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Leaking shower or pipe behind wall

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  1. #1
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    Default Leaking shower or pipe behind wall

    Not entirely sure where to start...or the best place to start.

    Appears we have a leak somewhere. The vanity unit has swelling on one side the wife discovered when cleaning today.
    The brick wall at slab level looks damp around the area of the corner of the shower and on the other side of the show wall is the toilet wall where there appears to have been slight movement in the corner with a 12mm long gap slowly starting to appear between the wall and the top of the skirt tile over the last 12 months.

    4 weeks ago I had the outside concreted and walking around the outside west facing brick wall, noticed some dampness on the concrete path that wasn't apparent with the crushed rock weve had for years.
    Closer inspections appears there is dampness coming through the bricks/motar just above the damp course right in the location where the corner of the shower is.

    As a first step, going to bore a 40mm hole inside the vanity cupboard at the back to check for dampness and rule out the possibility a leak is coming from the pipework feeding the vanity. Given the vanity isnt part of the shower glass wall its got me stumped why all the swelling of the MDF panel at the bottom

    My gut feel is it is coming from the shower pipework but not sure if its after the shower is turned on (around the outlets) or just sitting there leaking away under pressure.
    Place is just on 7/8 year old so probably outside the builders warranty and will check but given the issues we had with the builder...including the pipework to this shower, preparing to simply move forward and get the issue resolved to minimize further damage. Little concerned how the structural outside wall will be affected if the leak turns out to be significant and possibly for the last 12 months.

    Plan is:
    - Undo all connections to see if there are and signs it leaking at the tap/shower outlets in and around the tile.
    - Drill a hole in the bottom of the vanity to see if any moisture is visible

    Failing that, not sure what to do but I can see I may have to smash the tiles off and cement sheeting to get to the pipework for a closer inspection.
    Anyone got any direction on whats the best way to proceed???

    brickwall1.jpgbrickwall2.jpgbrickwall3.jpg vanity1.jpgvanity2.jpgvanity3.jpgtoilet.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shower1.jpg  

  2. #2
    Seasoned DIY droog's Avatar
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    Remove the shower rose and cap the pipe, you can then turn the taps on to test all the pipe work right up to the rose.
    To test the waterproofing plug the drain and fill the base with water, but don’t use the shower taps to fill it.

    Of course remove tap bonnets to inspect for leaks.

    Added.. make sure all taps in the house /garden are off, watch the water meter for an hour or two. This will show if water is escaping from a pipe somewhere. This can be done before anything else to show if it’s before the taps, and after capping the rose to show if it’s after the taps.

  3. #3
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    Droog has given good advice.
    I would be doing a careful inspection of the silicone in the corners. It often fails after several years resulting in the sort of damage noticed .

    I've now had several showers resealed with an epoxy joiner rather than silicone and it lasts a lot better.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Droog. I'm not on town water...pressure pump down at the tank 80m away.
    Will have to work out a way to see when the pump kicks in without waiting for potentially hours.

    Thought we had been in here longer (must have lived in the shed longer than I thought) but looking at paperwork, looks like the build/handover finished in in approx March to Oct 2015...6 years ago.
    Going to put in a claim to the builder and continue to test if I can establish where the leak is from.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by doovalacky View Post
    I would be doing a careful inspection of the silicone in the corners. It often fails after several years resulting in the sort of damage noticed .
    Thanks, will give it another careful inspection however it does still look in very good condition.
    Will also ban the shower user for a couple of weeks while testing to see if the moisture on the outside brick disappears.
    I've notice there is efflorescence signs which seems to indicate a sizable moisture issue.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart1080 View Post
    (1) Thanks, will give it another careful inspection however it does still look in very good condition.
    (2) Will also ban the shower user for a couple of weeks while testing to see if the moisture on the outside brick disappears.
    (3) I've notice there is efflorescence signs which seems to indicate a sizable moisture issue.
    (1) Silicone is NOT a waterproofer. It is put there simply for expansion contraction
    (2) Best idea yet cause my money is on the waterproofing under the tiling, which may have been compromised by movement.
    (3) See (2)
    but by all means remove the shower rose and cap off to test the water supply from the taps up.

    edit.. Just had a look at the vanity pic and noticed the shower screen is where the shower head is directed so the vanith may be sucking up water from under the tile as it looks like the vanith has been installed before tiling. Hard to tell in the pic.
    Water may also be getting out the door when showering and going around the corner to the vanity.
    I have had a habit for many years of toweling down the shower and adjacent floor after showering.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart1080 View Post
    Thanks Droog. I'm not on town water...pressure pump down at the tank 80m away.
    Will have to work out a way to see when the pump kicks in without waiting for potentially hours.

    With a bit of adaption you could install one of these temporarily to check for any flow:
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/holman-f...unter_p0064934

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
    (2) Best idea yet cause my money is on the waterproofing under the tiling, which may have been compromised by movement.

    3 .edit.. Just had a look at the vanity pic and noticed the shower screen is where the shower head is directed so the vanith may be sucking up water from under the tile as it looks like the vanity has been installed before tiling. Hard to tell in the pic.

    4 Water may also be getting out the door when showering and going around the corner to the vanity.
    Tkx for the tips.

    2 - I'II keep this one in mind. Lets see what the builder has to say. In theory, that moisture on the outside should dry up after a couple of weeks of not using the shower if its coming from the shower base.

    3. Correct, tiled after the vanity was installed....and makes sense if the waterproofing has failed on the floor.

    4. No, although I dont dry off the shower, it definitely doesn't get water everywhere outside the shower to cause the damage. Have trained to family to towel dry off in the shower before stepping out.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by droog View Post
    With a bit of adaption you could install one of these temporarily to check for any flow:
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/holman-f...unter_p0064934

    tkx....your an ideas man!

  10. #10
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    Just a quick update. Still waiting on the builder to inspect as its just within the warranty period.
    Shower hasn't been used for 2 weeks and the moisture on the bricks/pavement has reduced very slightly but obvious when comparing original photo's to now.
    Removed and Inspected the wall outlets and all looks fine.

    I'm tending to think Cyclic is on the money with the broken waterproofing under the tiling as now the only other thing it could be is the pipework from the taps to the shower head...when its turned on.
    I'II wait a bit longer as it should be easy to prove by plugging up the drain and filling the base with water not from the shower taps....as per Droogs suggestion.

    The bonus is none of the family can hog the single functioning bathroom in use for an hour and long showers are a thing of the past....for now!!

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