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What to do with flooded tile floor?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by cbrodsky, Mar 3, 2008.

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  1. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Millbrook, NY
    We had a fairly severe leak about a month ago on the gasket of a copper hot water line connection to a master bath faucet. Found it after it had run all day - needless to say, a lot of mess as it ran through master closet, through floor/ceiling to dining room, foyer and pantry below, and through that to the basement. Total time exposed to the hot water could have been anywhere from a couple to 12 hours while we were away at work.

    The wood floors are somewhat cupped but improving a bit and I think may be OK w/a sanding down the road. But the thing that really has me annoyed is after a couple weeks, some of the porcelain tiles have started working loose in the bathroom which is all tiled, but I'm sure some water worked its way through hairline cracks into the subfloor. I also know that the cavity between the first floor ceiling and master bathroom floor had water in it to the point that we're replacing that ceiling.

    I suspect the builder just put the tiles right onto subfloor - they are a bit thicker than a normal ceramic tile and are level with 3/4" tongue and groove wood floors in an adjacent room, so I don't think a cement backer was used. Tiles are mostly 6x6 w/a few 6x12. I'm wondering if we should be thinking about trying to pull up the loose ones and recementing (particularly if we can find more of the same type or clean them up enough - I have a small pile of spares) which would let us avoid pulling up all trimwork throughout the bath and getting into a much larger scale project if this would likely work as a long-term fix once the floor is dry. Or once this happens, are we better off to just have it all ripped out and replaced on top of hardibacker on top of either current or new subfloor?

    The only silver lining I am trying to take out of this is that because our ceiling is going to be ripped out underneath, I have a great opportunity to put in hydronic radiant under the subfloor. But I can't start any of the drywall work until I do the hyronic radiant, and I can't really do that unless I come to a decision on the tile floor.

    Not sure what our insurance company will suggest in this case, but figured I'd ask some others w/experience.

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  2. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

    Oct 24, 2006
    NW Iowa
    Six years ago my fridge ice/water dispencer water line started slowly leaking and the water seaped under the oak parque flooring in the kitchen. As a result the flooring started seperating and coming up (it was glued down with sometype of adhesive). I called insurance and they came out and wrote us a check for just over $3,500 since this floor covered the kitchen and dinning room area and they said if you have damage on one part you need to replace the whole floor surface. The flooor was unique so it could not be patched.

    My advice is say nothing about the extra tiles you may have and let insurance decide first. I bet they cover replacing the bathroom floor entirely.

    From what you are describing the floor was not done right to begin with as ceramic tiles need a minimum subfloor thickness of 1.25" as memory serves me right. I know many do not go that thick but I would expect now that the floor has been wet as thing dry out you are going to see a lot more than one or two tiles come up.

    Also my insurance said they would not cover a leaking water line from the fridge again. I ran a new line in copper and threw away all the plastic lines and used a braided no burst flex line the the fridge.
  3. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

    Dec 9, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I recently installed new tile in my kitchen, hall and soon my bathroom. I installed cement board first. Not for the floor condition underneath because my home is only 20 years old and in great shape....but for the adhesiveness of the tile but also...for the resistance to water it has. But also after I installed the tile....I went with the grout with the sealer already in the grout...."thats where the key is to make sure your grout is sealed nicely whether its done manually or its already in the grout....makes a big difference on moisture getting under the tile. I would let the insurance cover it all as well...better than having problems later.

    I also am a fan of the braided flex line...I use that on my dishwasher and my washing machine. Hmm....I have anew fridge and they gave me copper for my icemaker line...didnt realize they had flex for ice makers....uh oh....another project lol.
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