Water Damage Repair

Water Damage in and around Showers, Tub Surrounds, and Countertops

Until recently, the tile, grout, and caulk of any tile installation in wet areas was intended to be part of the “waterproofing” system that may have also included lead, copper, hot-mopped tar, plastic, or paint-on latex liners. The problem with this type of waterproofing system is that even if every component is expertly installed, it is really only highly water resistant—not waterproof. No grout—not even epoxy grout—is totally waterproof. Water eventually seeps through the grout and through the seams in the liners and makes its way to the underlying substrate, which is usually a wood, plaster, mortar, cement, or gypsum product that can be permeated or damaged by water. In the case of cement backer boards and mortar beds, water may not damage them but will pass all the way through them until it begins to saturate wood and insulation materials, where mold can readily grow. When water seeps slowly into plywood, it may take a long time before the damage is visible below because it is absorbed into the top side of the wood, which rots from the top down.

Some of the more noticeable symptoms of water damage include:Water damage

  • Musty, earthy smell
  • Cracked tiles
  • Bulges in tile
  • Moldy cracks in tile or grout
  • Persistent mold growing all the way through the caulk or grout from the back side
  • Areas of grout that always remain damp
  • Tiny insects and “worms” crawling in and out of cracks and crevices
  • Grayish crust building up on grout joints of shower floor or bench
  • Whitish stain on the surface of the grout
  • Movement of tiles when pressure is applied
  • Mold and water stains on walls and floor outside of shower or tub
  • Open grout and caulk joints
  • Discoloration of vertical grout joints for several inches above shower floor or tub
  • A rattle or hollow sound when the tile is tapped with something solid

Water Damage Repair

The first thing that must be done is to remove all of the material that has been damaged by water. Precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of mold spores and fine dust particles through the room air or through the ventilation system. This means containment and shrouding, HEPA-filtration of the room air, collection of dust with HEPA-filter vacuums, sticky pads at the room exits, and surface protection film or drop cloths along the entire route from the work zone to the outside door. Each of our portable HEPA-filter air scrubbers is capable of filtering 500 cubic feet of air per minute and exhausting the clean air to the outside. This prevents the discharge stream from stirring up dust in other parts of the home.
After the demolition and removal are complete, we replace the substrate materials with new clean materials. In locations where the finished structures will be in contact with water (e.g. showers, tub surrounds, and countertops around sinks), we use Schluter Systems, Inc.’s Kerdi brand of waterproofing components – shower drain, Kerdiboard, Kerdi fabric, Kerdi-Fix adhesive, Kerdi shower tray, Ditra crack isolation/vapor management/waterproofing membrane, etc. Properly installed, these waterproofing components provide a 10-year warranty from the manufacturer against failure leading to water damage

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