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Soil in wall behind upstairs shower? It can't all be rotten wood can it?

Postby rupchap » Tue Apr 12, 2022 11:39 am

We've recently moved into an upstairs flat (the three storeys above a shop below). Property probably built around 1900.

We noticed some water damage emerging at the edge of ceiling and wall in the room directly below a few weeks after moving in. And we think the culprit is a poorly sealed shower directly above.

Have stripped out old sealant and hacked away bits of bodged filling around the outside of the shower tray. It looks like some quick cover-up work (and the room below had also been recently painted and may have covered prior damage).

The flat was empty for 7 or 8 months before we moved in with no damage visible, so assume that the fact it's coming through is associated with us starting to use the shower again.

The skirting running up to the edge of shower tray is damaged but seems basically solid and sound.

BUT behind the wall (see pictures) I find a lot of loose material that looks, feels and smells like soil. It's slightly damp but not sopping wet. And there's a lot of it - I could keep pulling out more and more than shown in this pictures. It's largely loose soil-like material that goes to powder when rubbing between fingers, but with some harder parts like small bits of masonry.

At first I feared it must be rotten wood - but to me it doesn't seem to have that texture, and there's just so much of it. And little other visible damage. No sign of any insects/pests present.

This bathroom is up on the second floor and this is an internal non-load-bearing wall.

Any thoughts on what this material could be. Is it indicative of a bigger problem?

We do want to properly refurbish the bathroom, but not for 6-12 months. So I don't really want to create a massive job now - I just want to be confident that we stop the source of the leak and prevent anything getting worse.

CleanShot 2022-04-12 at 12.26.13@2x.jpg

CleanShot 2022-04-12 at 12.27.48@2x.jpg
what is it?

CleanShot 2022-04-12 at 12.27.32@2x.jpg

CleanShot 2022-04-12 at 12.28.19@2x.jpg
room below
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Simply Build It

Postby stoneyboy » Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:20 pm

Hi rupchap,
The water getting in behind the shower will be soaking into the brick wall, this will cause bricks and mortar to spall and this wet dust it what you are digging out.
Regards S
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