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Options for renovating bathroom

deyrup Member Posts: 62
My tenant has been leaving the shower head on the floor when taking a bath; today enough water dripped down through the ceiling tiles that it flooded our bathroom on the first floor. We are taking away the detachable head and replacing it with a fixed shower head on the second floor, but I am not sure what the options are for fixing the first floor bathroom.

We removed all of the drop ceiling that was in there and it looks like there have been several different ceilings up there, plaster and lathe, another drop ceiling. I am quite confused as to what is going on as the previous owners seemed to keep slapping on things on top of old things. The water was mostly dripping onto the blackened wood in the last picture.

The bathroom is functional although would prefer if less sound came through the second floor bathroom, and would like venting for the bathroom. Is it possible to just replace the ceiling or do I need to do plumbing work? The bathroom measures 6' x 8'


  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,735
    The leak at the trap/shoe/overflow could be where the overflow connects to the tub too.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,110
    With that much damage -- and that much spaghetti wiring -- I'd take the whole ceiling down. Then I would replace or sister any rotten or compromised wood -- you have some -- and verify that all the piping from the upstairs bath is sound (looks like you have some leaks there). Then I would replace all the scary wiring you have to code -- and I would use UF cable, as leaks might occur again, and frankly tenants don't care about what they pour on the floor. Then I would insulate and install a new ceiling.

    What a mess.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,668
    edited January 2021
    My kitchen ceiling is much like that. It is below my bathroom.

    it started out a high plaster ceiling, 1915. At some point there was a leak they had to repair so they chopped a big hole in the lath.

    they covered that hole with staple-up pressed-paper ceiling tiles with furring strips. 

    Then possibly decades later there was another leak so they put in a drop ceiling. Most of my house has all that except for the drop ceiling.

    I’m replacing the drop ceiling with old-fashioned tin ceiling panels to get my height back, nailing them over the furring strips and leaving the panels that still exist for sound insulation. You could do similar but you’d have to re-run the wiring. Jamie’s advice sounds great.

    I like the tin panels because they install easily, look great, are priced reasonably and cover a lot of sins
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
    I feel like in another 30 years the ceiling is going to be 6' tall if I continue to follow the practice of the previous home owners.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,409
    I'm with Jamie on this one too. I see enough in that picture to give me pause. Those acoustic tile ceilings were a "thing" for a while to cover up plaster that is falling apart or as Paul said instead of a proper plaster repair. For me, and I'm a glutton for punishment, I'd be going back to the original ceiling height. I love high ceilings as it makes the room feel so much more spacious.

    That wiring....

    Just a heads up, hidden junction points aren't allowed. The cover on that box needs to be accessible, if you keep a drop ceiling I believe it's fine, but if you go to drywall ceiling the cover needs to either be exposed or you need to rewire to eliminate it. Wiring in these old places can be interesting. I spent the first 2 weeks in my house (still working full time) completely rewiring the house top to bottom, some of what I found just wasn't worth risking.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
    edited January 2021
    We had a plumber come over and take a look at the exposed pipes and he thought nothing was still leaking. We replaced the handheld shower with a fixed one, but still getting leaks through the ceiling when the tenants use the shower. Unless they are leaving the curtain open; I would guess it is from the pipes. Going to rip out everything in the ceiling to find the leaks.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,735
    There are lots of places the tile and tub can leak as well as water from getting out of the shower that gets on the floor. In some tub designs it tends to run out around the ends of the curtain and follow the the joint between the tub and wall. that can happen with shower doors too. Judging from the general overall crustiness i would suspect the tile and the tub more than the plumbing. Can leak behind the trim for the valves and the overflow as well.
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
    @Youngplumber There was water visibly leaking in two places, about a quarter cup total. The fixtures and baseboard do have caulking.
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 304
    I would bet that the tub drain is leaking when you add the weight of a person and something flexes. Is the tub properly supported? I would never install a drain system like that in an inaccessable spot. You need an access hatch.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,571
    The tub drain is often a dripper, when draining.
    The tub overflow does it also....even when showering...the water is deflected from the body to the wall where the overflow is.

    Then the shower head drop ear or the tub spout could be leaking inside the wall when water is on.
    You can test those by capping the head and spout, turn the water on and perhaps look up from below for dripping. Or remove the trim plate on the faucet and look down at the spout connection, if shower drop ear is leaking it may run down the riser onto the valve.

    I have ceramic tile in all the rooms that have plumbing. Before puting base board trim down I caulked where the tile meets the wall. The trim would cover it up and in theory the room could hold about an inch of water before getting into the lower edge of SR walls and down to the subfloor.....thankfully haven't tested it yet.
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
    edited January 2021
    I found the source of one of the leaks. https://photos.app.goo.gl/EdgB4fXTT1DfaCP96 It looks like the drain from the tub rotted through. Clearest at 43-48 seconds. Can I just replace the drain in the tub to fix? I haven't found the source of the second leak, which is in a completely different area.