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Old 12-06-2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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Kids bathtub water issue

The "kids'" bathroom in our house is currently our only working shower while the master bath is being renovated (other thread). I'd been hoping to ignore it entirely, but think I have an issue I should address now.

This is a standard bathtub+shower combo. The shower walls are I think a "mud job" with maybe 1.5" of mud in a metal lathe. No waterproofing anywhere from what I can tell (and from experience demolishing the master shower). The floor is a travertine cobble on Blanke Permat that I put in maybe 18 months ago. (In hindsight I wish I had used ditra for the waterproofing, but I'm not going to rip it out now for that.)

When I replaced the floor I found the area in the left corner against the tub was rotten. I assumed it was from kids splashing water out of the tub and pooling in that area. I replaced the subfloor there, made sure it was caulked well against the tub and behind the molding so if water spilled it didn't just flow straight to the subfloor (recognizing that the floor isn't water proof but figuring that way there is time to clean up the water with a towel) and assumed it would be OK.

Somehow I kept finding water in that corner, even when I thought our daughters hadn't made a mess. It got worse with all four of us showering (while I'm rebuilding the master shower) and the caulk in the tub very rapidly deteriorated. I started looking at this harder and realized that the water is appearing a couple hours *after* a shower, even when no water is ever spilled from the tub.

Thinking about it, I think I realize my understanding of the problem was wrong (kids probably get off the hook for the water here ). Whenever water got behind the tile (either via grout or cracks in the caulking) it was sitting there and eventually making its way around the edge of the tub then down behind the bullnose to the floor from behind the tile. In the small area of the back of the lathe I can see from the access to the shower valve, I can see some dampness in the mud and the lathe toward the bottom is definitely a bit rusty.

I had been considering replacing the tub surround once the master bath is finished. Obviously I'm not going to start that now, but need a quick fix. I'm thinking of doing a quick recaulk of the joint to remove the obviously cracked bits, and trying to cram some more caulk all the way back to the flange (if I can) to the left of the valve so water doesn't run down the side of the tub to the floor anymore.

I'm a bit unclear on leaving gaps in caulking for a tub, but obviously I don't want the water going out the back of the mud job, either. Leaving a small gap in caulking in the far corner of the tub might help to fix this problem?

Does this make sense for what might be happening and quickly resolving it?

In the future I might revisit this thread with any discussion of replacing the tile, but as this is our only shower now, that isn't today

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Old 12-06-2017, 12:28 PM   #2
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I too am using the "other" bathroom while working on the master. Also saw water damage in same area. I think it's extremely common because the water gets behind the tile and then migrates down there eventually.

But I've got it under control now by simply using a better shower curtain liner that has little suction cups on the sides. Every shower I pull the curtain and stick it about 1/3rd of the way onto the wall with the shower head, completely covering the area where water can intrude and work it's way down to the floor. Area is dry now. But it's only the wife and I, so easier to control.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:30 PM   #3
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We call this area the tub leg. Its a common spot for water damage due to poor shower curtain use, kids being kids, and the area not being waterproofed.

For when DIY isn't such a good idea...
Houston TX area Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

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Old 12-07-2017, 11:29 AM   #4
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Too long did not read.

Remove ALL caulking. Recaulk the section about an inch in from the top of the radius on each side. By recaulk i mean stick a blob of caulk in the gap under the tile. You want to build a dam to keep the water from travelling behind the tile and working it's way to the legs. Recaulk the rest of the tub. Use something better than silicon. Something that needs a solvent for clean up.
These would help also

Travis, that is a very good idea!

It's just a clever handle.

Last edited by Shady at Best; 12-07-2017 at 11:38 AM.
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