You have probably seen a few movies that have scenes in them where the bathtub drops through the floor into the room beneath it. You wonder if that is even possible, and worry if your bathroom fixtures might do the same. The next time you hire a plumber for a residential plumbing repair, ask him or her about these Hollywood scenarios and how accurate they really are, or you can just find out here.
Your Base Floor Can Rot
Just like in the movies, your base floor can rot. This is the basic floor paneling that construction workers put down before they put down whatever type of flooring material you want on the surface. Because it is all wood underneath, it is subject to water damage, mildew, and mold. In a bathroom, it is very easy to get the floor overly wet, and if there are some unsealed areas around your fixtures, that water does get to the wood below. Over time, the wood rots and becomes weak, presenting you with a very probable scenario.
Your Toilet and Tub Can Fall Through the Floor
In much newer homes the base floor is often particle board. If you have never seen what happens to particle board when it gets soaking wet, you are about to find out. The particle board eventually turns to mush, and begins to flake and fall apart. Under the weight of a porcelain tub, heavy humans trafficking through the bathroom, and continued moisture, the floor can crack and anything over the top of it falls through. It does not happen all that often, but in homes where the previous owners have not kept up basic bathroom repairs and maintenance, the situation is ripe and ready to happen.
Preventing Water Damage and Keeping Your Bathroom Fixtures in Place
To stop this unsettling chain of events, all fixtures have to have a plumbing caulk sealant around their bases. The plumbing caulk halts water from getting to the floor boards underneath and from leaking all over your basement or the ceiling of the room below it. If you do not feel comfortable doing the job yourself, a plumber can do it for you. He or she will first check the flooring and ceilings for water damage, and if there is very little damage present, then the plumber uses a waterproof plumber's caulk to seal the base of your toilet, the base of your tub and tub walls, and any cabinetry or vanity fixtures.
Allow these caulked areas to dry thoroughly, usually a couple of hours or overnight is best. Try to keep your bathroom floor as dry as possible so mildew does not grow on the caulk itself. Although you will not have to do this for a few years, call the residential plumbing repair to re-caulk any areas where the caulk begins to peel up.