Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Easy Come

Easy go.

This morning, I was walking through the dining room and I happened to glance up at the ceiling at the spot that had been repainted (not matching the color) that we had always wondered about. There was a dark spot right in the center of it that had not been there before. I poked my finger at it. It was squishy.

Having a squishy ceiling in your dining room is never a good thing.

We called our realtor to ask if she could find out from the previous owners what exactly it was that prompted them to repaint that particular spot in the dining room, and, more particularly, if they knew from where the leak was coming.

The previous owner called me back a couple hours later and said that if there was water in the dining room, it was the master shower leaking from the caulk joint where the walls meet the pan. She said this had happened to them twice, but not in the past couple years, and gave me the name of the plumbing company she used to fix it. I mentioned how having to recaulk something every year to keep water from being in the dining room was the sign of improper installation, knowing that they are the one who had the house built. She said nothing.

We called a different plumber (one recommended by our realtor). He came out and discovered some interesting things. First, he notes that the drain pipe was not properly strapped and could be pushed out of the drain if you poked it with a screwdriver, and how there was some kind of funnel-like contraption silicone caulked into the drain that appeared to be trying to hide this problem. That funnel-like thing was only 3/4" in diameter, whereas code calls for a 2" drain pipe, which is why the shower did not drain fast enough to support the double-shower heads that were installed. To fix this, he would have to open up the ceiling in the dining room.

Second, he noted that there were a number of hairline cracks in the floor pan radiating from the drain. He didn't know if they went all the way through. He would have to open up the ceiling in the dining room to tell.

I had measured it out this morning, and the wet spot was not under the drain of the shower. It was under one of the walls. But water can travel on a pipe or subfloor or joist until it hits the magic spot where it drips. So we were hopeful.

He opened up the ceiling under the drain. He fixed the drain. He noted that the cracks (of which there are at least three) were also visible on the bottom of the drain pan, so they went all the way through. However, there was no sign of leakage around the drain or the cracks. The water coming through the ceiling was not from either of these problems.

So he pulled back the carpet around the shower and noted one corner was soaking wet underneath. When he poured a cup of water down that corner of the wall, it came out on the subfloor. He could not figure out how it was getting there. I came home and looked, and I can't firgure it out either. It's almost like the drain pan is pourous in that corner. It doesn't seem to be running through any cracks or any gaps in the caulk. My best guess is that it is finding its way to a mounting screw hole for the glass shower door track, and going down there. But I can't see under the track without taking out all the glass.

Investigation of the area at that corner by me indicates that this subfloor is going to have to be Section 1-ed (for those of you who know California real estate law, it means active rot that needs immediate attention), as the subfloor is pretty squishy, as is the wall under the baseboard. And since this leak has been an ongoing problem, and even if we can find and fix it, the cracks in the pan are only going to get worse, I'm going to have to have the shower pan pulled and replaced. I think we'd have to pull it out anyways to see the extend of the water damage. From underneath, it looks like it's just around a hole where a vent pipe goes through (which is what the water came down through), but who knows from up top.

This is going to cost me a fortune. On the bright side, though, we are using it as an opportunity to add a body wash to the shower, and to expand the depth of the shower by two inches. What we have now is a non-standard sized pan, and if we go 2-inches deeper, we can hit a standard size and save a lot of money by not having to have a pan custom-formed.

The other nice thing is that I logged into my bank account today and saw a 6-figure balance. I got my money out of the other house today. Whatever happens from now on (like if the buyer walks away for whatever reason) is no longer my problem. The relocation company now owns the house, and they deal with closing the sale to him. So I can at least afford this new shower.

I'm wondering what other little surprises await.

1 comment:

mrs mcgillicudy said...

I don't see where you should have to pay for this. For what you paid for that house, this should not be happening. I think your realtor should take the responsibility or homeowners insurance or the previous tenants for hiding it.