause the flooring to curl and deteriorate to such a level where it will allow water to come into contact with whatever is underneath – usually wood.

You should keep curtains inside the bathtub when taking a shower to minimise the risk of puddles of water on your flooring. Mould spots on silicone and seals are another troubling sign. This can often show that there are gaps in any silicone that should be repaired.

mouldy silicone

Check shower doors, check the condition of the rubber seals, check for gaps where the shower tray meets the floor. Sometimes sealant is used. If it’s rotten and has gaps, scrape it out and apply a new lot. Remember to make sure it’s completely dry before testing or using your shower.


Bathtub leaks

The same applies to shower enclosure leaks. Check all areas and seals for gaps. It’s difficult to spot some leaks as water disperses very slowly.

Leaks from pipes can be difficult to detect because we often hide pipework behind bathroom panelling and walls. In such cases, your first notion of a leak will be water stains on the ceiling of the room below.


Bathroom floor leaks

Vinyl flooring is prone to rot and will often curl at edges from prolonged exposure to water.

Tiled floors can leak through cracked tiles or problems with the grouting. Make sure to find reliable bathroom fitters in London for expert renovations and tiling work, as problems in this area can cause major damage.


Bath drain leaks

Leaks around plugs and drains are one of the most common places where a leak can form in a bathroom.

bathroom drain

More often than not the water will leak slowly so it’s difficult to detect. The easiest way to test for a leaking drain or bath plug is to plug the hole and fill the bathtub with a little water. Check back after an hour to see if the water level has dropped. If it has, it’s an obvious sign of a leak – although it could also be the seal of the plug stopper, so check this too. It’s a lot cheaper than ripping a bathtub only to find that there isn’t any damage below.

Drain leaks are more common with plastic and fibreglass bathtubs. The same is true of shower enclosures and shower trays. The material is softer than a ceramic, so can adjust as you manoeuvre on top of them. This can sometimes break the seal around the drain or plug hole, which can allow water to escape onto the area below.


Tiling leaks

tiles can leak by allowing water to escape through damaged silicone or grouting.

gap in tiling

Escaped water can easily manifest behind walls or drip down onto the floor area and cause damage. Mouldy tiles are a warning sign that there may be gaps in your grouting or silicon. Often tiles will come loose or fall off as a result.


Toilet leaks

Most leaks that originate from a toilet are caused by a leak between the toilet and the waste pipe. This means that every time your toilet is flushed, water will leak. Because your toilet is probably used more often than shower damage to floors can escalate quickly to become expensive plumbing repair jobs.

toilet caulk

If your toilet moves when you sit on it it’s a sign that you could be in trouble as over time the rocking might break the flange seal and lead to a leak. Check the seals around the bottom of the toilet where it meets the floor, to make sure that the toilet is secure.


Tap leaks

Leaks around taps will often lead to an area that is hidden, so detecting a leak can be difficult.

tap deterioration

Damaged seals and deteriorating silicone areas around taps and faucets can allow water to seep through and damage the area below. With sinks and basins, it’s usually easier to get an unrestricted view of exactly what’s going on underneath the sink, so pouring excess water around the top of the tap area and checking the area below is the easiest way to detect a leak here.


Sink leaks

Sink leaks can also occur at pipe joints and in some cases the pipes themselves. It’s always a good idea to check thoroughly at regular intervals. Water running down a pipe and onto the floorboards below can cause them to become swollen and go rotten over time.

hidden piping


Sink drain leaks

Sinks drains can leak in the same ways as bath drains, so the same type of checks should be carried out. Puddles and excess water at the base of the basin on the floor are obvious signs that there is a leak.

Takeaways

If the leak is hidden, the best thing to do is turn off all the water in the house, go out for the day, or at least a couple of hours. When you get home, check the water metre. If it’s lower, then it’s likely that you have a hidden leak in your plumbing system and you’ll need to book a professional leak repair service.

Disclaimer: The information on this web page is presented for general guidance purposes only and is supplied without liability. Such information is provided in good faith. Whilst every care has been taken in its preparation, no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions which it may contain. The information on this may be updated or changed at any time without warning.

How to Check for Bathroom Leaks – A Homeowner Guide

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