We had a bathroom reassembled in stages. The bathroom functioned when we moved in 17 years ago but fell apart over time. So we had the floor re-leveled then we had new plumbing and a stall shower installed. Then we had sink, new flooring and toilet installed. Everything worked for 3 days without issue. On day 4, I went to the bathroom and then got in the shower. The shower drain slowed to a crawl and the bottom of the shower filled with water which stayed after I got out. I flushed the toilet after getting which caused it to just fill up and not drain. The toilet does drain down slowly over time. Now the shower always fills up and the toilet only flushes if no one has done anything in there for at least 6 or 7 hours. Even then it rarely flushes down.

The venting for the piping is on the sink which is the first in line moving to the right. Toilet is next and shower is last. I have run the sink and heard the toilet bubble. I have flushed the toilet and watch water back up into the shower. The sink has never backed up from running it.

  1. Is it possible the shower sunk down from use after the first 3 days?
  2. Is it possible something is blocking the line somewhere?
  3. Would anything short of dismantling the whole new bathroom help?
  4. Could the venting be moved to the shower without destroying the new bathroom, if that is that solution?

We want to use this new bathroom so we can now renovate the old one and repaint and redo fixtures. Can any harm come from using it regularly until old bathroom is renovated (aside from the obvious toilet issues)?

  • 2
    When you (or whoever did the work) were working on the bathroom, did you (they) happen to plug any of the drains with a rag or something to prevent sewer gases from escaping? If so, it's possible that you (they) forgot to remove it. A plumber should be able to snake the drain, and clear the blockage.
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 12:47
  • You know, I was thinking that over and over. We did have a blue rag plugged in there to keep sewer gas from escaping the toilet drain. I didn't see the blue rag while they were doing the floor and I never found it after the toilet was installed. But the toilet flushed OK the first couple days it was installed. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:14
  • 2
    That just means it took a couple flushes before the rag got caught up, and/or enough "stuff" built up to clog the drain.
    – Tester101
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:19
  • Plumber was back out yesterday and got shower and sink flowing fine. Toilet won't flush. Going to have to flush vent from roof and see if it works. Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 18:30

3 Answers 3


I think the plumber will need to snake that drain (again), perhaps with a bigger snake. They should snake from the cleanout under the toilet towards the sewer or septic tank (whichever you have).


If the problem is not in your new drains, check the drain to the sewer.

When I lived in Mississippi, I suddenly had problems with water backing up all over the house. When the washer drained, water came up into the tub. When we flushed the toilet, it backed up. I was telling my new neighbor about it and she said her toilet had been backing up, her tub was filling with water at odd times. Within hours, we determined that not only was each of us having problems, but that we were having problems together! When she washed, my tub backed up. When I flushed my toilet, hers would back up. We knew it had to be the sewer line, so we called the city to come out. Over 3 days and nights, the city had us flushing colored bathroom tissue and looking down the manhole to see if our color came by. Our colors did not come by, so they determined that there was a plug in the Y where her drains and my drains met before they went to the sewer. Fortunately, the plug was on the city's side of the Y, so the city had to pay for the repairs. A tree root had found a crack in their side of the pipe, and over time had formed a ball of roots that plugged up the plumbing so that she and I were getting each other's drainage. We became lifelong friends, so it was not all bad. :-D Wishing you the best...


To me it sounds like it's an air problem. I ran into this same problem when I finished a basement and put a bathroom in. I thought I had a bad air cap, which could be your problem. My problem was not enough air.

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