Leaking Bathtub Drain


A leaking bathtub drain can quickly turn into a major disaster. Due to the release of water under your floor or inside your bathroom wall, action must be taken quickly to stop possible wood rot and mold growth. If your bathtub is in a bathroom on a second or higher floor, the water leak could affect ceilings located below the bathtub.

In many cases a leaking bathtub drain can go unnoticed for some time. Many times they are not discovered until mold growth is noticed. In some cases, the water from your leaking bathtub drain can travel a considerable distance along the drainpipe before dripping and becoming noticeable in a completely different area of your home.

leaking bathtub drain

Repairing Bathtub Drain Leaks

Leaks from bathtub drains can be the result of several different issues:

  1. The pipes attached to the bathtub drain may become loose as they age. If a pipe joint comes apart you are going to have a major leak. In the case of a problem like this, a plumbing professional may need to be called on.
  2. The plumber’s putty that forms the seal around your drain may deteriorate, leaving a gap around the drain seal and would require replacing. To replace the old plumber’s putty, first remove the pop-up drain stopper. Rotate the drain to unscrew it while the drain lever is in the “up” position. You need to purchase a basket wrench to use to then unscrew the drain basket itself. This drain basket does not have to be, and should not be, completely removed. Remove the old putty and wipe the drain and the drain basket to both clean and dry them. Form about a half-inch thick piece of plumber’s putty (in a rope-like shape) and wrap it around the drain. Twist the drain basket down until it is flush with the surface of the tub and remove any putty that is squeezed out along side of the drain. Reinstall the drain stopper.

Will Insurance Cover a Leaking Bathtub Drain?

Water damage is one of the most common causes of insurance claims in residential homes. This type of damage is only surpassed by claims involving wind and hail. Water damage affects one in every fifty homes.

Homeowner’s insurance policies will cover any water damage if the damage is “sudden and accidental” (terminology found in almost every policy). A water leak from a bathtub drain, even if it isn’t discovered for several days, is considered sudden and accidental. However, don’t delay once the problem is found. If it is determined that the leak has been constant for a long period of time and you have taken no action to resolve the issue or the damage, your claim could be denied. Negligence on your part would not be considered a covered peril; it would be considered “gradual damage”, the kind of damage that occurs slowly over time.

Understanding the Damage from a Leaking Bathtub Drain

Water damage from slow leaks around bathtub drains and drain fittings can be very destructive:

Flooring – floors can be permanently damaged by water. Vinyl flooring can become stained and often has a paper backing that will promote mold growth if the water gets under it. Hardwood floors can warp and buckle as they absorb moisture. Wooden subfloors can rot and decay to the point that they are no longer structurally sound. Many carpets have a latex backing and the latex is an organic food source for mold.

Wallsdrywall in your bathroom can absorb moisture fairly quickly. When it does, and it remains wet for several days it will become soft and weak. It needs to be dried out quickly to avoid mold growth. In many instances wet drywall should be replaced rather than dried.

Wallpaper – wallpaper is a problem when damaged by water. Most wallpaper is applied to walls with a wheat-based paste. I call this paste “miracle grow for mold”. As a test, wet a piece of wheat bread, place it in a dark spot, and see how fast mold will grow. It won’t take long. Now think about the wallpaper paste as a piece of bread that gets wet. What kind of result will you find after just a few short hours?

water damaged ceilingWater damage from bathtub leak

Ceilings – if your bathroom is on an upper floor, the water from a bathtub drain leak is going to affect any ceiling below it. It may go unnoticed until a stain appears or mold begins to grow.

Infestations – insects are attracted to sources of water in your home. Ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and termites are just a few of the unwanted “guests” that may want to move into your home if there is an ignored water leak.

Your Health – if mold begins to develop because of a leaking bathtub drain your health could be put at risk. Mold is known to aggravate individuals with allergies or asthma and respiratory sensitivities. Mold can cause sore throats, coughing and wheezing, and skin and eye irritation. Immune-compromised people, people who have HIV/AIDS or are undergoing chemotherapy treatments, are especially at risk to mold exposure.

Bathtub Drain Leaks Should Not be Ignored

It may seem inconsequential. It may be a slow leak that you will get to when you have time. This is not the way to approach any leak in your home, and especially one that is hidden or contained (for the moment) inside a wall cavity. If ignored the damage will only get worse, the cost of repairs will increase, and you risk having your insurance claim denied by your insurance company.

Avoiding the damage that can be caused by a leaking bathtub drain requires your quick response and then a team of trusted professionals. A 24-hour help line is available by calling 877-960-0491. You will be connected to an experienced professional in your area that will help answer any questions you may have and offer a plan to remedy any damage caused by a leaking bathtub drain. These pre-screened water damage experts are standing by to assist you and their free initial inspection also comes with a no-obligation estimate of repair costs.





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Ref:

How to Fix a Leaking Bathtub Drain
When Can You Claim for Water Damage Coverages on Home Insurance
CDC - Mold