Profile picture for mamaof2bugs

Moisture behind Shower tiles...HELP!

So our inspection report came back (we are the sellers) the moisture reading came back high indicating there is excess moisture behind the shower tiles...now I had just taken a shower about 15 min prior to the inspection so I don't know if that matters. What would be the "fix" for this? The buyers are "concerned" and we don't know what to do about it? 

  • November 08 2008 - US
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Answers (14)

Profile picture for Mike_oxafloppin

could be any number of problems. the easiest thing to try would scrub the tiles very well with a CLR type cleanser to remove any soap residue etc.  then dont use the shower for 3-4 days to let it dry out well. Buy a commercial grade tile and grout sealer and apply several times as instructed. This will help the grout resist pulling in moisture. If that doesnt work I'm afraid it's bad news.... your going to have to retile or atleast regrout more than likely.

does mold frequently appear around the grout lines ?

  • November 08 2008
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Profile picture for wetdawgs

Water behind shower tiles can indeed be bad news.  It usually means that there have been cracks in the grout and moisture has crept back behind.   If the cracks are young, a few days of drying (i.e. no shower use at all) and regrouting may be okay.  The worst case is that there is rot and very soggy back boards, so ripping out all the tiles and retiling would be required. 

 

The buyers are correct to be concerned.  You should have a tile guy come out and investigate and make the appropriate repairs.

 

Taking a shower 15 minutes before wouldn't have been a contributing factor.

  • November 08 2008
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Profile picture for mamaof2bugs

how would a tile guy be able to determine any damage without having to rip off the tiles to see? wouldn't there be any other signs of damage?

  • November 08 2008
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Profile picture for supercub

If there is drywall failure due to moisture behind the tile, you can push on the tiles and see movement. You can also put a suction cup on and pull and get movement as well. If you have that movement, the paper paper on the drywall is separating from the gypsum. Not good. If it's all solid and firm, then a simple grout sealing or regrouting should take care of things.

 

Age of the tile install would be a consideration. Older tile probably doesn't have water proof sheet rock, newer does.

  • November 09 2008
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Profile picture for mamaof2bugs

Ok great, well there is no movement at all its very solid when I push, I do think it needs to b e re-grouted as it is cracked in some places, overall the grout /shower is 10 years old.

 

Would I be able to re-grout my self or is this tedious enough to hire someone to do it?

 

 

  • November 09 2008
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Profile picture for wetdawgs

If it is cracked in some places, you will have water behind the tiles.   It may not have yet had enough damage to make the tiles "squishy", but if I were your buyer I would be looking for a professional assessment of the damage and not just take the homeowner's statement of "it was regrouted" as sufficient. 

 

Can you regrout yourself?  Yes, certainly, and this is part of routine home maintenance.  (we monitor our grout every time the tube surround and  showers are scrubbed.   It is hard to do it so it looks professional, so either practice on some tiles or boards in the garage or hire a professional.   Sloppy grout looks really awful.

 

 

  • November 09 2008
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Honestly, the cost to retile and purchase the tiles will probably be very affordable. I would just do it. Make the new owners happy to be doing business with you. Especially if the shower tile is 10 years old. If you are going to regrout- just retile.

 

(great tips from Supercub, BTW! Thanks!)

  • November 11 2008
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Profile picture for FlooredAgain

Does your shower also have a mud set pan in it or is that fiberglass? Do you know what the backer board is behind the tile? Is it Wonderboard, is it mud set or are the tiles adhered to "green board" with mastic? A tile guy will be able to tell you. If it's a mastic installation, I would demo the tile, put up a concrete backerboard like Wonderboard and retile. Inspector probably did a drain test on your shower pan. What was the result?

  • November 13 2008
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Profile picture for ThePoopingBandit

Just a thought - if you've got _really_ interested buyers, why not talk to them about what to do there? 

The folks I bought my house from decided to retile the kitchen just before selling, and I ended up ripping that UGLY tile out, replacing with my own.  If they'd given me the option, it would've saved me about 10 hours work busting up tile, destroying new formica countertops, etc, and probably would've saved them a couple thousand dollars as well.

They also decided that rather than retile the upstairs bath, they would just have a (very expensive) service come in to slap in a tub insert, which ruined the tub and tile, so if I do decide to remove, will end up being even more expensive to replace the now-ruined tub.

 

HTH

  • November 17 2008
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THE POOPING BANDID has it correct.    Work with the buyers and agree to a number that makes both of you happy.    If you hire a professional you are surely going to discover that there is damage behind the tiles and it won't just be a tiling and grouting job but would include new water resistent drywall, cement board, tiles and the grout.    You would be talking about a lot of $$$$.

 

If you have never grouted tiles don't try it now as you would only make a mess!  

 

I repeat, the best approach is to work with your buyers and stay away from diy repairs.

  • November 17 2008
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Profile picture for evperry

Give them a credit at closing and you will hae solved your problem.

  • November 18 2008
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Absolutely talk to the buyers, a credit goes a long way, and if there are any little (always big) surprises later in the remodel you won't own the house any longer! If you have a termite inspection, there could be issue.... and if the shower pan doesn't hold water for the test time, they will have to break tile out... after the 5 row, you get to buy an entire new shower... good luck... keep it to the lowest $$ you can, you won't make any of it back at the sale ...

  • November 19 2008
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Profile picture for Melody91
I strongly agree with the last few responders.

DANGER ABOUT MOLD: If it is Black Mold, it can be toxic and
or/unhealthy to illegal.  If it is just plain ole-mold, many people are allergic to it; asthmatics are particularly vulnerable to feeling it, and having it trigger an asthma attack.  FYI: The number of child asthmatics in the younger population is on the increase, perhaps due to the lower oxygen % in our current air.
So, DO work with the buyers, and all can be safe and satisfied. Good luck!
  • December 21 2008
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Profile picture for mtegan1
Most mold in houses are easily rectified unless it is over 100 Sqft.  Stop the reason for the moisture in the first place and it is relatively easy and inexpensive to get rid of the mold.  

If you demo the shower and replace the tile you are opening up yourself to all kinds of potential problems.  Wood rot, hidden leaks behind the wall, a leaking shower pan, ....  The best option for you is to give them a credit at closing or a lower asking price.  Chances are they would like to pick out the tile themselves and that should be how you get them to agree to it. 
  • January 16 2009
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