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Help! My Bathtub is Leaking – What Should I Do?

If you have a bathtub leak, you need to act quickly to prevent significant water damage.

Taking immediate action can save you both time and money in the long run.

Fortunately, you’re not alone in the process.

At ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we’ve been serving Chicago-area customers since 1996.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve compiled our knowledge to help homeowners learn to address bathtub leaks, understand their potential causes, and prevent future incidents.

Before You Get Started

  • Prioritize your safety. Safety is paramount when dealing with water leaks. With this in mind, turn off the water supply to your bathtub to prevent more water from escaping, and shut off electricity to the bathroom if the leak is near electrical outlets or fixtures.
  • Decide whether it’s a DIY or professional job. Assess whether you can manage the repair yourself or if you need professional services. Here’s a quick tip: DIY jobs usually involve minor issues, such as a simple caulk fix, while jobs that require a professional involve more complex problems, like internal pipe damage or extensive water damage restoration.

How to Fix a Bathtub Leak: Causes & Solutions

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), water damage affects about 14,000 people in the US each day. 

While there are several types of water damage, flooding is one of the most catastrophic. 

With that in mind, here are the best ways to deal with flooding from a bathtub leak:

1. Water Spillage

Signs: Flooding or pools of water on the floor after use.

Solution: Adjust shower curtains or install splash guards to prevent bathwater from splashing onto the floor during use. 

Pro tip: Invest in an absorbent bath mat that can catch excess water. Lift it off the floor to dry after use. 

2. Cracks in the Bathtub

Signs: Visible lines or gaps in the tub material.

Solution: Fill cracks with epoxy adhesive. In severe cases, consider a professional replacement. 

Pro tip: Regularly inspect your tub for hairline cracks to repair them early.

3. Waterproofing Issues

Signs: Peeling or missing caulk or grout around the tub.

Solution: Reapply caulk or grout to seal any gaps. Consider hiring a professional for a more thorough waterproofing job. 

Pro tip: Opt for mold-resistant sealing caulk and products for longer-lasting results.

4. Damaged Faucet Seal

Signs: Dripping when the tap is off.

Solution: Replace the washers or o-rings inside the faucet. Do this by turning off the faucet, removing the handle, and replacing the old seal with a new one. Turn the water back on to check for leaks. 

Pro tip: Keep spare parts for your specific faucet model on hand.

5. Leaking Bathtub Drain

Signs: Water pools around the drain even when the bathtub is not in use.

Solution: Tighten the drain flange or replace worn-out gaskets.

Pro tip: Apply plumber’s putty to ensure a watertight seal.

6. Damaged Overflow Drain

Signs: Traces of water beneath the overflow cover.

Solution: Check and replace the gasket behind the overflow plate. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clear clogs, as they can damage the drain pipes.

Pro tip: Test the overflow function monthly by filling the tub and observing the drain process. 

7. Leaking Bathtub Pipes

Signs: Water damage on the floorboards or ceiling below the tub.

Solution: Replacing sections of piping or fittings. Be aware that this job likely requires professional assistance.

Pro tip: Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing and eventual cracking. Regularly check for any signs of corrosion or damage.

8. Bathtub Taps are Leaking

Signs: Persistent drip or stream from the tap.

Solution: Replace washers or cartridges inside the tap. This process may also require professional assistance.

Pro tip: Regularly clean tap aerators to maintain water pressure and prevent build-up.

9. Faulty Shower Valves

Signs: Variability in water temperature or pressure.

Solution: Hire a professional plumber to repair the valve. It may need to be replaced if the damage is severe.

Pro tip: If you’re not experienced in valve repair, avoid DIY to prevent further damage.

How to Prevent Bathtub Leaks

bathtub leak

If you want to protect your bathtub from leaks, you need to inspect and maintain it regularly. 

Here’s a list of our top strategies:

  • Regularly inspect seals and caulking for signs of wear.
  • Immediately repair any small chips or cracks in the bathtub.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage sealants or the bathtub material.
  • Check the tightness of all visible plumbing fixtures monthly.
  • Keep the overflow drain and other components clean from debris and buildup.
  • Monitor for changes in bathtub performance, such as slow drainage or fluctuations in water temperature.

Are You Dealing with Water Damage in Chicago, IL, or the Suburbs? We’re Here to Help!

Despite your best efforts, bathtub leaks can cause water damage that only a professional can handle. 

If you’re in the Chicago area, ServiceMaster of Lake Shore is here to support you with your water damage cleanup and restoration needs. 

As experts in water damage repair, we’re uniquely equipped to restore your property to its pre-damage condition. 

Ready to learn more about our team or how we can help you? Contact us today