For quite some time, I have had evidence of leaking from my bathroom,
in the form of first a soft spot in my kitchen ceiling, and now the
spot has tears in it.
The spot in my ceiling is directly under a corner of the shower stall
in my bathroom - same side as the shower fixtures, at the entrance to
Because I thought the caulk and grout looked okay, I called a plumber.
Plumber checked out the drain and it was okay, fixtures seemed okay,
and he suggested that I recaulk, just because it had been several
years since I did that.
So I did things the right way - carefully removed all the old caulk,
washed down the surfaces thoroughly, dried them out in three separate
cycles involving paper towels, a hair dryer, and cloth towels, taped
off the area to be caulked, used GE silicone caulk, pressed the bead
in with my wet finger, carefully removed the tape immediately, let the
caulk cure for 36 hours before using the shower - and as soon as the
shower went into use today, leakage from ceiling.
As I said, the plumber "blessed" the drain and the fixtures, and ran
the shower without standing in it, and there was no leakage. It's not
the toilet; the toilet was flushed several times during the 36 hours
of shower non-use and there was no leakage, and the ceiling soft spot
felt warm and dry to the touch last night.
I have looked, VERY hard, at the grout along the wall from where the
leak point seems to be. The grout is ugly, and I've never done
anything with it in my 20 years in this house, but I just plain don't
see anything that would appear to be a reliable leak point.
To quantify it, we're getting maybe 5-10 tablespoons of water coming
through our ceiling when my wife and I shower. Obviously, there's
more that leaks but stays within the ceiling.
I'm guessing that the problem is with the wall with the shower
fixtures on it - not just because the ceiling leak is directly under
that wall, but because if the shower runs and runs with no one
standing in it, no leak. Only when the shower water bounces off a
person and runs down that wall do we get the leak.
With all the above information, what should I look at as a leak
source, bearing in mind that I see no deficiencies in the grout?
And if the problem IS the grout, what's the easiest EFFECTIVE way to
fix the problem? Meaning I don't want something that will challenge
me; I'm pretty worthless at repair, but I want the repair to last for
years, not weeks or months.
One final thought: I'm contemplating duct taping a plastic dry cleaner
bag along the shower wall in question, just to see if, with the wall
covered, the leaking stops, since I'm pretty discouraged after doing
the best caulking job I've ever done, and having that NOT be the
answer. How useful will this approach be as an investigative tool?