How to Fix a Leaking Bathtub
Noticing a leak in the bathroom is just the start. Even once you have isolated it to your bathtub, finding its specific location can still be pretty challenging. Here are our tips for a full inspection and how you may even be able to solve the problem yourself.
Identify Where the Leak Is Coming From
There are a few possible culprits for leak sources. Here’s how you can detect them:
Check the Drain
If your drain has become compromised, water could seep out from beneath your bathtub. If the leak is coming from beneath the drain, you will require professional assistance to set it straight.
However, if it is the drainpipe itself that is behind the leak, you may be able to fix it yourself with some plumber’s putty.
Inspect Your Faucets
Your bathtub catches all the excess water, so what’s the problem if the faucet constantly drips?
Well, not only can a dripping faucet drive up your water bill, but it can also corrode your bathroom plumbing. This, in turn, could have caused your leak. Make sure to check the integrity of your faucets, especially if you have been dealing with a drip.
Examine Your Showerhead
If your bathtub is beneath your shower, then the source of the leak could be your showerhead. The two key places you should check are around the spout of the showerhead and where it connects to the hose. Water from the showerhead could run down the wall and along the edges of the tub, leading to water pooling up around the bathtub.
Evaluate Your Walls
Cracks or significant sections of missing caulk can contribute to a leak. Check the integrity of the walls next to your bathtub. Your prime suspects will always be your pipes and drains, but sometimes the walls themselves can be behind your leak. Don’t skip over them!
Repairing the Leak
Once you have located the origin of your leak, it’s time to start fixing things. Depending on the severity of the leak, you may be able to fix it entirely by yourself.
Fix the Faucet
Before trying to fix the faucet, make sure you have shut off the water to the bathroom. If you miss out on that step, you will be in for more than a leak when removing the faucet.
Remove the faucet with a screwdriver to lift the cap. You may also need a wrench to remove any nuts. From there, you can replace any of the damaged parts that may have been causing your leak.
Note: Even if you have turned off the water supply to the bathroom, any trapped water may still gush from the faucet when you first remove it. Prepare yourself for this by standing slightly away from the faucet as you take it apart.
Re-Do Your Grouting
You may not need to replace your grout or caulk entirely to fix your leak. Sometimes, a heavy-duty sealant can fill in the necessary gaps and provide a perfectly effective solution.
The first thing you will need to do is clean the affected area. This step is critical as mold and bacteria can affect how the sealant lays, and if you haven’t used mold-resistant caulking, the high moisture levels in the bathroom can make grout an attractive breeding ground for mold. If you haven’t cleaned the area properly, you may have to do it all over again in just a few months.
Once the area is clean and completely dry, apply the sealant and leave it for a few hours. This fix repairs small cracks in the grout, but it isn’t appropriate for more severe damage that will require professional input.
Fix Any Cracks within the Tub
Sometimes the bathtub itself, and not its environment, is the problem. If you notice any cracks or damage to the tub, you can quickly repair them with a sealant in the same way you would fix gaps in your grout.
The process is very similar. Ensure that your bathtub is clean and dry before applying the sealant, and use it to fill in the cracks. Once it is fully dry (approximately three hours, depending on the climate), you can use sandpaper to smooth out the sealant. The repair will be undetectable and your tub restored. Simple!
Not all fixes are quite as simple as the ones we have listed. Some require professional assistance, especially if the damage is extensive. No matter how confident you are, if you aren’t entirely sure, you could end up doing more damage to your plumbing in the process.