Basement Ceiling Leak – Part 2 – Initial Correction Attemps

Yesterday we discovered the water stain in one of our basement’s drop ceiling tiles. We had just contacted Bruce, our contractor for his guidance.

After being informed that the pipe in question was an air pipe, I then asked if it was possible that the leak originated from the roof where the pipe extended out beyond the roof’s shingles. Bruce said not likely. I then asked Bruce if I should go to for help? The reason, which makes sense to me, is that before be purchased the house the room which now contained our en suite was a small bedroom. And, through the installation of the bathroom Bruce simply tapped into the existing air pipes. So, this air pipe did not in itself extend up through the roof, but connected with an existing air pipe that did extend out through the roof.

Bruce said that likely the cause was insufficient caulking in the shower. Again, this made sense to me as the shower seemed to be directly above the pipe.

Now, this conversation with Bruce spanned a few days. So, after the first conversation I had thought that perhaps the drain in the floor of the shower was not sufficiently sealed. So, I attempted to reseal the drain. I accidentally ended up damaging the Flooring of the shower..

I removed the silicone caulking around the metal cover followed by the metal cover itself. I had just come back from our local building supply retailer to purchase some silicone caulking and they also said I should use plumber putty on the inside. So, I called the plumbing in sf company to help use it because I was afraid of doing it wrong.

shower drain cover removed Basement Ceiling Leak   Part 2   Initial Correction Attemps

First I applied some of the silicone caulking around one of what appeared to be a connection ridge on the inside of the drain just in case the leak was there. Then, I liberally applied (I am sure way too much but I had never done this before) the plumbers putty on the inside of the drain opening. This work was annoying, next time I hire professional from plumber benicia.

 shower drain with excessive plumbers putty Basement Ceiling Leak   Part 2   Initial Correction Attemps

This was followed by my applying silicone caulking around the edge of the tile flooring around the drain opening.

I next replaced the metal cover into the opening and applied even more silicone caulking around it. (I know, I know……likely too much). However, I hate rework. And, I have formal training as an accountant who typically are a conservative bunch so the more preventative measures the better).

resealed shower drain cap Basement Ceiling Leak   Part 2   Initial Correction Attemps

I then preceded back down to the basement and turned the ceiling tile with the water stain 90 degrees. I wanted to have a clean area of the ceiling tile directly underneath the leaking pipe as the test. The next morning we took our showers and proceeded down to the basement to check on the ceiling tile. All I can say at this point is…. rats.

To continue with the next article in this series, simply select this link to Part 3.

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  1. Any chance that it could be condensation running down that vent (air pipe) to the ceiling tiles?

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Jen,

    Actually, my first thought was a leak in the roof where the air pipe protrudes. Or, somehow caused by the wind-turbine vent we had installed to alleviate the very hot attic air in the summer.

    However, I was assured by Bruce that either would not be the case as the en suite room used to be a bedroom before we let Bruce loose (Hey, that rhymes :-) ) in the room to turn it into a bathroom.

    So, the air pipes don’t to out directly through the roof; rather, they connect to an existing air pipe. So, if the leak was from the roof it would appear at more spots than just the one (we have found) in the basement.

    We have, however, found (as the next few articles will attest) several areas in the shower stall just above these air pipes where the silicone caulking was not sufficient or where the grout was coming loose from adjoining tiles, thus necessitating more silicone caulking to be applied.

    Stay tuned!

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