Leak through Shower Tile... What to do?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-07-07, 01:19 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Leak through Shower Tile... What to do?

today the plumber noticed minimal amounts of water inside the walls of the bathroom. he thinks it's from possible water seaping through the tiny cracks in the tile. the water and moisture is causing a musty smell and fungus growing inside.

actually, we noticed the problem last year when mold was growing underneath the vanity sink, but didn't know why. so the mold remediators dried the walls inside and cleaned up the mold, thinking that would be the end of it.

unfortunately it's back (the water) and is causing some bubbling/blisters to appear on the laminate flooring outside the bathroom.

what should i do? it's a rental property and i really don't have much money to do an expensive fix. the plumber recommended tearing out the old tiles and putting up new tiles with a moisture backer, etc. he also noticed the tub is not level, and suggested i fix that too.

he also recommended a new tub surround/enclosure instead of new tiling. both jobs he claims would cost me over $2000 or so.

please help. that's a hefty amount. what are my options? can i just fix the broken tiles or do i need to replace the whole thing? is it better to do the surround/enclosure? what brands/material should i use? should i hire a contractor or professional tiler/installer or just the plumber?

p.s. i know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about home repair. don't want to be gipped but don't wanna be sued by tenants either.
 

Last edited by scorpioneyes; 03-07-07 at 01:21 AM. Reason: wrong spelling
  #2  
Old 03-07-07, 06:41 AM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Just outside of Phila
Posts: 350
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
1. Did the plumber fix the leak at the vanity?
2. Is the laminate flooring bubbling/blistering because of the vanity or shower?
3. I'm assuming that it's drywall behind the tile and not a CBU? What is damaged, the tiles or just grout cracks or both? Where are the cracks, throughout the shower or just in the corners?
4. Can you see that bathroom floor from below? That would help to see if you have any subfloor and/or joist damage since it sounds like this has been an ongoing problem.
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-07, 10:40 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
1. no, the plumber did not fix the leak at the vanity yesterday. i should clarify that it was the mold remediators that noticed the water originally last year and dried it out. they recommended i get the pipes checked for leaks, and i did. but unfortunately they didn't realize the water was leaking thru the tiles, not pipes, so we closed the drywall back up.

2. don't know why the laminate flooring is blistering/bubbling. the plumber thinks it's due to the same tile leak which may be seaping into the floors in the hall.

3. gosh, i'm not sure what is behind the tiles. i don't believe there is any moisture backer tho. not all the tiles are damaged. it looks as if the previous owner took apart 5-10 tiles and botched up the repair job. the tiles are not evenly flat. and it's the grout that's cracked, not the tiles. these tiles are primarily below the shower head and above the tub faucet.

4. not sure what you mean. the plumber says i have a concrete floor in the bathroom.
 
  #4  
Old 03-07-07, 01:38 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Just outside of Phila
Posts: 350
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I had/have a similar problem with our tub/shower. The grout lines were cracked and the first night we moved in, my wife was taking a shower and I heard water splashing on the floor downstairs. So I ran down and found water pouring from the ceiling. It was all coming from the cracks in the grout and they were very smal cracks. I caulked all the grout lines. It looked/looks ugly and I did a horrible job but I knew it was going to be ripped out and redone so I didn't care. I had to caulk it twice but it didn't leak and we used it for about 1 yr while I was working on the downstairs bathroom. We don't use it now since I finished the downstairs bathroom. I will be starting on this bathroom real soon. You can take a look at the link below to see what I'm talking about. It has mold growing everywhere and the drywall the tiles are set on is deteriorating and not level anymore.

You need to address all the cracks in the grout first to see if your leak goes away. Then save money to have it redone. In the long run you will be spending a whole lot more on repairs due to all the water damage.

http://s162.photobucket.com/albums/t257/john2050_photo/Bathroom/
 
  #5  
Old 03-07-07, 04:48 PM
H
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 3,525
Received 8 Votes on 8 Posts
When the walls were opened up, I assume you could see the back of the tiled walls. Are the tiled walls drywall?

For the record, tile and grout are not waterproof. Water can and will get through on a regular basis. This is why drywall and greenboard are no longer used in wet areas. Years ago it was common for tub surrounds to be done with drywall or greenboard. Typically, mastic was used instead of thinset. Cement board and thinset which are used these days are unaffected by exposure to water. A vapor barrier is used behind the cement board to keep moisture away from the framing. Over time the repeated soaking of the drywall behind the tile causes the tiles to pop and grout to fail as the drywall swells. Eventually, tile will fall off the wall as well. I kinda sounds like maybe your bathroom is at this stage. If you have cracking, failing grout joints, water between the walls, and mold, I'm thinking that this is a total gut job. Slopping silicone over the failed grout joints may keep the water out for a while, but not for long. And as you can see it will look like crap.

Spending money to patch this situation will only add to the eventual cost of replacing it.

I can't comment on the cost quoted to you to do the surround. Until you see a job and you know what you are up against its hard to say. I will say though that a plumber is not the right guy to get a tile tub surround proposal from.
 
  #6  
Old 03-09-07, 12:25 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: West of the Atlantic
Posts: 133
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Once again, I agree with Johnny.
 
  #7  
Old 03-09-07, 02:10 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
thanks to both of you. surely good advice.

johny2050: i will do exactly that. i spoke to my handyman and he thinks the leak ISN'T coming from the grout, but rather rainwater seaping through the cement foundation of the house. the backyard seems to slope towards the house instead of away from it. we'll just fix the grout first and see what happens.

HeresJohnny: not sure what's behind the tile. my handyman says it's Hardi or something like that. what you say makes sense. i also don't want to spend hundreds to thousands putting up new tile or tub surround only to find out the leak is from somewhere else.

on a different note, there's lots of mold growing in the bedroom closet which is in the back of the house facing the backyard. my handyman thinks again it's the water from the backyard that's coming up from the foundation. so i think the major money needs to be spent fixing the back. boy, if i knew being a landlord would be this hard i wouldn't have been one.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: