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The bathroom in our rental has a cartridge that you push in to change from a shower to a bath, and the shower has a hose that lets you detach it from the wall. My tenant said that she had been putting the shower head on the floor when taking a bath. There was quite a lot of water that leaked in from the bathroom into the floor below. A couple of questions to understand what happened.

  1. If the water is not currently leaking that means that there is not an issue with a leaky pipe, but that water was flowing down the path of least resistance; i.e. the shower to the floor?
  2. Does the fact that the floor leaked mean that something is not caulked correctly or is it not possible for floors in bathrooms to handle a lot of water?
  3. I was able to put a knife pretty deep into the wood, can a single water event cause the wood to get that soft or would it require multiple events?

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    I am confused, in the sink, on the floor? Why on the floor? Floors are not designed to hold water. A one time event will not cause rot unless the water sits in a closed space for a long time. There is more to this then meets the eye. – Alaska Man Jan 17 at 23:14
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    "My tenant said that she had been putting the shower head on the floor when taking a bath. There" Whhaaat? – Alaska Man Jan 17 at 23:17
  • @AlaskaMan They said the shower head sometimes dripped so they put it on the floor when taking a bath. I am pretty sure it is fairly obvious that you shouldn't leave the shower head in the sink or floor; although not obvious enough I suppose. I am trying to figure out how the water got flooded the first floor, how long it could have been going on, and how much damage has been done – jdeyrup Jan 17 at 23:17
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    You need to replicate the problem, you can not guess at what did occur. Do some tests to see if there is a leak when the shower head is not on the floor. Once you know how where the leak is coming from then you can takes steps to address the problem. "although not obvious enough I suppose" Common sense is NOT common. – Alaska Man Jan 17 at 23:20
  • @AlaskaMan Ok so the shower head does not completely turn off when you switch from shower to bath so if you leave it on the floor water will flood the floor. I did not see any leaking when the shower and bath was turned on and the shower head was in the bathtub. – jdeyrup Jan 17 at 23:40
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If the water is not currently leaking that means that there is not an issue with a leaky pipe, but that water was flowing down the path of least resistance; i.e. the shower to the floor?

The circumstances that you have related seem to point to the shower head being placed on the floor as the cause of your damage. To rule out other causes it would be best to duplicate all possible scenarios (e.g. fill the tub and check for leaks; use the shower normally and check for leaks; lay the shower head on the floor and check for leaks, etc.)

Does the fact that the floor leaked mean that something is not caulked correctly or is it not possible for floors in bathrooms to handle a lot of water?

NO, unless purposely built as a "wet room" with a floor that slopes to a drain, bathroom floors are not waterproof and significant flooding will damage underlying structures.

I was able to put a knife pretty deep into the wood, can a single water event cause the wood to get that soft or would it require multiple events?

A single event might cause such damage but only if it was a significant event and there were conditions that prevented drying, and it would take a long time. That type of damage seems to have been caused by repeated events over time that kept the area moist.

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  • Thanks that is what I suspected. – jdeyrup Jan 18 at 1:25

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