Are cracked tiles a problem?
Cracked tiles in a shower recess can cause problems you might not expect.
Last week we were asked to inspect a shower where the homeowner had found a couple a cracked tiles. The fault didn’t seem to be too serious on the surface in fact, the owner told us that the tiles had been cracked for a couple of years and he’d been meaning to have them repaired.
The homeowner was quite right in saying that the cracked tiles didn’t seem like much of a problem on the surface. The damage seemed minor and the rest of the shower recess was in fair condition. However, when we used thermal imaging to see what was was happening below the tiles it became clear that significant water damage was occurring below the surface. Water had been leaking through the crack in the tiles for a long time and though there was no visible damage, behind and under the tiles water was saturating the timber wall frame.
Cracked tiles, why do they occur?
There are a number of reasons why tile crack and grout lines fail in showers and bathrooms, some are more obvious than others.
- Something heavy has been dropped onto the tile: if the crack is in a single tile, something striking the tile is the probable cause. If this is the case you may even notice a chip in the surface of the damaged tile. In such cases replacing a single tile taking care no to compromise the waterproofing may be the solution. Alternatively it may be timely to check the rest of the shower recess and if necessary service the shower recess by regrouting with waterproof epoxy grouts and sealants.
- House movement: if cracks appear in a line across multiple tiles and/or grout lines are cracked, it’s probable that the home has experienced some settling or movement which is not uncommon in our Queensland climate. This is a more serious issue but one that is a routine fix for The Shower Dr.
To ensure the water integrity of a shower where there are cracked tiles and grout lines, we strip all of the grouts and silicone from your shower, test all tiles for integrity, remove and replace any cracked tiles, make good any damage and seal your shower with Mapei epoxy grout. Most showers can be serviced in this way in just a day.
- The tiles were placed over improperly spaced joists and/or substandard flooring: in the case of tiles, the less deflection or movement the better. Timber joists and flooring are flexible while a tile is rigid, if you have flooring that flexes too much, it’s probable that damage and cracked tiles will occur.
Why should cracked tiles be repaired
The simple answer is that cracked tiles leak and compromise the waterproof integrity of your shower. It may appear on the surface that no damage is being done by a cracked tile and indeed, you may not notice water escaping from your shower for some time. However, water finds a way through even the smallest crack in a tile or grout line and risks causing structural damage that can’t be seen and, as it’s behind the tiles it can be very expensive to repair.
In almost all cases, The Shower Dr can save you money, inconvenience and costly shower rebuilds if the repair is tackled quickly and with our proven and guaranteed shower seal system.
If there are cracked tiles in your shower or if you’re worried about possible shower leaks and water damage to your home, call us for a free obligation inspection and quote. We’re quick, neat, reliable, professional and we happy to give advice.
The Shower Dr – We Repair, Restore and Rebuild bathrooms all over South East Queensland – guaranteed.