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Humidity behind ceramic tiles


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I thought I would contribute to this topic with this new thread.

When inspecting houses, I often come across bathrooms with presence of mildew around the tub. Loose faucets and spouts will lead to water infiltration inside the walls from the splattering water of the shower. Damaged grout and cracked tiles will also have the same consequence on drywall and framing members behind. For having repaired my own bathroom walls for the same reasons not too long ago, I thought I would post a couple of pictures from a recent inspection.

Visual inspection revealed presence of mildew, damaged grout, cracked tiles, loose faucets and spout. A combination of all the clues put together. Using the IR camera, I was able to get this thermo image. One needs to make sure that the surface is dry though and account for high reflectivity of the tiles. The thermal anomaly was confirmed with a moisture meter.

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Stephen,

Is that corner of the tub on an outside wall? I have seen thermal anomalies similar to that where there was an air leak or thermal bridge.

I use an inductive moisture meter on tile areas such as that. It is not as accurate as using the meter over wood however by checking several places on a tile surface you can detect elevated moisture. Of course, you must take into consideration wire mesh or hot mop shower pans as they give false elevated readings.

Ramon

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yes, that is the outside wall. There is a crack in the grout in the corner which is too small to see on that picture. Yes, when using a moisture meter, I always make sur to have a base reference to compare readings. In that case, the wall was checked in several places and I will always check the top section where it is less likely to be affected by humidity.

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Yeah,

It's moisture that's worked its way up behind the tile due to capillary action. It probably isn't in the substrate, wall or framing yet.

You don't need an infrared camera for that kind of stuff. rap the tile with your knuckles and use your eyes. If the tile echoes you've got a loose tile. If there are cracks or voids in the grout water will be behind the tile. If the caulk is failing along the tub rim there will probably be water behind the first course. If the corner joint grout is cracked or if it's been caulked and the caulk has failed there will probably be water behind the tiles that meet that corner at either side.

I routinely see stuff like that and later on when I check with Yung she confirms that she'd found water behind the tile. Unless it's really old and I have a high expectation of finding drywall or greenboard behind the tile, and it looks like it's been that way for a long time, I wouldn't expect it to have gotten into the wall.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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You're right, one doesn't really need an IR camera. With all them clues, it's pretty much straight forward. I used it for my own amusement to see what kind of thermal pattern I would get, add the image to my library but mostly to plant a seed and get people around me interrested in a possible thermal inspection later on....

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