Tile floors, if cared for and sealed correctly, are fairly impervious to water damage, which is what makes them a great choice for potentially wet spaces like bathrooms, utility rooms, basements, and kitchens. While tile for spaces like these is generally a great choice, it is still possible for water damage to occur. What’s worse, damage from standing water may not show up for weeks after the incident.
Here are a few ways that you should be aware of that water can cause trouble.
Flooding from a Washing Machine Malfunction
Your washing machine’s drain hose can become dislodged from the drain outlet, dumping all of the water from the basin on to your floor. The door on a front loading style washer can malfunction and pop open, draining water all over your floor.
The fill shut off can malfunction, overflowing the tub and, you guessed it, dump water all over your floor. This can be a real problem, especially if you run your washer overnight or while you are gone.
Flooding from a Dishwasher Malfunction
Your dishwasher can malfunction in ways similar to the washing machine. The door lock can fail, allowing water to pour out from the front of the machine. The o-rings connecting the drain line to the motor underneath the unit can fail, potentially pumping dirty dish water out from beneath your dishwasher.
The latter can be extra sneaky, as it can pool below the machine before pouring out beyond the machine area.
Water Heater or Softener Failure
Water heaters and water softener systems can fail, especially as they age. Internal parts can degrade or drain hoses become dislodged, allowing water to pour freely on to your floor.
This can be particularly problematic as these appliances are usually tucked away in a closet, out of sight and out of mind. Water can work it’s way into tiled spaces undetected.
Slowly Leaking Plumbing
These can be the most menacing of problems. Small, slow, drippy leaks from plumbing either under a cabinet, a toilet, or behind a wall can mean big trouble for your tile, as the water seeps underneath, slowly degrading the bond between the tile and adhesive, and even allowing mold growth.
Flood Waters From Heavy Rain Events/ River Floods
Weather seems to be becoming more intense and more unpredictable, creating situations we may not be prepared for. Rivers can reach flood stage from rain events miles and miles away. One heavy downpour can result in flash flooding.
These events, while less likely than a mechanical or plumbing failure, can be far more catastrophic as the untreated water can carry bacteria that will become trapped under improperly sealed grout and tile, not only loosening tiles from the floor, but posing a potential health risk as well.
What Kind of Damage Can Occur And How Do I Prevent It?
Tiles can become loose, detaching from the surface below, and potentially crack. Mold, mildew, and bacteria can accumulate underneath the damaged, floating tile. Eventually, the subfloor beneath the tiles can begin to rot, inviting pests like termites and carpenter ants to feast on damp, rotting wood. This can mean anything from a quick tile fix to replacing major structural components of your home.
The water gets in through missing or damaged caulking and unsealed grout, improperly sealed grout, or grout with damaged sealant. The good news here is that these are problems that can be prevented. Having properly sealed grout can stop water damage before it begins. Contact us at GroutSmith Tulsa for a free in home evaluation, estimate, and demonstration.