Leak Under the Main Bathroom Sink 2013
During December 2012 we left town
for about a month. Prior to our leaving I
noticed a little water that had been appearing under
the gas water heater. The water heater was
about 15 years old, longer than it should of lasted,
so I strongly expected it needed to be replaced.
I did not have time to deal with it at that moment.
So before leaving town, I turned the hot water
heater to the vacation setting AND turned off the
main water supply to the house. I figured if
it burst while we were gone, the only water we would
deal with would be the contents of the water heater.
We were also leaving during the winter months and I
wanted the water off in case there were any deep
freezes like El Paso had in February of 2011.
Fast forward one month.....we return home in January
of 2013, the first thing I did upon entering the
house was to go downstairs and check the water
heater. It was fine, with a few drops of
water. I then looked at the laundry room wall
which looked a little bowed out. I then slid
the dryer out of the way to look at the floor.
Sure enough there was water on the floor. But
where did it come from? Since it was not the
water heater, it had to be somewhere upstairs.
I then walked into the main floor bathroom which has
a wall that is shared with the downstairs laundry
room. I felt the damp carpet as soon as I
stepped in. I opened up the under sink cabinet
door. Sure enough there was a leak under the
sink that was not there when we had left. I
turned off the valves underneath the sink.
Now remember, I turned off the main water supply
valve at the street. So how did the water leak
you ask? Well evidently, even when the water
was turned off all the way, it was not actually
turned off all the way. Grrrrr. I did contact
the water company in El Paso to come and fix this
since this was their equipment. And they did.
It did not change the fact that I now had water
damage in the main floor bath and the laundry room
wall below. We are fortunate that the main
water valve was "almost" off. If we had left
it on full, there would have been flooding on the
entire main floor and lower level of the house.
Major water damage with the house being unfit to
live in, until the damage was repaired. Not to
mention a huge water bill.
Fortunately this was something that was covered by our
home owners insurance and I contacted our insurance
company to open a claim. The first part of
fixing this damage was to get a plumber in to fix
the leak under the sink. Then the water remediation
process began. The company that did this
ripped out the carpeting in the bathroom and the
outside wall and paneling in the laundry room,
leaving the old drywall up temporarily. On the
other side of the laundry room wall, is the under
house crawl space. Large fans were plugged in
and placed under the house, in the laundry room, and
the main floor bathroom. All in attempt to dry
out the wood. This went on for a couple of weeks
until everything was dried out.
During the water remediation process another
contractor, sent by the insurance company came out to
do the estimates on the bathroom, laundry room, and
outer wall damage in the crawl space. The plans for
photograph to the left is the photograph I
took in the crawl space. Yes, the
crawl space for this house is nasty.
The wall you are looking at with all of the
thick pvc sewage pipes, is the other side of
the laundry room. There is some type of
outdoor drywall material on the outside.
Insulation, then the drywall in the laundry
room which is covered by paneling.
Most of the fuzzy stuff is dryer lint or
insulation. The bottom of the crawl
space is dirt. This was the last spot
for the water to go.
The photo below shows the ceiling of the
crawl space which is the floor in the main
bathroom that was wet.
There is normally insulation stuck on here
but I pulled it down before I took the
The photo below shows a section
of the floor behind the dryer that I discovered was
wet. One of the bulges or warps of the
paneling can be seen by the gas valve. You can
see where the moulding is wet along the floor along
with the towel I threw on the floor.
Above is a picture of the
bathroom cabinet where the sink was leaking. I
had thrown a bunch of old towels in to soak up the
water. My old friend WD-40 helped me turn the
water valves off by loosening the tight valves. If
the bathroom cabinet looks pretty ugly without water
damage, you are correct. This bathroom was the
first thing on my list to re-model after I finished
the lower floor.
main bathroom repair and
remodel will be covered on a separate page because
the project became a little more involved than just
repairing the water damage.
The photo above shows the laundry room after the
paneling was removed.
The drywall was all
there was, between the exposed crawl space behind it. I asked the contractors to leave the drywall up
until they were ready to take it off. It was the
dead of winter at this point and it was cold.
After seeing this drywall, I was sooooo glad I had
opted to keep the paneling on in the
cave and just cover it with the
The water heater closet is shown in the left
in the photo above. Yes, the water
heater was replaced when the plumber came in to
repair the damaging leak.
I asked the contractors to
work on the laundry room wall first because
of the cold. I wanted to have the room
sealed off as soon as possible before they
started on the bathroom upstairs.
The photo above and below shows the
laundry room wall after the drywall was
removed. They also removed the
paneling on the side of the water heater closet.
The drywall on the water heater closet wall was not damaged, so it stayed
The photo below shows the outside
crawl space wall after the repairs were done.
photo on the left shows the laundry room
after the drywall was replaced, the popcorn
texture removed from the ceiling, and the
new texture placed on the drywall and
I replaced some of the floor tiles that were
water damaged with some extra tiles I had
left over from when I had re-tiled the lower
floor less than a year before.
In the water heater closet, there was only
cement on the floor. I added two
layers of tile to make it level with the
rest of the floor before the contractor put
the new water heater back in.
I placed new moulding along the floor and
painted the entire room.
There were wire shelves above the washer and
dryer before the walls were torn down.
My next project was to
build cabinets along
the wall. I moved the wire shelves to
the garage and mounted them in there.
One thing I was absolutely
paranoid about, at this point, was the possibility
of any future leaks and water damage in the house.
There are a total of four sinks with the plumbing
hidden under cabinets. The three toilets, hot water
heater, and the washing machine. All potential
leak risks. I went online looking for some
type of alarm that could warn me about a water leak
BEFORE it caused a lot of damage.
Alarm - Set of 3
I found these tiny alarms
Improvements website for about
$20 for a set of 3. They are tiny, but they
work! They are powered by a
non-replaceable battery. The
expiration date is stamped on the bottom.
The sets I purchased in February 2013 expire
6/2015. When they expire or the
battery dies, you just buy more. They
are easy to test by setting them on a wet
It only takes a little bit of water or a
damp floor to set them off. It is a
high pitched tone that is easy to hear if
you are in the room. If the alarm is
down in a basement that is rarely visited,
you may not hear the alarm.
I bought enough sets to place these alarms
at every point water enters the house.
They have already helped me discover a small
leak I did not know I had under my kitchen
not stop with the alarms. Under the
sinks I wanted to also stop water damage
before the water even touched the wood on
the cabinets. So I looked for large
fiberglass trays that would cover most of
the area under the sinks. I found the trays
Global Industrial website.
I bought trays to go under each sink in the
Below is a photograph of a
fiberglass tray and alarm under the main bathroom
sink. So now if there is a leak, the water
will hit the tray first and the alarm will go off.
See the cabinets I
built for the laundry room...