Water that has found its way beneath your bathroom tiles can cause mold growth if the tiles are not cleaned. Mold can be an eyesore in the bathroom, not to mention a host of respiratory problems that can result from inhalation of mold spores. If the leak isn't fixed, the water can seep through more of your bathroom tiles and eventually cause cracking and staining. It is essential to inspect your tiles regularly for any signs of water leakage such as the following:
- Musty smell in the bathroom
- Tiles changing to a darker and unattractive color
- Damp patches appearing on bathroom wall tiles
Causes of leaks beneath bathroom tiles
The following are some of the factors that may cause water leakage beneath your bathroom tiles.
- Poor application of grout on the tiles.
- Leaking plumbing fixtures such as water pipes.
- Failure to apply adhesive to tiles during installation
Once you notice any signs of water leakage, it is paramount to fix it before the water extensively damages the tiles. Here are the steps you can follow to fix the problem.
- Assess the leak
Note that some forms of leaks may require professional help; therefore, it is essential to determine what you are dealing with. Water leakage on floor tiles around a small area can easily be fixed. However, if the leakage is on the wall tiles, this could be an indication of a plumbing problem, and you may need professional help.
- Remove the tiles
Scrape the grout of the affected tiles using a chisel and a rubber mallet, being careful not to break the tile. If a sealant or adhesive was applied during installation of the tiles, remove it as well. Carefully remove the tile by inserting a wide putty knife beneath it and popping it up.
- Clean and dry the floor surface
Water leakage on the floor usually wets the interior surface on which the tiles are laid. You need to clean and dry this surface before replacing the tiles as the moisture beneath the surface can facilitate mold growth. Clean the floor with water, dish soap, and a brush to remove all the mold. Then lay several thick towels or pieces of cloth on top of the surface to absorb the water and dry the floor.
- Reinstall the tiles
Once the floor is clean and dry, you can replace the tiles. Ensure that all areas around the tiles are covered with grout to prevent water from seeping into the tiles again. Apply a grout sealer or adhesive and let it set for a few hours before using the bathroom.
If the problem with water leakage in your bathroom tiles is plumbing-related, replacing the tiles will not solve it. Call in a professional to inspect your flooring, identify and repair the source of the leak, and replace the affected bathroom tiles.