Leaking Bath Waste & Other Issues: Solved

Baths are great – they’re relaxing, get us nice and clean, and keep us presentable. That is, until you discover leaking bath waste in your bathroom. If you were in a good mood before, this is sure to change it. Luckily, those of us at DreamyHome know how to get it sorted for you – so let us help! Hopefully, we can get the situation resolved without needing to call in a plumber.

Leaking bath waste is usually caused by a loose washer or nut, a crack somewhere along your plumbing or bath, a failing seal, or issues with your grouting.

That’s a lot to take in all at once, so let’s hop right into it, shall we?

Leaking Bath Waste & Other Fixes

Okay, we’re going to assume that you’ve got a new leak. If you discovered one in the recent past and patched it, that’s likely going to be your culprit. Putting that aside, let’s try to locate the source of the problem.

Cracks in the Tub

While you may assume that cracks are obvious, hairline fractures exist. These are tiny, nearly imperceptible cracks in your tub that you may not notice. The easiest way to figure out if this is the cause of the leak, you need to do one, simple thing – fill your bathtub. Now, I put this at the top of the list, but I highly recommend you wait until you’ve ruled out other issues. This can make a mess, depending on where the leak is coming from, so it’s best to play it safe.

One very clear sign of a crack in your tub is rust. It’ll eventually appear around the cracks, making it clear as day where the cracks are. If the leak is in your tub, you’re likely best off replacing it. You can temporarily patch your tub with a variety of specialised materials, but those are all stop-gap measures at best. They won’t fix the issue – only hide it.

Leaking Overflow Pipe

This is the most likely culprit if you’re leaking wastewater. The overflow pipe is designed to, well, prevent overflow. It’s generally located at the back of the tub, with a washer between the overflow pipe and the tub itself. Over time, these washers can dry up and crack due to age and wear.

Unfortunately, these are actually rather difficult to remove, unlike tap washers. They’re generally placed in hard-to-reach areas that are (more often than not) blocked by the tub itself. I highly recommend hiring a plumber to take a look and replace the washer if it’s the issue. But, if you’re dead set on solving the issue yourself, here’s what to do:

Step 1

Remove the overflow plate covering your overflow pipe. This may require cutting out caulking. Now, remove the gasket – is it damaged, warped, or torn? Then it needs replacement. If it’s totally fine and appears normal, you may have a different issue on your hands. It could also be the entire overflow assembly that needs replacing, which is certainly a job for professionals to handle.

Overflow plates are, at times, attached to the stopper assembly of your tub’s drain. This will require that you pull the assembly up and out of the drain.

Step 2

Clean around the tub hole and drain pipe with rubbing alcohol and a rag. This will remove any grime or residue that’s left under where the seal sat, allowing a clean fit for the new one.

Push your replacement gasket into the hole, being careful to get as tight of a fit as possible. It needs to be even here, so be thorough. If your overflow gasket is tapered (a common occurrence), follow the instructions from your tub’s manufacturer for how to work with that taper.

Step 3

Reinstall your overflow plate and stopper assembly (if necessary), being careful to secure everything as you found it – but tightly. Secure the plate with screws, tightening the opposite screws each time. This will ensure the gasket is compressed evenly, rather than being stressed on one side more than the others. Recaulk if needed.

Grouting Issues

A surprise in our list that even I wasn’t aware of, a potential source of a bath leak is the grout in your home! This is technically not a “leak” per se, but it can appear as wastewater if you’re not observant.

It’ll generally be caused by water hitting bathroom tiles and working its way underneath old grouting. This is because, over time, grout dries and contracts. When water gets under the tiles, it puddles because it has nowhere else to go.

The easiest fix for this is to simply regrout your tile. Add a bit of silicone to the grout mixture to create a strong moisture barrier. This will (theoretically) prevent this issue from popping up again in the near future.

Leaking Drains

This is probably the most likely cause of a wastewater leak. Drains require a seal to prevent water from coming back up. When the seal fails, it stops doing its job – simple, right? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. While the seal itself is a simple part, the replacement of it is not simple by any stretch of the imagination.

You can temporarily solve the issue by liberally applying plumber’s putty around the drain, but you’ll have to remove the drain first. Again, this isn’t a permanent fix. The best bet you have here is to call a professional.

When to Ask For Help

Plumber fixing tub

Okay, first things first. If any of what I have said made little to no sense to you, it’s time for a professional. Alternatively, if you can’t find the source of the leak quickly, then it’s also time for a pro. Leaks aren’t anything to screw around with, especially when it’s wastewater. They can cause serious damage to your home and its foundation, or worse, to your neighbours if you’re in an apartment.

Professionals do this for a living – that means that they know what they’re doing and can do it well. Hiring them will take a massive load off your shoulders and reduce the likelihood of further damage to your home. This is especially important if you think the leak is coming from the actual plumbing in your bathroom. Act fast, act decisively, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Final Thoughts

Okay, you have a bath waste leak. That’s definitely not good – luckily, you came to DreamyHome for help! We collected the most likely causes of a bath waste leak and brought them all together with their fixes just for you! To repeat, the most common causes of a bath waste leak are leaking drains, a faulty seal, cracks in the tub, or bad grouting (though that’s not a leak, per se).

If you found this article useful, great! We’re always glad to help. But if the terminology used confuses you or you’re not sure where to start, a plumber is your best bet. Leaks are no joke, and letting them get worse will do nothing good for you. Sit back, make a drink, and watch the professionals do what they do best – their job. And if you’re really lucky, they’ll show you what they did, so you may be able to fix it yourself in the future.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.