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I have the situation where my shower piping is leaking underneath a tiled floor. This only occurs when the shower is running, suggesting a drainage issue.

The pipe passes from the shower faucet vertically through a wooden panel, and then under the tiles.

The room is on the first floor centrally at the front of the house above the stairway, therefore the water is dripping onto the bottom step.

I do intend on getting a professional in to fix this if the job requires removing the flooring, however, I would like to asses the issue first and find the cause and location of the leak.

What could be causing this leak?
What is the best way to diagnose it?

Our house is a 6 year old brick built house.

I think it is the piping but it could be the tray (although there are no visible signs it is the tray).

How could I locate the problem without removing the flooring or ceiling underneath.

Also as a final question, how do these systems normally work, what am I likely to see if the flooring is removed, and how does the shower piping link to the house's main drainage?

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Leaking only while the shower is running doesn't have to be the drain. It could also be the shower control valve (including the diverter), or the tubing up to the shower head. You might be able to see if it is the drain by running water into the tub directly from the spigot. –  Tim B Feb 8 '13 at 16:37

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You have asked a lot of questions at once here. Let's start by saying that it is very unlikely that you would be able to determine the exact location of the leak from the top, unless it is a simple problem with the sealing around the shower mixing valve handle escusson trim or an obviously loose drain flange. If the problem is in fact under the floor, then you will have to remove part of the ceiling to gain access to the drain pipes for inspection and repair. It is not uncommon for joint to crack or come undone. I wouldn't consider removing the shower floor until it is inspected from below. Depending on how comfortable you are digging into a semi difficult project like this will determine if you want to hire a pro or tackle it yourself. It will most likely involve removing a section of the ceiling, repairing some PVC pipe or making a new joint with pipe and couplers, primer, pvc cement etc., then repairing the hole in your ceiling.

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i thought as much was wondering if there were any tricks of the trade that i could implement or if something like an endoscope would help, but then that would just be added expense –  Yakyb Feb 8 '13 at 13:23
    
do you have an access panel on the wall behind the controls? Open that up and see if any water is dripping from the water control cover plate. That is a common problem and very easy to fix, even for a DIY. –  shirlock homes Feb 8 '13 at 14:39
    
Should have said, if the plumber's putty behind that plate has fallen or is not installed properly, splashing water can seep behind the plate and run down the pipes. It would appear only at the very bottom and look like a drain leak. –  shirlock homes Feb 8 '13 at 14:41

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