New home owner. Wife took a bath in the guest bathroom and this water damage showed up an hour later on ceiling from the first floor. I'm assuming it's the bathroom drain and removed/inspected an old/broken seal. I suspect that's all the problem was with the pipes but she wants me to have someone check it out for additional damage and I don't want to spend more money than necessary on folks coming out.

  • Does the drywall all need to come out regardless?
  • Would I have a plumber or general contractor come in first to look?
  • Should I contact insurance after having one of the above spot check it or should I be contacting them first. I think I have a $500 or 1000 deductible, need to check..

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1 Answer 1


The drywall doesn't need to be replaced unless 1) it gets moldy and gross, or 2) its structural integrity is compromised. Get some fans on it as soon as possible, from above and below. If it dries out and doesn't feel mushy you can simply prime and paint.

It's possible that the leak is at the tub connection, but it's also likely that it's in the trap assembly if it was put together with compression fittings (as opposed to being cement-welded). Do you have access to the drain area? If not, consider installing an access panel below or at the end of the tub.

A plumber won't be able to tell you anything that you can't determine on your own. They'll need to see what's in there, too. Once you know, repairs can begin. It's probably not too difficult considering you're working with PVC and modern fixtures.

  • It's dry to the touch at least.. There is no access panel. P/O also did the other bathroom which is right next to it, and where the spots are showing, next to it on ceiling I can see they had cut a panel for the drain / patched / painted it back up. Not sure what you mean by the compression fittings. There is a rubber seal under the tub for the drain. The front of the tub faces the hallway so maybe I can get a panel cut there. I have a cheap boroscope maybe I can drill a hole and check it out. Called insurance and they said not covered so it'll be remodel or quick fix I hope.
    – TEEKAY
    Mar 8, 2018 at 17:30
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    In lieu of more extensive inspection, you could try replacing the plumber's putty seal under the strainer and put it back together, then fill the tub a bit to see if it still leaks with the stopper IN. If it leaks with the stopper IN, then it is the seal at the strainer; if it leaks when you pull the stopper and drain it, it is a connection below that will require opening the wall or ceiling. This is all assuming that there is not a problem at the valve, which manifests only when the valve is on. Mar 8, 2018 at 18:38
  • Thanks. We had guests last week. Shower was running everyday and no sign of the leaks so I suspect it was only the strainer edge but that isn't comparable to a tub full of water going down either I guess. It was only the recent tub filling that this came up. I'm not allowed to "self fix/test" per my wife, she doesn't want me causing more damage.... xkcd.com/905 The overflow is covered on my tub, can I unscrew that and peek around or is that going to be a pain to reseal?
    – TEEKAY
    Mar 8, 2018 at 19:52
  • Previous person in there didn't do any favors to the threads and it was a pain getting it back in. Need to get into the drywall from the hallway and add an access panel but the ceiling will be hit with Kilz. Appreciate the help with how to approach this.
    – TEEKAY
    Mar 19, 2018 at 14:26

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