Day 65 – The Wet Spot


Living in a house that is 92 years old can be interesting sometimes.  Since it was built during a time where if they used 2x4s they were truly 2 by 4, fitting the old and new together can be a challenge.

The previous owners of the house put in a second bathroom upstairs.  They did a fairly good job with it – so good that I suspect they had help.  That suspicion was thrown out the window when I started noticing water on the ceiling in our bedroom which is located below the bathroom.   Since this is the only bathroom in the house with a shower, we had to get if fixed.

The problem was finding the leak.  I finally determined it was the shower, not the sink.  But it was hard to figure out if it was the plumbing for the shower itself or the drain.  My grandpa was a plumber, and my dad was his perpetual apprentice.  (Read: he didn’t want to take the plumbing test to get licensed himself, and for $20 a year, he could still do plumbing jobs on the side.)  So, I spent an hour on the phone with Dad as he gave me ideas of things to try to narrow it down.  After re-calking everything in the shower, it stopped.  Being the cynic that I am, I insisted that we wait to see if it stopped temporarily or forever before we fix the ceiling in our bedroom.

Glad I’m a cynic.  Periodically, we would have the problem then it would mysteriously go away.  My dad has tried figuring it out too – but always came up short like we did.  We are all trying to avoid what we dread – cutting into the lathe and plaster.  If we cut into it, we are pretty much guarantee a few  weekends of drywall and mud…. on the ceiling…in our bedroom.  And, hopefully only the ceiling because this entire room is lathe and plaster – once it starts coming down, it may not stop.

Well, those weekends are coming because I figured out where the leak is today – the drain.

Why do I suspect it is the drain?  I had to take it apart today after noticing that despite the mesh covering, my stray hair was still going down it.  After dealing with that nastiness, I noticed there seems to be three different sized pipes fitted together to make the drain and the bend.  Not good especially if these guys did the job themselves. A professional plumber struggled getting our claw foot tub re-connected in our first floor bathroom because of the old and new pipe sizes.  I don’t want to even imagine what these guys did to make it work.  Because I’ve seen their creativity before, my imagination kicks into overdrive at the mere thought.

And, I got confirmation that I knew where the leak was when I came downstairs into the bedroom and saw this:

I had been trying to clear out the drain so I could get a better idea of what they might have done, so I was spraying lots of water down the drain to clean out the nastiness.  This is pretty compelling evidence that it is the drain.

I should also point out that going at it from above is no more of an appealing option.  The shower and most of the bathroom is all stone tile.  And the floor of the shower is the same but more decorative.  They made it like a mosaic.

My dad will be here on Tuesday.  Maybe he will have a creative idea of how we can fix it without tearing everything apart.  I am just afraid that he will agree with me and suggest if we just redo all of the plumbing up there just to make sure we don’t have to deal with their craziness again.  It has been a 18 months since our last major project, so I guess we’re due for another one.  Now the question becomes what can we do to get us to the summer when we will be able to tackle this.  (Assuming, of course, we can band-aid it again.)

One Comment Add yours

  1. Hubman says:

    You know where my mind went after reading your title, don’t you?

    We had a similar problem in our house in PA. Fortunately we had 2 full baths and the one that a little was over the garage, so I could generally ignore it.

    Until it came time to sell the freakin’ house. Oops. Had to knock $2K off the price because of the renovations and repairs that bathroom was going to require

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