Tub leak troubleshooting flowchart

Hi,
I have a tub/shower leak on the second floor, damaging first floor ceiling. I am wondering if there is a Troubleshooting FlowChart somewhere that I ca n follow. Here is the long version.
First floor bathroom ceiling shows signs of mildew. Cut the sheetrock and n oticed trace of slow leak (joist and sub-floor decolored). Checked the p-tr ap servicing the upstairs tub and changed it (it was 1/3 clogged, old iron cast, tub drains good, no signs of leak around the p-trap now).
I then re-caulked the upstairs tub as I saw signs of water at the base of t ub (close to drain side).
Here is what I mean by troubleshooting flow chart....
1- If p-trap is leaking, then replace/repair, done. 2- If tub is not sealed, then re-caulk, done. 3- If leak happens when tub/shower is not used, then check supply lines 4- If leak happens when shower head is running, then check diverter and/or shower head connections 5- If leak happens when down spout is running, then check diverter and/or d own spout connections 6- If leak is on the cold side, then check cold valve stems 7- If leak is on the hot side, then check hot valve stems 8- If all fails, scream help, kick the tub, declare life is not fair, etc
Something like that...
One specific question, if the valve stems are bad, would they leak behind t he wall? Or only if the packing nut is lose?
From what I understand, if stem seat, o-ring, washers are bad, water leaks into the tub. But what would make the water leak behind the wall? Would tha t be the packing assembly?
Is there a book called "plumbing for dumb software engineers" :-)
Thanks
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On Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:13:38 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

One thing you are missing. Is the seal at the drain leaking? You must make two checks. The first just by running water, the second my having the biggest person in the house get in and shower while you watch from below. The weight of the person could be deflecting the pan just enough for a leak.
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its best to make certain the main house drain is working well or the water can back up into all sorts of wierd troubles
if there are any shelves etc in the tub area they can leak too..... check caulking its easy to overlook.
if the main drain line is 1/3rd clogged it may be better to replace the entire run to the basement.
I had REPEATED problems and my kitchen cieling came down repeatedly. over many years. I finally replaced the 3 valve tub control with a brand new delta one handle temperature pressure control and had a plumber replace the entire tub sink drain line from the vent level to the basement.....
the old copper drain line was turning green from tiny leaks and was clogged 1/3rd to 1/2 half.....
sometimes its better to bite the bullet and just fix everything possible.
everything wears out eventually
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On Wednesday, July 24, 2013 4:57:36 PM UTC-7, bob haller wrote:

r can back up into all sorts of wierd troubles

caulking its easy to overlook.

ntire run to the basement.

many years.

dle temperature pressure control and had a plumber replace the entire tub s ink drain line from the vent level to the basement.....

ed 1/3rd to 1/2 half.....

If main draining system was the problem, other bathrooms, sinks would exhib it similar signs. This problem is localized to one bathroom and just from t he tub, not the toilet, not the vanity sink (all connected to one 3" pipe, aka sewer line).
Can you guys focus the discussion on how a 3 handle shower valve system wor ks. Specifically if the stem seat was bad, the water would keep running int o the tub. (so I think), what if the packing nut (or any rings thereof) wer e bad. Would that leak the water behind the wall.
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2137main:
My computer isn't allowing me to post properly for some reason. If I send my post in an e-mail to your apparant gmail address, will you get it? If not, can you just e-mail me at:
mlr;rnsu @ ilos . net
where each character in the character string mlr;rnsu is replaced with the key to the left on a standard QWERTY keyboard, or n k e l e b a y
and, take out all the blanks.
1. You need to caulk the openings made in the front wall of your tub enclosure for faucet handles, diverter and tub spout to prevent water running down the front wall during a shower and getting INTO the wall at those openings.
2. No, if those openings made for your faucet handles, diverter and tub spout are caulked, I don't care how badly worn out the parts in your faucet are, there won't be water leakage into your wall.
You say you recaulked around your tub. You should be aware that nothing sticks to old cured silicone, and you have to remove the old silicone caulk COMPLETELY from your old tiling before any new caulk will stick, and that includes new silicone caulk as well. Nothing sticks to old silicone caulk, not even new silicone caulk. So, water leakage past the silicone caulk MAY be a concern.
--
nestork


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