One of the worst things that can happen to a homeowner is a hidden water leak in the bathroom. When leaks go unnoticed for even a short period of time, they can cause expensive damage that may compromise the integrity of the house. The quicker a leak is found, the faster it can be fixed, and the less expensive it will be to repair. The problem is that a hidden leak isn't always easy to spot. Keep reading this article to learn about 6 signs that there's a hidden water leak in your bathroom:
1. Mold or Mildew appearance
Most homeowners know that mold and mildew thrives in moist, warm, and dark areas, like bathrooms. Even a small leak in your bathroom will provide mold and mildew with the perfect environment to grow, which is why this is typically the first sign a person sees when there's a hidden bathroom leak. No matter how clean your bathroom is, if there's a hidden leak, mold and mildew will appear.
2. Floor damage
Bathroom floors are designed and built to take a lot of moisture and heat. But, when there is a leak in the bathroom, the additional amount of moisture often proves to be too much for a bathroom floor to handle. Some of the signs of a water leak under the floor is cracked and/or stained flooring. If the leak is more severe, then the floor will even buckle. But, floor damage can also occur if there is water pooling there from a leak somewhere else in the bathroom. Either way, you'll have to pull up the flooring, or a portion of it, to access the pipes underneath and find the leak.
3. Wallpaper or paint damage
If you notice that the wallpaper or paint in your bathroom is blistering, bubbling, and/or peeling in one area, then you probably have a water leak behind that wall. Wallpaper and paint will bubble and peel because moisture from the leak will collect between the paint or wallpaper and the wall, destroying the bond between them. This causes the wallpaper or paint to lift up off the wall, and then eventually fall off. The steam from hot showers won't create this problem if the bathroom was painted with a gloss paint or covered in a moisture resistant vinyl wallpaper.
4. Wall damage
The next sign of a water leak in your bathroom wall is a stain. Then, as discussed above, the wallpaper or paint will blister and eventually peel off. If the leak isn't fixed, the moisture will penetrate the drywall and soften it. Soon, the wall will begin to warp. Eventually, a wall leak left untreated will crumble to pieces.
5. Ceiling stains
Especially in bathrooms on the second floor, a leak will create a stain on the ceiling of the room directly below it. Water leaks can travel a long way, so keep in mind that a ceiling stain in one room can mean that there is a leak somewhere further away than the bathroom directly overhead. As the leak continues, the stained area will begin to bulge and sag. If not repaired, the water will break a hole right through your ceiling and a large amount of water and debris will fall onto the floor below. It will cost you big bucks to repair all this damage and clean up the water.
6. Foul odor
Since most bathroom water leaks occur under the floor or behind a wall, the water doesn't get a chance to dry. When a leaky pipe goes unrepaired, the water will continue to accumulate and will quickly go stagnant and begin to smell. If you've recently cleaned your bathroom, but you can still smell an earthy or musty odor, then you probably have a hidden leak.
If you notice any of these 6 signs in your bathroom, it's time to give your local licensed plumber a call. An emergency plumber can be at your home in a matter of hours. This is essential if you have a serious leak that is threatening the structural integrity of your home. There is an extra fee for these quick-responding plumbers. If your leak isn't that severe, you can stand to wait a day or two for a professional licensed plumber to come and fix the leak. This will save you some money. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call your plumber.