The True Cost of a Leak in the Bathroom


Plumbing tends to be one of those things that you ‘fit and forget’. Until it goes wrong that is. If you’ve not ever had the displeasure of a plumbing failure, then you may not be aware how much it can cost. In fact, it may be a lot more than you think.

Read on to find out the true cost of a leak in your bathroom.

7 signs you have a leak in your bathroom

Before we go into the costs associated with bathroom leaks, we thought we’d give you an overview of the different types of leaks that can occur. It’s not always obvious that you have a leak and they can be hard to spot. But, it’s important that you are able to find and identify leaks as they can build up into BIG problems over time.

Puddles and damp patches

These are the most obvious signs that you’ve got a leak in your bathroom. If you discover puddles on the floor of your bathroom before you’ve taken a bath or shower then there’s almost certainly something amiss. 

You should particularly keep an eye out for puddles around the base of your shower, sink and toilet as these usually indicate that a seal has been breached. 

Also keep an eye out for damp patches on the walls, as these can indicate leaky pipes. 

Mold

Whilst mold isn’t uncommon in bathrooms (mold thrives in warm, moist atmosphere), if your bathroom is developing an excessive amount of the stuff then a leak could be to blame. 

If you’re finding mold in ‘unexpected’ places, then they could be indicative of a leak. For example, you may often have to clean mold from the grouting in your shower, but if you’re suddenly finding mold in places that are normally dry such as a wall, then you may have a leak.

Tiling problems

In addition to making your bathroom look nice, tiles also have an important practical role to play. Your tiling helps protect the wall beneath from the ingress of water. If your tiles are broken or loose, or the caulking between them is degraded, then you could have a ‘tile leak’.

Tile leaks can be very expensive to repair, especially if you need to replace the backing and effectively re-tile the entire wall again. 

Check your tiles regularly for damage and you’ll avoid a costly leak!

Peeling wallpaper

Wallpaper is rarely found in bathrooms these days. Practical and aesthetic trends have bathroom wallpaper the way of the Dodo. However, if you’re someone who does have bathroom wallpaper read on. 

If you discover that your wallpaper is peeling and going mouldy then you may have a leak. Leaking wallpaper will cause the adhesive that holds your wallpaper to the wall to fail.

Unusual noises

For many people, the bathroom is a place of calm and relaxation. And, that’s the way bathrooms should be! If you start hearing ‘new’ noises then you should investigate straight away. 

Naturally, if you hear the sound of dripping water and it’s not obvious where it’s coming from, then it’s time to pick up the phone to your local plumber. 

However, you should also keep an ear out for more subtle noises. For example, a high-pitched hissing noise can indicate a breached water pipe. 

Unusual smells

Like any other room in your house, you don’t want your bathroom to smell unpleasant. So, if you start to notice a damp, earthy, dank smell in your bathroom, there could be an underlying leak causing damage to your property. 

Don’t be tempted to just buy an air freshener to mask the smell. If the unpleasant odour persists, then it’s likely there’s an underlying issue which needs addressing by a professional.

Damaged taps

If your taps are damaged or wobbly, then they can be a source of a water leak. Taps are literally some of the most ‘handled’ parts of your bathroom and they have to put up with a lot of wear and tear. 

We’re not just talking about leaks from the opening of the tap either. Keep an eye on the base of the taps, as sometimes the connection between the sink and the tap can degrade, resulting in a leak.

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the most common leaks in the bathroom and how to spot them, let’s take a look at the associated costs.

How much does a bathroom leak cost?

As you might expect, there’s no single answer for this question. In fact, it should be better rephrased as how much does a plumber cost? With many bathroom leaks the biggest cost will be the labour time of the plumber (unless you’ve had a truly spectacular leak which has resulted in severe structural damage to your home). 

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at how much plumbers charge in 2021

How much do plumbers charge in 2021?

What you’ll pay for a plumber depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Where you live. 
  • The time of year. 
  • The time and materials needed to fix the leak.
  • The urgency of the job - is it an emergency? Are you happy to schedule the work? 
  • The scale of the job.

That last bullet point is worth expanding upon as it has a big influence on how much you’ll pay. Fixing a leaky tap is a straightforward and quick job. On the other hand, if you need to have pipes repaired or refitted, then you’ll be looking at a much longer (and therefore expensive) job. 

At the time of writing (June 2021), most plumbers will charge between £20 and £40 per hour. However, the total amount will depend on the factors outlined above. 

Whilst some plumbers will quote you an hourly rate, some will assess the job and then give you a total price for the completion of all of the work. It can be worth checking with a plumber how they price their jobs when you give them an initial call.

A note on call out fees

Bear in mind that you may also have to pay a call out fee. This particularly applies when you are calling in an emergency. Call out fees are usually around £50, however if you’re calling and getting the plumber out of bed at 4am then the call out fee may be much higher!

How much does it cost to repair water damage in your bathroom?

As we’ve outlined above, the cost of repairing a water leak in your bathroom is largely influenced by the plumber’s fees. 

However, we also want to highlight some of the other significant factors which will influence the cost of the repairs. 

For example, if your leak has brought down the ceiling in the room below, you can expect to end up with a bill for thousands. This is because, in addition to repairing the leak, you’ll be paying for a new ceiling, replastering, redecorating, replacing bathroom furniture, flooring and any other possessions that may have been soaked. 

Such costs can be covered by your home insurance, but as you’ll see below this isn’t always the case...

Is a bathroom leak covered by insurance?

At this point you might be wondering if you can save yourself some money by claiming for repairs through your insurance.

Well, the first big shock for many homeowners following a bathroom leak is the discovery that they may not be fully covered. Water leaks are amongst the most common things that people attempt to claim for on their home insurance. As the damage from water leaks can be extensive, these claims can be very expensive. 

However, insurance companies have a record of attempting to wriggle out of paying such claims, and there have been many cases where they have attributed water leaks to ‘wear and tear’ rather than it being a genuine emergency issue. 

If your water leak has been caused by you failing to replace sealant around the side of your bathtub, sink or toilet, or you’ve not taken precautions to prevent pipes from freezing in the winter, your insurance company may not pay out on your claim.

You should take this opportunity to read your home insurance policy carefully, making sure you know what you are covered for and what the exclusions are. If you are not happy with the level of cover then shop around for a better deal when it’s time to renew. 

Prevention is better than cure: Minimising costs from bathroom leaks

As the old saying goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’ and it applies just as much to bathrooms as it does other areas of life. 

So, never stick your head in the sand when it comes to plumbing and potential leaks. Always attend to small plumbing problems before they become major problems, and this will save you a fortune in the long run. 

Here are few things you can do to help minimise the cost of bathroom plumbing repairs:

  • Never ignore dripping taps or a damp smell in your bathroom.
  • When winter approaches, make sure all of the pipes are properly lagged. This will ensure they are insulated and protected from freezing and bursting. 
  • Know where your main stop cock is and how to turn it off when you need to. In most houses the stop cock is located either under the kitchen sink or close to the front door. As soon as you notice a leak, turn the stop cock off which will stop the flow of water and prevent further damage.
  • Check the sealant around the edge of your bath, shower, sink and toilet on a regular basis.

We hope you’ve found this guide useful. If you’re looking to upgrade your bathroom today and avoid any leaks, explore the Plumbworld website today. 

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more bathroom advice…

How Much is a New Bathroom? | How to Create an En Suite BathroomIdeas to Renovate Your Bathroom on a Budget


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