Strange grout moisture level?


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Old 06-24-14, 04:48 PM
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Strange grout moisture level?

Hi All -

Let me know if this is better posted in the plumbing forum.

So, a bit ago I noticed some wet looking grout to the right of my toilet. Moisture detector clocked it (in the concrete setting) at about 12%. Since then, I've been monitoring it and I notice that on hot and humid days, it can spike as high as 20%. But when it cools down or the outside humidity goes down, it eventually falls back to 9-12%'ish. The temp is about 75-78 degrees on really hot/humid days and RHI is always around 58-60%.

I had a plumber come last week and he pulled the toilet thinking that it might have been leaking and we did see some indication on the right side that moisture was getting into the groove on the side of the flange. He re-seated it and I continue to monitor the issue.

There is no indication of moisture in the ceiling below.

I've attached some pictures of the flange on the right and some pictures of the wet "looking" grout. Note that while there is a bathtub in there, it hasn't been used in a bit.

Any idea what could be going on here?

Thanks!
Greg
 
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Old 06-25-14, 12:29 PM
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What about the sink? Is it close to the toilet? If you touch the floor, on that side of the toilet, does it feel wet?
 
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Old 06-25-14, 01:03 PM
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Hi Pulpo -

Thanks for the reply! So, the sink is actually on the other side of the toilet. The grout between the sink and the toilet on that side appears to be dry. In the cabinet in the vanity everything appears to be dry as well.

One thing that was going through my mind is that there could be a pipe in the wall behind the toilet that is leaking and dripping into the subfloor and the not super level floors could be causing the water to slide under the grout? Does that hold any water? (pun intended)

Unfortunately, to test these theories, I have 3 options and I'm not sure which is the best way to go:

1. Crack open the wall behind the toilet
2. Buy a scope and drill a hole to take a peek
3. Cut into the grout and remove the tile to see what's going on

Any ideas/suggestions?

Thanks!
Greg
 
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Old 06-25-14, 02:14 PM
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is it possible that you have condensation coming off the toilet tank or supply line on those hot humid days? Cold water and warm air?
 
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Old 06-25-14, 02:17 PM
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Condensation was my thought as well
 
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Old 06-25-14, 02:33 PM
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Thanks guys.

So I thought of that as well. I even put a cloth under the tank above the "wet spot" to see if that was the case. I imagined if there was water coming off of the tank, that cloth would be wet. Unfortunately, it was dry when I've checked.

And the tile is always dry.

And correct me if I'm wrong but that wouldn't necessarily explain why the water seems to extend so far to the right next to the toilet, would it?

Thanks!
Greg
 
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Old 06-25-14, 02:35 PM
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Sure looks like you had a small leak from the wax seal. The flange also sits very low in relation to the floor which would necessitate either a double stacked wax ring or at least an extra thick one. Put a fan in the area and see if you can dry it out. Then if it returns, we can label it as active.

How old is the house? Are there any cast iron waste lines in the house? I'm looking at a PVC flange/drain, so hoping that all drains are PVC. That would help eliminate a leak in the wall as you would have a solvent weld to the stack as opposed to a possible no-hub connector.

One other thing I did see once, was a small crack in the back side of the toilet that only leaked during a flush, so if you were not peeking, you didn't see anything. Also, check the packing nut on the supply line that it is tight.
 
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Old 06-25-14, 03:07 PM
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Thanks czizzi! Appreciate the reply!

So, the townhouse was built in 2006/2007. I took ownership of it in Q4 2012. Previous to that, the owner had rented it out to a family and I've found a few things where the owner as landlord might have worked around the problem instead of actually solving it. So, that leaves me wondering...

Unfortunately, I don't know how the pipes look in that wall but this past winter, we had a pipe burst in our first floor bathroom with a similar layout and I've attached some pictures of how that looked. Not sure if that helps with the diagnosis.

So, when the plumber re-seated the toilet last week, he noted that they put a double stacked wax ring in there and didn't seem to think it was necessary. It sounds like you might have a difference in opinion?

Thanks!
Greg
 
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Old 06-25-14, 04:02 PM
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Your drains should be fine, PVC solvent weld. Is the upstairs bath also on an exterior wall? It was a brutal winter, I'm substantially south of you and I had a burst pipe this February in my house. Possible that you have a leak caused by partial freeze and some fatigue, but not likely.

Tap on the tiles around the whole bathroom, do any sound hollow? It would indicate that there may be an issue with the subfloor under the tile due to moisture. You can also remove the shoe and base moldings, make a small cut out of the drywall and get at least a peek inside the wall without ruining any visible wall sections. You can cover the hole up with the base when done. But it would tell you if there is anything going on in the walls.

Does the toilet from time to time cycle? Run a short fill on its own without being flushed? Would indicate a poor seal between tank and bowl or a supply line drip.
 
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Old 06-25-14, 05:04 PM
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Thanks again for the fast replies, czizzi!

You are absolutely correct about the rough winter! Fortunately, the bathroom backs into an interior wall. There is another bathroom on the opposite side of the wall but again, all of the plumbing is internal so I'm hoping for the best.

Good idea about the base boards and shoe. I'll try that tonight.

I did go around the room and the tile at the center of all of this did sound a little hollow in comparison to the surrounding tiles. I don't have the best hearing these days (at least that's what my SO tells me), so I've shared out the brief video to get other opinions.

http://1drv.ms/UKENf8

Hollow or not hollow?

Thanks again for all of the replies. I really appreciate it!

thanks,
Greg
 
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Old 06-25-14, 05:50 PM
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Another thought is the seal between the tank & the bowl. Also, look at the nuts & bolts that hold the tank in place.
 
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Old 06-26-14, 06:26 AM
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The tile furthest to the left sounds the firmest and I would use as comparison. The others do sound hollow in comparison. However, taping with a wrench may mast the sounds slightly. Give a firm rap with you knuckles while making a strong fist. You won't get the tapping sound of the tool, you will hear only the relative sound of the tile. Remember to compare to other non wet areas of the bathroom floor. You are trying to ascertain if there is an issue beyond just the moisture lurking in the grout lines.
 
 

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