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  1. #1
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    Default Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    This bathroom is upstairs on an outside wall. My moisture meter showed high moisture levels up and over 90%, all along the back wall of the tub surround from shoulder level down to the tub. The far corner was also wet, tapering off towards the outer edge by the curtain. Tiles appear to be tight, no grout cracks, 5 year old home. Tiles around the taps and shower head test ok. I called for further evaluation by a tile specialist, and the buyer agreed that there appeared to be a moisture problem here.

    A week later, I was asked by the owner and the buyer's realtor to check the wall again, they had stopped using the shower and wanted to be sure. I was curious myself, so with permission from my client, went back and checked again. Now, the moisture meter showed the wet area was smaller, tapering down from shoulder ht in the corner near the shower head to about two feet above the tub at the far end along the back wall, and a smaller area in the corner of the end wall. Does this sound like tiles glued to drywall? Would the drywall dry out that quickly? I think it must be greenboard with water sitting just on the surface. What was done wrong here? Any tile experts?

    John Kogel
    www.allsafehome .ca

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    What kind (brand/model) of moisture meter are you using?

    Gypsum drywall will dry in the period of time you have described, if the insulation is not wet and the home has its HVAC system on and running.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    What kind (brand/model) of moisture meter are you using?
    Surveymaster Protimeter

    Gypsum drywall will dry in the period of time you have described, if the insulation is not wet and the home has its HVAC system on and running.
    My guess is no thinset or tileboard. Needs a repair by Mike Holmes.

    John Kogel
    www.allsafehome .ca


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    Its difficult to speculate without removing a tile or two to verify your opinions.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    If it has Durock installed behind the tiles as it should, that stuff takes a long time to dry out. Water *WILL* go through grout, and Durock is intended to act as a get wet-storage-and dry out system. Which is just what it sounds like it is doing.

    Green board *used to be allowed* around tub and shower areas, many of the older manufacturer's installation instructions stated such, however, after the "Mold is Gold" outbreak, the manufacturers all got burned by "mold" growing on the cellulose paper in that wet location and have since 'dis-approved' the use of green board in those wet tub surround and shower areas.

    The fact that, for decades, green board failed and the paper came loose did not lead to that change, only once the "Mold is Gold" craze hit and, yep, "mold" was growing on the cellulose based paper facing - of the wonder of it all.

    Not sure what a "tile specialist" could tell you unless they were given permission to either cut into the wall from the back side to see what kind of substrate was used or remove some tiles and see from the tile side.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Surveymaster Protimeter



    My guess is no thinset or tileboard. Needs a repair by Mike Holmes.

    John Kogel
    www.allsafehome .ca
    That is a good meter for this application. As others have said, only way to know for sure is to open the wall.

    Did you see any other moisture related signs?

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    That is a good meter for this application. As others have said, only way to know for sure is to open the wall.

    Did you see any other moisture related signs?
    No visible signs of trouble. Without the moisture meter test, it may have been a while before anyone noticed water in the wall.
    I have a reasonable amount of faith in the Surveymaster. In this case, it showed a change after a week of drying. This proves the presence of moisture, in my opinion.
    What they do now will be up to them as I feel my job is done. The tile installer should remove tiles, might as well say all of them, as they don't appear to be stopping water very well. I'm hoping to hear the results of their investigation.

    If it has Durock installed behind the tiles as it should, that stuff takes a long time to dry out. Water *WILL* go through grout, and Durock is intended to act as a get wet-storage-and dry out system. Which is just what it sounds like it is doing.
    Sorry Jerry, I don't feel this is normal. Something's not right. We never expect to see this much water behind tiles, and I check tilework with the meter on a regular basis.

    John Kogel
    www.allsafehome .ca

    Last edited by John Kogel; 03-15-2009 at 11:45 AM.

  8. #8
    Christopher Gorton's Avatar
    Christopher Gorton Guest

    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    John, you can probably see what is the tile backing by removing the escutcheons to the taps or the shower head. With that much water I'm betting on tiles glued to greenboard.
    Does the installation look like it was professional or did it look like it was a homeowner special? Unusual for a homeowner to do a great tile job, not unusual to do it incorrectly.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Leaky tiles in Bathroom

    Thanks Christopher, good tip. Should carry a few Allen wrenches for the tricky stuff. The tile work looks ok, if you like the cut tiles in the corner.

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