How Bathroom Leaks Can Lead to Home Damage
Every year, Modernize speaks to real homeowners in real time to find out about common problems they find in their bathrooms and how they go about repairing them. In 2021, several homeowners were troubled by bathroom leaks that led to significant damage in their homes. As it turns out, what seem to be miniscule leaks in bathroom sinks, bathtubs, showers, and pipes can lead to huge, costly repairs when neglected.
Bathroom leaks often involve major amounts of water — even if this does not seem to be the case with the naked eye. Leaks can become incredibly damaging when left undetected or ignored. Water is a very persistent element, always looking for a way out of pipes or other enclosures. Oftentimes, it is successful. That is why detecting bathroom leaks and mitigating the damage is so crucial for a home’s safety and value.
In this article, we will discuss bathroom leaks — even ones that are seemingly minor — and how to keep yourself and your home safe from major issues and repairs.
Detecting a Bathroom Leak
Sometimes detecting a bathroom leak is as simple as hearing that pesky “drip, drip, drip,” telling you a showerhead or bathroom faucet is leaking. Another common tip-off is spotting a pool of water around a toilet’s base. This is a sign that the seals are possibly going bad and need to be replaced.
Other times, tell-tale signs are hiding behind walls. Detecting a leaky pipe is harder and often remains out of sight and mind from homeowners. But those small leaks can ultimately wreak havoc in your bathroom and beyond — leading to hundreds or thousands of dollars of unexpected repair bills.
Modernize recommends having a general idea of what your household’s average water bills look like, so you can easily spot an anomaly. It is also recommended to check walls and bathroom areas for water stains, mold, mildew, and bowing or sagging floors. Get to know the most common bathroom leaks, and how to spot and fix them promptly.
Risk and Damage Caused by Leaks
Risks involved with bathroom leaks include damaged walls, ceiling, flooring and even cabinetry. It can be especially dangerous when plumbing issues go undetected long enough to impact a home’s structure.
Homes impacted by plumbing issues and leaking pipes behind walls often fall victim to soft-feeling ceilings and floors. The damage can be very costly to repair, impacting far more than just a home’s bathroom. And of course, the more rooms that are affected by the damage, the higher the cost for repairs will be.
Beyond structural issues, water damage from bathroom leaks can also cause visual issues, like unsightly carpet and flooring stains. It can also lead to damaging your home’s furnishings over time if left unchecked.
Besides a home’s structure, another risk caused by bathroom damage includes mold growth. This can hurt a home’s building materials as well as your personal health. The absorption of water without proper ventilation can also lead to dry rot.
How Much Do Bathroom Leaks Cost to Repair?
If you are already dealing with a bathroom leak, you probably want to know how much the repair will cost.
First thing’s first: it is important that unless you have solid knowledge in plumbing, fixing bathroom leaks is a job that is best left to the professionals. The last thing you want is to worsen the problem and ultimately have to pay even more for the repair.
Below are the costs you can anticipate for bathroom leaks and damage, in order from cheapest to most expensive:
- Bathroom sink leaks: $150 to $350
- Shower drain leaks: $100 to $600
- Flooring water damage: $200 to $500
- Bathtub leaks: $250 to $550
- Drywall damage: $300 to $800
- Ceiling water damage: $700 to $3,000
- Leaking water pipes: $1,000 to $4,000
Keep in mind that costs are relative to the issue. You should always get a quote from a contractor to determine the extent of the water damage and exact cost to repair. As a rule of thumb, the sooner you catch a bathroom leak the more affordable it will be to repair it. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore bathroom leaks, the more pervasive and expensive ceiling water damage can be.
If the ceiling underneath an upstairs bathroom is leaking, chances are a bathroom leak is the culprit. Ceiling leaks are often caused by plumbing issues and pipe leaks that are neglected for a period of time.
Leaking pipes also tend to be costly, since plumbing and pipes are often hidden behind walls. This is why it is so important to routinely check your home for signs of water damage.
How to Fix Leaks in the Bathroom
The moment you detect or suspect bathroom leaks or damage, it is important to get a contractor involved as soon as possible. Modernize can help connect you with bathroom professionals that understand the urgency of stopping bathroom leaks before even more damage is done.
A contractor can also help fix the damage already inflicted on your home and prepare a home to mitigate future damage.
Though it may be tempting to tighten a leaky faucet on your own to save money, it is important to remember that bathroom leaks are often multifaceted. Potential issues include hidden components behind walls and ducts that only a contractor can detect.
It is crucial for homeowners to stay on top of potential bathroom leaks in a home. The financial ramifications that extend from a seemingly small bathroom leak can lead to significant and expensive property damage if left unchecked.