Water Under Bathtub: Reasons and How To Fix It

Sometimes, after stepping out of the shower, you might be unpleasantly surprised to find a pool of water outside your shower. How is that possible? Water can accumulate even if you keep your shower curtain closed. What happened, and how can you prevent it from happening in the future? 

Water under the bathtub means your bathroom pipes leading to the sewer system are leaking. Or, your overflow gasket may also be malfunctioning. In this article, we’ll look at all the possible problems and solutions to water under your bathtub. 

Why Is There Water Under My Bathtub?

Leaking pipes under your bathtub could be the reason that water is coming out from underneath it. As the water drains from your bathtub after a shower or bath, it goes down pipes and into a sewer system. It is a one-way funnel down the drain and into the sewer system.

Gases from the sewer do not backtrack into the bathroom from the drainage opening because of this one-way setup. 

Homeowner Repair from YouTube shows how to diagnose a bathtub leak to define its source. If it’s too difficult to find the leak independently, phone a repairman for help. 

How To Handle Water Under Bathtub Before the Leak Is Fixed

Before you complete the diagnosis of why there is water under the bathtub leaking out, take no more than five-minute showers. Have towels lined around the bottom of your bathtub to catch water leaking from underneath.

When you are done with your shower, wipe your bathtub dry so no more water leaks from the drain onto the floor. 

Or, you can wash up out of your bathroom sink. Refrain from taking a bath when you are diagnosing and fixing the leak because baths are where the most leaking can occur. 

How To Fix a Leak Under Your Bathtub

The procedure you have to follow to fix a leak under your bathtub will depend on where the leak is located. Once you diagnose the source of the leak, you can take the steps necessary to fix it accordingly. 

Always Turn off the Water

Before you do any plumbing job yourself, always remember to turn off the water tank that connects to your bathroom. Forgetting this step will cause an unneeded messy job that you could have otherwise prevented. 

The Drain Is Losing Its Seal

The bathtub drain’s sealing gasket degrades over time. A compromised drain gasket can cause water to seep underneath your bathtub.

So, you can unscrew the drain cap to reveal the gasket and do one of two things. Make a temporary seal on the compromised gasket with a plumber’s putty or remove the old gasket and install a new one. 

If you are not well-versed in plumbing, apply the putty for now until you can have a plumber stop by your home for a repair. Do not attempt a special plumbing repair if you do not have the right experience to complete the job. If your replacement is incorrect, you might make a small leak worse.

Bad Piping

Have your plumber check the pipes underneath your bathtub for wear and tear. If they have rust or other kinds of damage, you will have to replace the affected piping to stop the leakage. 

Have the leaky pipes gotten so bad that you have damaged the walls surrounding them or your floor? If yes, you will have to replace the walling and flooring. Warping walls and chipping paint or wallpaper damage can happen in the walls in the room below your bathroom.

Too much water in your walls or flooring can cause molding. Molding will make your home unsafe to inhabit until it is removed. 

So, as soon as you see water under the bathtub, you should immediately call your plumber. Stop repeat use of the bathtub until they solve the problem. If you continue to operate your bathtub with a leak underneath, it can lead to increased damage. More damage means you’re spending more money for repair work.

How To Prevent a Leak From Happening Under Your Bathtub

Maybe you have water appear under your bathtub once or more than once. Whatever your situation, follow the tips below to prevent any leaks from occurring in the future.

Check Your Pipes and Drain Gasket Regularly

You don’t have to call your plumber only when there is a leak or another plumbing issue. Call for a quick check on your drain gasket and the pipes that go from your bathtub to the sewage system. We recommend calling for a plumbing quality check at least once a year. 

Bathroom pipes typically last decades, but if they are water damaged or rusty, you might have to have them replaced sooner. If you see that your water comes out as brown, yellow, or another warm color tint, call your plumber to fix your pipes immediately. 

Overflow drain gaskets can usually last one decade, but continue to have them checked every year for quality assurance. 

Apply New Caulking Around the Bottom of Your Bathtub

Applying new caulking around the bottom of your bathtub can be a preventative measure. It will help in case bad piping or a compromised overflow gasket happens again. However, it can also be a quick fix when water is from underneath your bathtub already. 

As a quick fix before your plumber arrives, grab a caulking gun and high-quality silicone sealant, and a caulk removal tool. Turn off the water that leads to your bathtub. 

Remove the old caulk from around the base of your bathtub. Then, reseal the area with the silicone sealant according to the package’s directions. 

Let the new caulking be set for at least 24 hours to prevent any further leakage. Some brands could be water-ready in as little as 30 minutes after application. Always check the instructions of the silicone sealant package. This way, you will be sure you are adhering to the specified setting time post application.  

While the recaulking could be a temporary fix, you still want to get your plumber to your home to be sure that there is no damage to your pipes or the gasket. Refer to a video from Vibrant Deals on YouTube about quick fix tips for different leaks that happen around your bathtub. 

Signs That Leaking Under Your Bathtub Has Caused Damage

Look for signs that leaking water under your bathtub has caused damage in other places throughout your home:

  • Water spots on the ceiling below where the bathroom is in your home. 
  • The paint on the drywall is chipping off.  
  • The wallpaper is peeling off. 
  • Black mold growth near the bathtub’s location.  

Be mindful of any of these signs throughout your home. Immediately call your home plumber to fix the leak. You may also need to call your wall contractors to get to the source of the possible water leakage problem that has caused mold in your home.  

If you have to clean black mold in your home, move your loved ones and pets to another room or have them go out on an errand or a fun trip as you clean it. Put on a KN95 or a painter’s mask over your face so you do not breathe in the black mold

Wear plastic gloves for further protection. You can clean black mold with a mixture of bleach and water or a commercial black mold remover. 

Final Thoughts 

Why is water under the bathtub after you take a shower or bath? It could be because of old piping or a compromised overflow gasket. Quick fixes such as applying new caulking at the bottom of your bathtub where it meets the tile floor can be one temporary fix. However, you should always call your local plumber whenever a leak occurs in your household.

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