Water leak - Wet kitchen ceiling

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Elrond, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Elrond

    Elrond
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    When I got home on Christmas Day last year I noticed a damp patch on my kitchen ceiling which is below the bathroom. As it was in exactly the same place as a previous leak from the bath caused by the plumber having a weak wrist when it came to doing things up (it was a new build), I took the bath panel off but it was bone dry under there. The kitchen ceiling dried so I just put it down to splashing water or something that just work it's way through.

    Fast forward to the Friday just gone and the ceiling was wet again. Checked the bath and that was bone dry. Took the toilet flusher panel off the wall (the skirting board was also been pushed away from the wall) and with the use of a torch and phone found this which doesn't look good.

    2014-02-21 22.41.59.jpg 2014-02-21 22.42.58.jpg 2014-02-21 23.53.27.jpg 2014-02-21 23.50.56.jpg 2014-02-21 23.53.56.jpg

    Would others tend to also think that it is coming from the toilet waste pipe or could it be dripping from the cistern? Water being water it could be from somewhere else but in the last two images the floor is more damp looking to me than the source.

    My biggest problem is that builders like to hide things in walls which looks nice but is a nightmare when it comes to situations like this. I have no access panels, just a hole for the toilet flush panel which is probably no bigger than a piece of A5 paper :( Oh, that wall is also tiled :(:(

    I have a plumber coming tomorrow but has anyone been in a similar situation and want to tell me that I'm not looking at having the tiles broken off and a big hole created in the wall? The floor is also tiled with waterproof boards on top of the floor boards.

    What doesn't help is the thought of toilet water soaking into walls, floor boards, timbers, ceilings etc :censored:
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  2. x3j3UKN

    x3j3UKN
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    Can offer no help to the problem here, but, if its a new build are you still covered y their guarantee? Surely this is shoddy workmanship?
     
  3. RBZ5416

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    Can't help with the problem but an edit would help make sense.
     
  4. chump

    chump
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    With the limited view id say either a small hole in the bottom of the flexi soil pipe on the bottom (which you cant see) or the actual connection itself leaking (again on the bottom).
     
  5. Elrond

    Elrond
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    It is 6 years old at the end of May. Therefore I'm the period where only the external shell of the building is covered. So unless it is coming in from outside, the NHBC don't want to know.

    The wet area looks like it is bubbling so I was wondering if it is soap and if so, could it be the bath or sink. Would the large grey pipe (waste pipe I assume) serve the bath and sink as well and if so, how would the water not back up into the toilet?

    Better stop eating curry's and corroding the plastic then :)

    The pictures are not great but all I could do was point a torch in with one hand while holding my phone with the other. If you try looking through the hole, you can't even see the floor due to how small it is.
     
  6. chump

    chump
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    Im not a plumber but i build the stud walls you're having to look behind to see the problem so im just making the most obvious assumptions based on years of seeing how plumbers 'bodge' this kind of job. If this is the issue the plumber might have to take a few tiles off at the bottom of this wall then cut access hole in the plasterboard. Its easy to repair afterwards then just re tile. However with a hole already cut id consider putting in a permanent inspection panel to save any future hassle. These panels can be tiled to matched so it doesnt necessarily have to change the aesthetics of the decorated side of the wall.
     
  7. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    It looks like it is the flexi soil pipe which has either worked loose or developed a split. With the proviso that the black waste pipe doesn't look uniformly dusty, so you need to ensure those areas that are darker are not due to drips from above. Having said that they don't look prominent enough to explain a currently active leak.
     
  8. Wahreo

    Wahreo
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    No need to take tiles off the wall just yet. My first thought was a leaking flush pipe. if the nut on the flush pipe isn't watertight then the Water will only leak when the WC is flushed. it could always be the flush valve back nut which would mean that there is a constant drip.

    I can see a water stain on the flush pipe which is what lead me to this opinion.

    The Plumber will be able to gain access to the flush pipe in it's entirety by removing the Back to Wall WC Pan.

    It's one of this jobs that can be a bit of a pain.
     
  9. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    I see what you mean Wahreo, it hadn't occurred to me the cistern was also behind the wall and higher up. Hence that white pipe with all the stains on it.
     
  10. Wahreo

    Wahreo
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    You never know, the Float valve or flush valve might be letting by too which would then cause a constant drip if the flush pipe nut wasn't watertight.
     
  11. Elrond

    Elrond
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    Yeah, sorry, should have mentioned the cistern was behind the wall as well. In the first year, the flushing mechanism (which works by the buttons on the wall pushing air through pipes) needed replacing because it got blocked from building rubble the builders left in the cistern. The plumber had fun trying to replace that.

    I have thought about the flush pipe and I'm hoping it is that because although it may be awkward, it may be possible without touching the wall.

    I've been using the downstairs toilet and while there is a stain on the kitchen ceiling, it feels dry again. So I don't think it is a constant leak.
     
  12. Wahreo

    Wahreo
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    Whatever the problem is, a good Plumber can sort it without removing tiles.

    These concealed cisterns with back to wall Pans are often problematic, the main reason is because there is nothing to stop things moving when you push the pan back in position.

    Wall mounted pans with a proper Frame which incorporates the cistern are a far better solution. The reason being is that everything is clamped securely so fitting the pan is as easy as sliding a push fit fitting in.

    Good luck with the Plumber, if it goes well, he will whip out the pan, undo the flush pipe nut, apply PTFE to the O ring and re assemble.

    By far the most problematic items in any Bathroom are WC's. My Pet hate are the fully flush to the wall Close coupled WC's- a designers dream, a Plumbers nightmare.
     
  13. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    That's why I'm mounting mine on a false wall, with large access panels designed in from the outset :)
     
  14. blue max

    blue max
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    Mine's on a stud wall, so I can get in from behind - and underneath! :smashin:
     
  15. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    There's no evidence on that plasterboard that it's been recently wet. Not sure what the black shiney bits are: is it water or just bituminous tanking that's been used to make the floor water-tight?

    if it were the flush-pipe, you ought to be able to reach down and feel the bottom of the cistern whilst flushing to see if it's wet. Similarly you ought to be able to put your fingers through the plasterboard hole where the flush pipe goes through to the pan. That seal is notorious for leaking although if it were, I would expect to see water on the bathroom floor.

    If the bath is above the wet patch on the kitchen ceiling, that's the place to investigate unless you think the water is flowing across the ceiling plasterboard from the toilet area. How are the waste pipes from the bath routed to the soil stack?
     
  16. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    maybe we are looking at different photos :) To my eyes the plasterboard is stained by water damage and the chipboard is wet...
     
  17. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    If the shinyness in the crook of the multiquik is indeed water, then I would suspect where the multiquik goes into the soil pipe. The helical coils coming out of the white plastic collar don't look quite right to me. Removing the pan should reveal all: trouble is if he's not careful, water spillage will add to the confusion.

    All will be revealed!
     
  18. Elrond

    Elrond
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    A couple more photos just to show that there is water leaking. The first is the kitchen ceiling which is sort of inline with the centre of the bathroom but near the toilet and the skirting board being pushed away from the wall next to the toilet. The third is to just show how thoughtful the builders were in putting in access.

    2014-03-01 14.21.09.jpg 2014-03-01 14.21.48.jpg 2014-03-01 14.23.05.jpg

    Anyway, I've had a plumber around now. First thing he said when he saw the wall was "Ah". I don't think he thought that when I said there was virtually no access, I actually did mean virtually no access :)

    He did manage to reach in and feel the flush pipe from the cistern and he did say it was lose and that he's done it up hand tight. However his hand was quiet wet from doing that. He doesn't just want to leave it hand tight though and as he said there is a lot of water, he wants to check that it isn't leaking else where either. So the plan is to go through the spare room wall. In the second picture, if you imagine the spare bedroom to the right of the toilet, behind that false wall is right in the corner of the bedroom. It isn't ideal, but its better than pulling tiles off the wall and possibly redecorating the whole bathroom.

    The grouting on the floor has also looked wet at times as well, so for all I know water could have soaked god know where. Under the tiles I have waterproof boards (ones with cement in them I think) and then the normal floor boards. So having soaking wet chipboard floors could be fun to sort when the leak is sorted :(
     
  19. Wahreo

    Wahreo
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    Tightening up the nut on the flush pipe is one thing but there is also a back nut where the flush valve goes through the cistern.

    Personally, I wouldn't be sorting out a leaking pipe under the Cistern by taking tiles off. The Pan needs to come out. A simple enough task. Once the Pan is out then you can easily see if the back nut is leaking and also it will give you the opportunity to undo the flush pipe nut and wrap the flush pipe O ring with PTFE and then re-tighten the nut.

    The third pic showing the flush plate is typical in concealed cistern installations. In truth, I only ever install the Geberit Cisterns and wall frames as they are the best on the market.
     
  20. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    Bet you end up taking down the wall behind the pan.
     
  21. Elrond

    Elrond
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    @Wahreo Is the back nut on the cistern or the pan? If you have a look at the second picture in my first post, the holes through the false wall for the flush pipe and multiquik are just large enough for then to fit through so I would have thought access would still be a problem. If you took the multiquik out, you still wouldn't see the cistern and would only be able to fit one arm through.

    @spyder viewer I hope not because I doubt I'll be able to find the same tiles which would then mean a whole bathroom redecoration. In which case, would the insurance company pay for that because someone thought it would be a good idea to give no access?

    My other concern is any damage that can't be seen. Although the priority is to find and fix the leak first.
     
  22. Wahreo

    Wahreo
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    The backnut is on the cistern.

    Between the access via the flush plate and holes when the pan is removed, you should have enough there to make the necessary repairs.

    Remember, the holes behind the pan can be made bigger, in particular the waste hole can be extended down to the floor.

    Bottom line is that a good plumber will know what to do and best ways to gain access.
     
  23. Elrond

    Elrond
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    Thats assuming they didn't tile the wall fully behind the pan. I was having a look last night and it looks like they tiled right down to the floor and stuck the skirting on the tiles.

    To be fair I find this hard to believe, but apparently the plumber put my next door neighbors radiators on upside down.
     
  24. spyder viewer

    spyder viewer
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    The main problem I find with flush pipes is that they are not cut to the correct length by the installer. People look at flush pipes and think they are a right angled bend, but they are not, they are around 92 degrees. That means that the pipe coming through the wall has a definite slope on it. They cut the vertical height so the end sticking out of the wall is close enough to go in the pan with a bit of fiddling. They then cut the length of the projecting pipe so the pan can go back against the wall. Because the pipe has a definite slope to it, as they cut it, the cut end of the pipe raises slightly. Now the union (nut) on the bottom of the cistern has a square-cut washer or seal, unlike a normal tapered plastic seal. So when they push the pan back onto the flush-pipe projecting through the wall, if it isn't correctly aligned with the pan, it levers the seal on the bottom of the cistern off of it's seating creating a leak which only drips when the toilet is flushed.

    If the backnut (this is the one that holds the syphon or flush-valve securely) hasn't been tightened sufficiently, the cistern will drip continuously.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014

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