Thursday, October 4, 2007

Condo/Townhouse Living in Hawaii....and A Water Leak

Townhouse/Condo living can be great easy living for homeowners that want a low maintenance courtyard and maintenance fees that take care of the bulk of insurance/repairs for the common elements of the structure, water, sewer, trash and parking. (at least this is in my Association and others may include electricity)

For me (in my mid years) it was good to downsize and not have the added stress of yardwork and a big house to maintain. I also love the peace and quiet in our community.

Just remember that if you have someone above or below you and you incur a bathroom (or any location i.e. kitchen, laundry etc) leak to be sure to:

  • Call the resident manager and your maintenance company immediately to inform them of the situation, especially if you have a unit above you and you don't know where it's coming from.
  • Call a LICENSED plumber IMMEDIATELY so you can eliminate the possibilities of where the leak is coming from and remedy the situation. If it is from your unit you certainly do not want the water leak going into other units because YOU will be responsible. If you are not the cause your resident manager and maintenance company will start the process of elimation by contacting all unit owners around you.
  • Do not let it go on and on because you are subjecting your home to severe damage and it becomes a health hazard when mildew and mold start occuring.
    Make sure you have condo/townhouse insurance (it's minimal cost per year and will cover damage to others units and if it's your unit it may cover water damage to carpet walls and other damaged parts of the home that do not fall under the Association insurance for the inside your unit.
  • Make sure you don't accuse your neighbors to their face until you really find out who the culprit is. (I kept accusing them to my husband. I'm so glad I was pleasant to the neighbors....whew.)

Following is my own personal experience so please take heed because it could happen to anyone!

With my assumptions I not only made a fool of myself but those assumptions also proved me WRONG! Two weeks ago I was sitting on my toilet and in front of me on the bottom of the baseboard I noticed a really tiny puddle of water. I sopped it up and it went away until a few days later I saw it again. I pulled the baseboard up and lo and behold it was wet and I ran into my room and felt the carpet next to the wall that backs the bathroom and lo and behold it was wet too! I immediately assumed it was the unit above us because I heard the toddler in the bathroom and getting out and running around.

In any event the following is what transpired:

  • Called the Association and the Resident Manager who in turn contacted the owner (there is a tenant above us). The owner showed up an hour later and told us that the tenants had a stopped drain and had rootered in the overflow pipe. Geez. That's what it is!
  • The owner came that evening and assured us he fixed the overflow and we should not be receiving any more trouble.
  • We decided to call the plumber when we discovered the puddle in the closet getting bigger because we could not figure out why or where it was coming from.
  • Plumber came and cut two holes in our closet (picture to right is in between the two walls from my closet to the bathroom) and exposed the bathtub area. GIANT puddle, some mildew and starting of mold in a couple of spots. Great. He said the leak was coming from upstairs and we even asked the tenant if the plumber could look. The overflow was NOT changed and couldn't have been changed because they would have had to cut through our ceiling to do it. The tenant told the plumber the landlord (owner) caulked it and that was it.
  • Leaking continues although we start monitoring during the night and next morning only to find out it was US! No one home upstairs and my husband jumped in the shower with me in the closet shining the mag light into the holes. Yup. It was us.
  • Called the plumber in the morning when we did the "experiment" again and it leaked...with no one home upstairs (they're at work) He came yesterday afternoon and I informed him that the tub faucet started leaking, I found a crack on the bottom of the cheap fiberglass tub this townhouse came with and through the hole in the closet saw that the back side of the tub's frame wasn't even on the floor.
  • So, the plumber replaced the mixer valve and basically told us we need a new bathtub and until someone comes in we can get waterproof tape to hold out the water. So after he left my husband went and got heavy duty waterproof tape and "crazy glue" and glued and taped the crack and a couple of fractures. We took showers and though it's not leaking from the bottom of the tub...there is STILL a leak only when running the shower. (the plumber said it was dry back there).

Bottom line. I have someone coming this afternoon to give me an estimate on the tub replacement and when they rip it out we'll surely find that other leak that is finding it's way to the backside of the wall of the tub and dripping down the beam...that is getting soaked and dried...soaked and dried. I'm living with two holes in my closet that I need to keep open so I can keep drying it out under there and keep an eye on things. (I have since been wiping down the inside with clorox cleaner and spraying Lysol...and will call someone in to do it the correct way before the walls are sealed again)

I think I'll remodel my whole bathroom at this point with a nice heavy duty tub and solid surface walls, and new floors, toilet and cabinets and.....and.... my husband isn't laughing at me anymore for "assuming" it was the neighbors. lol!

How much did you say?


options realty said...

Thanks for the great advice with respect to townhome living. Watching out for potential problems saves so much time and money- just like single family homes, maintenance is required. Thank goodness it's usually done by a hired company in townhomes!

sedwards said...

Hey Sally, this is a great post about condos in Hawaii! Great advice.

ines said...

Woooo Hooooo Hooooo! This is awesome Sally (not the leak but the blog) - good luck remodeling that bathroom which by the say I LOVE to do.

Nealb63 said...

There you go!

Nealb63 said...

There you go!

WooHoo Sally! said...

Just an update for all: They demolished my bath yesterday...the tub and cement board for the back of the wall is in. The ceramic tile is going in today.

My house is a dust mess.

Opa said...

Well said.