Lauren’s Leaky Shower

It may seem easier to ignore problems in your home. You don’t have the money right now. As long as the house isn’t falling down around you, it seems as if nothing is serious. You can always fix it later, right? Don’t make this mistake and end up with the headaches and expenses resulting from deferred maintenance. 

Our friend Laura had her head in the sand for some very good reasons. She was suddenly out of work after many years. Her daughter had just started university, and in a one parent household that meant a lot of added headaches over how to pay the bills. Laura didn’t need more trouble piled on top in the form of a leaky shower in her main floor bathroom so she tried very hard to ignore it and keep her mind on other things. This only made matters worse in the end.

When Laura and I finally discussed her secret fear, it came up because ceramic tiles on her bathroom floor were lifting. I asked if she had discovered the reason and she mentioned that there might be a leak in the shower somewhere. A year later, I was visiting and Laura told me she had someone look at the problem.

He told her that there was, in fact, a leak and took off some baseboard on the wall outside the bathroom to show her a little bit of mold. Once again, Laura took no action other than to stop using the shower and occasionally spray a little mold killer on the patch of mold. I suggested we look further into it.

From the crawlspace below her bathroom we were able to see that the pressboard subfloor was significantly water damaged. While it appeared dry at the time of our inspection, the material was sagging between the joists. In the bathroom, her tiles continued to pop off the floor and her toilet was no longer level. All of this continued to be a problem despite no longer using the shower. We suggested that she needed to dismantle the bathroom and correct the underlying damage.

Laura’s bathroom was torn apart, and so was half of her main floor. When demolition began it quickly became obvious that the damage was far more extensive than just the bathroom. The walls were taken down between the bathroom and living room, half the living room floor was lifted, and all of the front entry was lifted right down to the joists. Mold was found growing under the laminate flooring and into the saturated 2-inch thick pressboard subfloor. Before even starting to rebuild, Laura was facing over $16,000 in remediation costs alone. 

What could Laura have done that would have reduced her risk in this situation? To start, she could have had a plan for regular inspections and maintenance on her home including inspection of the underside of her flooring, inspection of the shower area, and caulking of the risky areas in the shower. This would have to have started years before we knew Laura so what about actions when some damage has already occurred? 

Once she was aware of the problem, she needed to act quickly to contain the damage and address the root cause: the leaky shower. Had Laura called in her contractor as soon as she noticed the first sign of a problem, it may have been possible to repair this with half the amount of destruction at a considerably lower cost. 

Home ownership comes with the responsibility of home maintenance. Ignoring problems in your home will only result in sleepless nights and more time and money wasted in preventable damage and repairs. Make a point of inspecting problem plumbing areas in your home such as tub and shower walls, plumbing connections, and shut off valves. Consider asking a plumber for an annual plumbing inspection. They are not expensive, and you will see the benefits quickly.

We help homeowners protect their largest investment through inspections and maintenance planning. To learn more about how we can help you or to join the Nurture My Home family email us at hello@nurturemyhome.com or call us at (403) 540 -9711.

Lauren’s Leaky Shower
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