Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My father is the owner of the house, and on the second floor area there is a bathtub over the top of the water damaged ceiling on the first floor that i currently live, my father told me that these pipe may leaking thus thus cause a giant bubble on the ceiling, however i don't want to brother the tenant my self and thus my father only check it once and of course i didn't saw it with my naked eyes. So, base on your experience/knowledge, what will be the different way for me to replace the water pipe on second floor without the need to damage the bathtub in some of the most common situation?

share|improve this question
Why would replacing a water pipe require damaging the tub in the first place? – The Evil Greebo Aug 13 '12 at 16:11
That response makes no sense to me. What does the mortgage have to do with the water pipe? – The Evil Greebo Aug 13 '12 at 16:23
@TheEvilGreebo - If i damage the bathtub, i may have to replace a brand new one. – Victor Aug 13 '12 at 16:25
@TheEvilGreebo - You misunderstood what i saying, it is without the need to damage... – Victor Aug 13 '12 at 16:26
You don't seem to understand my question. WHY would you be damaging the tub at all? You don't go through the tub to access the pipes, you go through the wall and/or floor. – The Evil Greebo Aug 13 '12 at 16:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

First of all, the water damage in your unit could simply be because the upstairs people aren't properly closing the shower curtain when they shower, not the result of leaking pipes.

If there is a leaking pipe, you will not be going through the tub to fix / replace it - that would destroy the tub. You'll be opening up the wall on the other side of the tub, or the floor under the tub, or more likely both.

As for tracing the pipes - if they're copper you might be able to use a metal detector but its generally most reliable to open the walls up and trace them. You might be able to tell where the pipes are running by studying the basement where they enter the walls but that's still not guaranteed to help.

share|improve this answer
Since the ceiling is already damaged, I'd go in through there. – Chris Cudmore Aug 13 '12 at 16:38
That WOULD be the obvious place to start - it hints at a drain issue more than a feed issue - but then there could be a leak from somewhere else coming in and finding a drip edge over the bubble... one never knows til one busts open the drywall. – The Evil Greebo Aug 13 '12 at 16:39
Things to look for in the drain is: (1) The connection of the drain to the tub. This connection is often made with plumber's putty which can dry out and create leaks. (2) The connection of the tub overflow. I have seen it where it was not connected correctly and when the overflow devise in the tub was rotated 180 allowing water to leak when using the shower. – pdd Aug 13 '12 at 17:34

If the ceiling on the first floor is bubbling then there must be a leak somewhere on the second floor or somebody is just splashing a LOT of water in the bathroom. Because you claim it is directly under the bathtub then you will need to find the source of the leak.

Many older homes have an access hatch in the wall that can be removed to get to the plumbing behind the tub fixtures. This is the first and most obvious place to look for a leak.

If this checks out then inspect the second floor bathroom for any mold or water damage on the walls or floors. This may give you clues to what may be happening. Perhaps there isn't a leak at all and they are being careless in the shower. If you do find mold or damage then you may have located the source of the leak.

At this point once you have confirmed a leak you may want to remove the damaged parts of the ceiling or walls to get a better inspection of the plumbing that you can't see. Don't worry too much about this because you will need to repair the damaged ceiling or wall plaster eventually after the leak has been fixed.

If you still cannot find the source of the leak then you should call a plumber.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.