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Unread 11-26-2007, 09:37 PM   #1
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Can't find the leak in our grout????


We need help. We just put in a whirlpool bath/shower wall with faucet and wall jets and tiled all around it and it leaks-somewhere. . We took the tile down, found the path the water travels along the top of the tub and retiled it. We regrouted carefully and then we caulked every thing that connected the tub to the tile. We thought we fixed it.
The problem is our son is autistic ( little understanding about where to keep the water when playing) and he likes to take long baths. He fills up shampoo bottles with water and just dumps them out back into the tub-sometimes he shoots the water upwards to the tiled wall ( like a fountain). Somehow that water is finding a path behind the tile and down the wall. It comes out on the floor behind the grout lines on the wall and then leaks downstairs. We can't see any cracks or spaces in the grout, but when we take the tubs access panel off we see a line of water that has to be coming from the tile walls grout lines.
I know the easy fix would be to say watch your son better or don't let him do that, but it's not that simple. Bathtime is one of the only activities he enjoys. His whole day is filled with activities he tolerates, but doesn't enjoy. It's the time for him to be alone and just relax in the water.

Is there any grout, any sealant, any caulk that would stand up to long baths with an active kid? Or any other suggestions? Any kind of dye or something like that to find the leak?

thanks for your help....
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Unread 11-26-2007, 09:43 PM   #2
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a1a2ana3, welcome to the forum.

Could you please tell us what is under the tile? Sounds like that may be your issue.
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Unread 11-26-2007, 09:47 PM   #3
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Hi Ana,

Im cautious to jump to a conclusion, and say it is one thing or another.
Water leaking all the way downstairs sounds like a lot of water to be
coming from splashing about. Any chance you can post a picture?
You can seal your grout and it will help to keep it from staining, caulking
will stop a direct flow of water. If it is pooling against the tile wall, and
there is no waterproofing underneath the tile it could amount to enough
water to travel downstairs i suppose, at least enough to be noticed.
I dont want to scare you but, have you checked the pipes on your
whirlpool for leaks? You mentioned it is new, but sometimes even new
ones leak.
Jack Hamilton


Temecula Tile and Natural stone contractor
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Unread 11-26-2007, 10:14 PM   #4
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I'm a plumber. Tracing a source of a water leak is one of the more difficult calls a plumber goes on (next to "where's that smell coming from"). It is made more difficult because nobody wants their ceiling or walls opened up (understandable) so we have developed certain methods for eliminating one potential source at a time until it's narrowed down to just a few possibilities.
1) fill the tub to over the overflow and let it run though the overflow for a while.
no leak? Overflow gasket is OK.
2) let tub drain completely
no leak? Drain is OK.
3) Run shower directly into tub without hitting any walls.
no leak Shower riser OK.
4) Direct shower spray towards walls.
no leak? side and back walls OK.
5) Splash water on faucet wall.
That's usually the one. It's (usually) either water getting through around faucet escutcheon plate or around where tub spout meets the wall.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
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Unread 11-26-2007, 10:57 PM   #5
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does this particular tub have a rolled flange on it that extends up a bit that the wall board comes down and covers or did it require a tile flange be installed prior to wallboard going on?
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Unread 11-26-2007, 11:34 PM   #6
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Does seem odd to have that amount of water to be leaking from your little guy playing in the tub. When my 2 girls take a bath they have a ton of fun and I haven't had any problems. When I do a tub surround or shower I go overboard with prep just to make sure. And everyone gets epoxy grout! This is a non negotionable thing with me. If I do your shower I am using epoxy grout, don't like that then I'm not doing your work. When you find out what the problem is and fix it I would recomend re-grouting it with epoxy grout. I use all laticrete brand products so I won't have to worry about them saying that the reason this failed or that is because I didn't use they're brand and such. With all that being said, did you use any type of moisture barrier on the wall prior to installing the tile? If not I would highly recommend doing that and using epoxy grout.
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