How to Spot Water Damage Underneath Shower Tiles
Moisture buildup behind shower tiles can present all sorts of problems. It can ruin the shower’s drywall backing, cause the subfloor to rot, and deteriorate the condition of the tiles. Perhaps the worst problem associated with water damage is mould buildup which can negatively affect your family’s health. The sooner you identify a moisture problem, the lesser the damage it will cause.
The problem is that water damage behind shower tiles isn’t always immediately apparent. While you can’t see what causes moisture buildup, there are telltale signs that will tell you something isn’t right. Here’s how to spot water damage behind shower tiles and how you can prevent them.
Signs that your shower tiles are water-damaged
Identifying water damage on tiles can be quite tricky, but with these tips, you’ll be able to find out whether your shower tiles are still intact or if you need to have your shower repaired or tiles regrouted. Here’s what to look out for:
- Hollow or loose tiles – You can check if your shower tiles suffer from bathroom damage by giving them a light tap. If the tile sounds hollow when you tap it, it’s likely that water has seeped underneath it and the adhesive has broken down. When tapping the tile, look for subtle movements as well. Loose tiles are a dead giveaway that there’s a moisture problem in your shower. Chipped or cracked shower tiles are also an indicator that your shower tiles are water-damaged.
- Musty smell – If you notice a damp, musty smell lingering in your shower, there?s a good chance that moisture is building up behind the shower tiles. Examine the grout lines carefully and see if they have any cracks or holes. Does the grout appear uneven? Or are the tiles starting to shift out of place? Cement-based grouts are quite porous and if not sealed properly, then water may start penetrating underneath.
- Presence of mould –In some cases, the damp smell may be accompanied by mould growth. These microorganisms thrive in moist environments due to the moisture buildup behind your shower tiles. A quick glance of your shower?s tile grout is all you need to determine if there?s a lingering moisture problem in the bathroom.
How to prevent water damage underneath shower tiles
Because repairing water-damaged tiles can prove quite costly (and time consuming), you want to prevent the issue from arising in the first place. Here are a couple of methods you can use to prevent water damage to your shower tiles:
1. Reseal tile grout annually
Proper tile care will go a long way towards preventing water damage underneath shower tiles. This includes resealing the tile grout periodically using a high-quality grout sealer. Like we?ve previously mentioned, grout is a porous material and the last thing you want is to let it soak up water like a sponge. Using a grout sealer helps prevent moisture from penetrating the grout, thus eliminating the risk of moisture buildup underneath your shower tiles.
2. Eliminate any water leaks
Addressing water leaks is critical to limiting water damage on shower tiles. Make sure that there?s zero leaking inside your shower. Water leaks are the main culprit of moisture buildup and this can become a recurring problem if you don?t fix it. If you?re unsure of where the leak is coming from, it?s best to call an experienced plumber to deal with the issue.
3. Have the damage repaired by a qualified professional
Sometimes the cause of water damage underneath shower tiles is due to poor workmanship like improper sealing and use of low-quality tile grout. This can lead to premature grout cracks and loosen the tile?s adhesive over time. If your tile grout is already damaged, you?ll need to contact a professional to conduct major repairs. They?ll remove the damaged tiles, fix the subfloor in your bathroom, and install new tiles along with fresh grout to keep water from penetrating underneath.
4. Invest in a dehumidifier
If you live in a relatively humid environment, you should consider investing in a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is a device that removes moisture from the air and keeps your shower as dry as possible. This helps minimize the damage done by moisture underneath your shower tiles. A dry bathroom will help extend the lifespan of your tile grout and keep your tiles intact for a long time.
5. Avoid using acidic cleaners
Never use acidic cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice when cleaning your bathroom. Acidic substances can damage the structure of tile grout and weaken it, thus making it susceptible to cracks and peelings. Always use a mild cleaning agent to protect your shower?s tile grout.
Whatever happens, do not let a water-damaged tile unattended as it can contribute to more costly repairs down the line. Once you spot a moisture problem inside your shower, contact a professional and have it addressed right away.