Bathroom leak

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Bathroom leak

Post by Kathi- on Sat Feb 23, 2013 2:18 pm

We've lived in our house 14 years, and before we bought it, there was water damage next to the shower that needed repair. Now I've noticed a wet stain has crept beneath the vinyl flooring in the same general area.

It's been there for a few months, to be honest, but we've been procrastinating due to not really knowing the best course of action.

Does anyone know who would be a good sort of person to look at this? We don't want to spend a lot of money, but I am concerned about mold or rot.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Buckwheat on Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:14 pm

Kathi- wrote:Does anyone know who would be a good sort of person to look at this? We don't want to spend a lot of money, but I am concerned about mold or rot.

I would guess a plumber. Perhaps he would know just by looking at it where the problem likely is.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Kathi- on Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:42 am

I think the floor will have to be replaced, though. Not sure a plumber would do that? I think I need a flooring person.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Safari on Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:45 am

Our shower/bath had a similar leak, and it was discovered that the floor was all rotting underneath. I think we got in a plumber initially, but then we had to get a builder to take the shower/bath out, and put in a new shower (we don't have a bath anymore Sad ). It was a very expensive exercise. I hope yours is not that far gone.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by citygal on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:03 am

How about going to Home Depot or Lowe's just to pick their brain and get some guidance on what to do? We recently did that about a leak under the kitchen sink. We have never been able to tell where the leak is coming from--many sources are possible with all the pipes, connections, etc.--yet every few months it's slightly wet underneath. We made the grim discovery that water had pooled under the shelf paper on the floor of the cabinet, damaging and warping it. We removed the shelf paper and went to Lowe's, where they advised us to let the cabinet floor dry completely and then put a board over the bottom of the cabinet. We've let it dry and for now at least no more damage is being done and for now we have just kept a towel underneath on the floor of the cabinet to catch any leaking; there's still a bit of a leak now and then but at least it's pretty dry and not warping further. Someday maybe we'll get a plumber to figure out the source of the leak, but we are stubborn about spending the money. I know your situation is entirely different from ours, but in any case I don't think it would hurt just to take a trip down there and pick their brains as far as solutions.

In addition, when we moved in there were water damage spots on one bathroom ceiling and while we've lived here we sustained damage to the other when the (former) upstairs neighbor's toilet exploded and flooded her bathroom which dripped down to ours and also spread to the bedroom ceiling. And in the past year something dripped through my kitchen ceiling and left an unsightly stain on the ceiling. The (current) upstairs neighbors said nothing was amiss in their unit. We got in touch with the condo association management company but no one ever figured out what it could have been.

Another reason I don't enjoy homeowning. An apartment manager would have it fixed by the end of the day.

Good luck. These things are so frustrating and annoying. You just know money will have to be spent and in the meantime it's unsightly and unsettling.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by uv on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:36 am

Yeah, I would think the most important thing is to identify the source of the leak and that does sound like plumber territory. But there are also dampness control experts who may do more comprehensive work. But hopefully it's a minor problem and you don't need all that. It's not a bad idea to talk to Lowe's just to see if they have any advice. We sometimes find someone at Lowe's who really knows what they're talking about.

Just a thought but if you really are unsure how to proceed, you might also call in a general handyman to see what they say. Some of them may do a free initial visit and estimate. At least some general advice might help you figure out what experts you need and whether there is anything you can do yourself.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Kathi- on Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:40 pm

Thanks, guys. We do have both a Home Depot and a Lowes nearby, and that might be a good place to start.

We'd like to redo the bathroom in general, just don't want to spend the 5K I am sure it would cost (at least) to do a good and complete job. Actually, both bathrooms could stand some serious updating, but we can't do anything on our own because it involves plumbing, electrical, tiling, etc.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by fatkattykat on Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:29 pm

Wow, $5K for a bathroom remodel budget? You may want to double that if you want a complete overhaul, unless your homeowners insurance or warranty is awesome. This is just based on what I have experienced vicariously through others who need to redo their bathroom.

A flooring person might be able to fix the wood/infrastructure underneath the leak, but you may want to have a plumber try and at least assess where the leak is coming from. No point in ripping up your bathroom until you can find the source of the problem.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Kathi- on Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:18 pm

OK, the Lowes guy said they don't do that kind of work and recommended that I get a contractor, so after some research, a contractor is coming out on Thursday to check out the damage.

At this point I don't know how much work needs to be done, so I don't know the cost. We do at least need to fix the water leak. A complete overhaul is not necessary, but some overhaul would be nice. Neither of us likes the shower tile, the shower, the floor, or the vanity. The toilet is OK Very Happy , and we painted the walls ourselves. There is a nice mirror. Since it's the master bathroom, which nobody ever sees, it's never been a high priority although it is the most dated thing in the house.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Safari on Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:14 am

Kathi- wrote:Since it's the master bathroom, which nobody ever sees, it's never been a high priority although it is the most dated thing in the house.

Ah, I was wondering which one it was, because I remember being quite impressed with your bathroom (the other one), and was wondering why you didn't much like it! blushing2 I don't remember seeing the master bedroom one, although you did give me a tour of the house the first time I went there. Smiling

Good luck with the fix - hope it works out to be cheap enough.

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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Buckwheat on Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:48 am

Kathi- wrote:At this point I don't know how much work needs to be done, so I don't know the cost. We do at least need to fix the water leak. A complete overhaul is not necessary, but some overhaul would be nice.

When I got my overhall last year I said I wanted a "lipstick" remodel and the guy I called out got that. I spent 2K. Now I didn't have a leak but I got the floors replaced, vanity painted, new sink, new lighting fixture new toilet... etc. Some guy came out before him and said it was "a tear down" and would cost no less than 10 K. Glad I ignored him.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by citygal on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:32 am

Well good luck Kathi and I hope it's not too much sticker shock and maybe you'll get a nice new bathroom out of it. My neighbor had a complete overhaul in her unit about a year ago - I haven't seen it but apparently she is very happy with it. It must feel very good to have a nice new bathroom or kitchen.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Kathi- on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:28 pm

I found a contractor on Angie's list who came out, deemed the problem is most likely not serious, and is going to give us an estimate to just fix the master bathroom floor and the shower door (which he thinks is the source of the problem). If it works out, I'll keep him in mind for any further renovations. I don't think we will do a complete overhaul at this point, because the leak is sort of an urgent situation, whereas an overhaul is more optional and much more expensive.

Safari, regarding the main bathroom, we don't like the countertop because it is tile with white grout, which makes it very hard to clean, and the wallpaper is pretty dated (paisley) and starting to peel off the walls. There are fluorescent overhead lights. The mirror is tarnishing at the bottom. The sink has goldtone fixtures which are tarnishing, and the tub has a big chip in it and the tub stopper doesn't work. We do like the tan tile floor in there with the dark grout, and the toilet is OK. I guess the white vanity has been moderately updated, since it is not original, but I have a vision for that room involving a new shower/tub, new mirror, new wall covering (I am thinking something with shine, such as metallic copper paint or wallpaper since the room has no window) and a smaller vanity with dark wood and a light granite countertop. It would be nice to have wall sconces and a different sort of lighting.

All of these things are basically cosmetic, which makes it hard to justify the amount of money it would take to have it done professionally. But we cannot 'do it ourselves' this time, not with tiling and grouting and plumbing and bathtubs and such, so it's just sat there for 14 years this way.

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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Safari on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:37 am

Kathi- wrote:Safari, regarding the main bathroom, we don't like the countertop because it is tile with white grout, which makes it very hard to clean, and the wallpaper is pretty dated (paisley) and starting to peel off the walls. There are fluorescent overhead lights. The mirror is tarnishing at the bottom. The sink has goldtone fixtures which are tarnishing, and the tub has a big chip in it and the tub stopper doesn't work.

Hmm, I guess I didn't really notice any of that stuff (although it's been a few years since I was there). Smile I just thought it was a 'pleasant' bathroom. Heh.

Glad it's probably not a serious problem that needs fixing!
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Kathi- on Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:13 pm

Update: that first guy never even sent us an estimate! Guess it was too small a job (if so he should have said so!).

So a guy from a different company came to see it yesterday, and (supposedly) is sending an estimate tomorrow.

He'd better follow through. I feel like going on Angie's list and giving the first guy an F.
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by citygal on Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:57 am

There are tons of tips on the internet ("inexpensive bathroom remodel"), articles on buzzle.com, etc. for inexpensive remodeling, like buying counter tops from an outlet or resurfacing instead of replacing. But you've thought of all the options. Definitely sounds like you're due, Kathi, for a complete bathroom overhaul. It would be great. Hope you can find a way to do it. Depends how much involves plumbing and how much is cosmetic. Renovation can sure be expensive; intimidates me enough not to do it.

If I felt ambitious I would probably redo my bathroom. The toilet needs replacing; it's low flow and often needs two flushes. I don't have a problem with the wallpaper from the previous owner; it's probably not very modern but I don't know the difference. The tub and tile are probably original (1988) and the grout gets stained but it's not bad enough to take action. I don't mind living with old stuff; renovating is just not on my radar screen. In the living room and second bedroom the paint is from the old owner, as is the carpet throughout. I'm embarrassed to say the border in the second bedroom is coming off but I don't care. I certainly don't have the motivation to do something about it. As I've said in the past, I do not embrace homeowning like a lot of people do who fix up these condos really cute. I just move my stuff in and live here.

It I were looking at renovating, i would probably check out a local design school where there might be students who would be grateful for an opportunity to practice on my bathroom and give me something I'll love. Maybe they do projects as part of the coursework. Or I might check the local Home Depot or Lowe's bulletin board for some individual who enjoys doing renovations and won't spend all my money and might have creative ideas for inexpensive options. Or angie's list.

BW's "lipstick" remodel sounds good too. Guess there would be as many price quotes as there are contractors out there, each one with his/her own opinion.


Last edited by citygal on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:53 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Bathroom leak

Post by Safari on Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:28 pm

Kathi- wrote:Update: that first guy never even sent us an estimate! Guess it was too small a job (if so he should have said so!).

We had a builder come in and redo our bathroom a few years back. A year or so later, we needed a fence/gate built for the dog, and so my mother called him to ask if he could have a look at it for us and give us a quote. He said he would and was all enthusiastic about it...but then never showed up. I always wondered if it was because there had been some issues with the bathroom building and it got delayed and we didn't have a shower for ages, but we realised it wasn't his fault - it was his supplier - and obviously we weren't bothered if we called to ask him to do another job for us. Who knows, but it makes these people look very unprofessional. You totally should go give that guy an F. Cool Hope this other one works out better!
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