Mysterious Bathtub/shower leak


Hello everyone,
I bought a condo in a building that was built in the 1920s within the past year and the head of the condo association brought a leak in the basement to our attention a few months ago. Considering the extent of the damage that was already there (the whole basement ceiling is plastered over EXCEPT where this spot is--it's got moldy boards hammered up over it and all the beams are splashed with rust), I figured it couldn't actually be from my apartment since certainly the previous home owner or someone on the association would've said something!
Lo and behold, of course, it IS from my apartment. Every time I take a shower, it leaks down into the basement. The head of the association keeps insisting it's the caulking on the tub, but it looks absolutely fine to me. I can't find any cracks or holes in anything that would allow that amount of water to escape. And it only ever happens when someone is IN the shower. if you leave the shower running, no water leaks downstairs.
Could it possibly be the overflow on the tub? I need to call a plumber but I'd like some idea of what it could be before I'm charged an arm and a leg to replace a bunch of stuff because I'm a new, clueless homeowner.
Thanks for any help anyone can provide!
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I had a similar leak that turned out to be around the tub spout. Shower water would run down the wall and behind the spout. I caulked the top 2/3 of the gap between the spout and the wall and the problem went away.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Yes, it *can* be from the overflow. This is a fairly common problem. Showering produces a heavy flow of water right over the plate.
There is a rubber gasket behind the tub which is supposed to seal everything, but they often are out of place or deteriorated.
You can replace the gasket from inside the tub by snaking it thru the opening. Some sealant on the new gasket won't hurt either.
The assembly looks something like: http://www.plumbingproducts.com/wasteoverflowparts.html
As suggested, don't overlook the penetration for the tub spout either.
Jim
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On 5 Mar 2007 10:06:27 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I had a bathtub that would only leak when someone was in it. You could fill it with water and leave it and it wouldn't leak until someone got in.
Turned out that the drain basket nut wasn't tight enough and the added weight of a person would flex the tub enough to open a small path for a leak around the drain.
Have someone take a shower while you watch from below...
HTH,
Paul
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On 5 Mar 2007 10:06:27 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

imho:
I saw on TV, where the face plates from the fauciets and shower handles had a foam gasket. The show guide said they quickly degrade, and should be replaced with plumbers puddy. It was recommended that every several years to check and replace as needed.
Do you think you getting watter running down the wall and going behinde these faceplaces?
tom @ www.FindMeShelter.com
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It can be anywhere. I had a persistent leak from the shower in my master suite. I fixed, replaced, caulked, then fixed, replaced, and caulked some more. Still leaked. For an entirely different reason I replaced the original plastic 1964-vintage accordion door on the shower with a new tempered glass unit. During that process I found that the water had been leaking into the door, down the channel, into a concealed mounting hole, down inside the wall, across the floorboards under the shower pan, and THEN down beside the drain. Man, what a mess!
All I can say is, don't ignore any possibility. Where water flows it will leave traces -- all you have to do is follow the tracks after getting all the preconceived problems out of your mind.
Good luck.
--
John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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