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Bathtub Leak Repair: Find the Leak First

Bathtub leaks can occur in several shapes and sizes. Some are easily fixed, others may require a plumber to repair. The first step is to identify where the leak is coming from. A bathtub leak can be generally found in five different areas. Let’s take a look at those areas one-by-one:

1. The Aged Faucet

The most likely cause for a bathtub leak stems from an aged faucet. Leaks around the faucet, can be fixed by replacing the washer and sealing the valve threads with plumber’s tape. It is important that the water be shut off before unscrewing the faucet.

2. The Grout (Not the Pipe!)

Most tub and shower leaks don’t come from a leaky pipe. They occur when tile grout shrinks around the tiles where the shower stream hits and splashes, causing water to rundown behind the tiles on the floor.

While this type of bathtub leak repair is relatively easy, it can be difficult to locate because the water can flow down to a spot in a very different location from the initial leak and be noticed there. Once the bathtub leak area is identified this can be a DIY which can be fixed by simply re-grouting the tile.

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3. The Bathtub Body

If the bathtub leak is coming from a place other than the faucet, fill the tub up with water and turn off the water. If the leak is somewhere in the tub itself, you will be able to see very quickly where it is coming from.

Cracks in the actual tub itself are relatively rare. If there is a crack in the enamel, a reddish brown rust would form along that crack. If a crack cannot be identified, the problem is likely a leaking overflow washer.

4. Overflow Pipe

The overflow washer is a beveled rubber washer that can be found between the back of the bathtub and the overflow pipe that connects to the drain-pipe from the tub. The overflow washer can be replaced either as a DIY if you are handy, but it is likely that this bathtub leak repair may require a plumber.

5. The Drain

If the outlet pipe is clogged, the first plan of attack is to use chemical cleaners to unclog. If the drain is only moderately clogged, a quick attempt at a fix is to pour a half-cup of baking soda followed by a half-cup of vinegar down the clogged drain. This may take up to 3 hours to work, and watch out as the vinegar-baking soda combination may get messy.

As with any leak, mold is a serious issue that will grow exponentially if left untreated. Should the bathtub leak repair not be able to be rectified in a short time frame as a DIY, be sure to call a professional plumber.