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SwellWill 05-08-2013 10:27 AM

Water Under Bathroom Ceramic Tile
Last night, I discovered a leak in my downstairs bathroom. The leak was coming from the toilet water supply valve, I have currently closed it to temporarily prevent additional leaking. I went into the crawlspace under the bathroom and confirmed that it was leaking through.

It looks like water has gotten underneath the tile, and I was able to get moisture to seep at the tile joints when I step on them. The water also got to my carpet too just outside the bathroom door too. I have pulled the carpet up and exposed the underpadding and wood base to dry more efficiently. I turned on the bathroom exhaust fan last night to try to get some airflow in there.

I checked the crawlspace this morning (~7 hours after leak was stopped), and verified the leak has stopped. Several damp spots have dried up under there, but there are still wet spots (most likely where the most severe leak-throughs and "wick" spots. I pull a minor ceramic tile that borders a floor air vent, and saw that the wood is damp/wet on top as well. I stepped on the tiles again to check for seeping moisture at the joints, its still there but slightly less severe then last night.

I closed the bathroom door and left the exhuast fan on this morning and will check on it again this afternoon. Will tile removal removal be necessary to address the moisture at this rate with the current measures that I have taken? I live in a relatively low humidity area (Colorado).

Thank you in advance for your input.

JetSwet 05-08-2013 11:50 AM

Yikes. ... so I may ask you have tile over plywood?... and a air vent in bathroom floor or base board heater? Was your toilet did the water get below the floor?

SwellWill 05-08-2013 12:12 PM

I am renting this house and will try to answer to best of my ability.
Yes, I believe it is tile over plywood.
It is an air vent on the floor itself.
I didn't notice any caulk around the base of the toilet, should there be? I hope that I stopped the leak which I believe was coming from the toilet water supply valve.
I am not completely sure how the water got below the floor. The leak seemed minimal and may have been active for some time. The water could have seeped through the grout, wall edges, at the base of the toilet, etc... This is a very small bathroom, just a toilet and sink underneath the stairs.
My first concern is mold prevention and mitigation.


JetSwet 05-08-2013 12:22 PM

Best method for now is to air it out the best you can with fans windows opened ect. If the plywood got wet enough then it would warp and cause your tiles to pop.
I would check all grout lines and make sure there are no openings on the floor. Open the floor vent and point fan at it.

If the toilet wasn't silicone or chalked that's another area to inspect as well.

Seattle2k 05-08-2013 04:08 PM

Since you rent this house, have the landlord worry about fixing it. Their homeowner's insurance will cover the tearout, drying, and repair work.

MTN REMODEL LLC 05-08-2013 05:03 PM

Dry it out.... but if the grouut lines were squishing water, it's likely the tile/subfloor bond was broken, and the tile should be reset and regrouted.

Colorado's dry, but we still get mold. Put fans on it. If any appears on the sheetrock etc, whack it with some 25% clorox 75% water mix.

(There are other more protective products, but I doubt you'll need them)


sfj54 03-12-2015 07:33 AM

This topic is two years old but I found it while I was searching an overflow issue of my own.
My toilet leaked not once but three times and created a huge mess. The bathroom is small thankfully but had tiles on it. A few days ago I noticed water seeping up from under the tiles and some of the water seeped into my bedroom closet but luckily not very much.
I made the decision to remove the bathroom tiles because I figured that there was a huge problem and because the toilet was and still is leaking (plumber is on his way) there would be no way to completely dry this out.
I had never removed tiles in my life so I bought a couple of tools and went to work. Thankfully the person who installed the tile floor didn't do a very good job so the tiles came off easily. I started out with a long handled steel tile remover but ended up just using a hammer to smash the tiles.
Man oh man what a mess I found! This house was built in 1959 and the flooring throughout is terrazzo. The floors are not level so I found that near the bathroom door the floor was dry but the rest was sopping wet. I removed as much gunk as I could with a broom but now I am faced with having to safely clean up the contaminated water that mixed with the grout and whatever was used under the tiles. It looks like mud. I am waiting for the plumber to arrive so he can take off the toilet again and I will then remove the four tiles the toilet is sitting on. Water continues oozing out from these remaining tiles and has ruined the vanity. I can't replace it right now so I guess I will bleach the daylights out of it.
I fear that the toilet has a tiny crack in it and the plumber didn't check it when he was here. This is something that everyone needs to consider if the toilet continues to leak even after a new wax gasket is installed, new bolts were put in and the toilet was sealed and even shimmed which was done in my case. I didn't know anything about toilet cracks until the manager of the plumbing company called me. He said that if the plumber did everything he was supposed to do and the toilet is still leaking, chances are the toilet has a hairline crack in it.

I will update my post after the plumber leaves. I'm still not sure how to clean up the floor though. I can't use a lot of bleach.

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