Can damp wood framework dry out in this situation...
We had work done on the bathroom. The tile guys removed the old tub back-splash and old wall board to do the ceramic tile work, and they found that the wood framework around the window all the way down to the tub was rotted and very damp (there's a full-sized window in the bathtub enclosure). They think the leak was due to the old back-splash not having a watertight seal around the window frame.
The tile guys said that the wall needed to be aired out for 24-48 hours before they'd proceed with putting up cement board to attach the tiles (of course the wood was not going to be dry in that period of time). They removed as much of the rotted wood as they could, but the remaining wood was still damp. I could not see any mold present. They told me that once they put up the cement board, the wood inside the wall would dry on its own. They stated that they've seen this issue plenty of times with damp wood, yet they proceed with the tile-work without letting the wood dry completely. They said that it would take a very LONG time for the wood to dry if I decided to let it air out with the wall open.
I followed their advice and let them proceed with covering the damp wood framework with cement board. A few years later, I noticed the start of hairline cracks in many of the ceramic tiles adjacent to the tub on the wall where the window is located. I have no idea if the hairline cracks have anything to do with the damp framework problem, due to a problem with the tiles, or due to some other issue like settling of the house. I wouldn't expect ceramic tiles to start cracking after just a few years.
So were the tile guys correct in stating that the wood frame can dry out if it's covered with the cement board? I'm not sure if all they were interested in was getting the job done and getting paid, rather than doing what's best for my house.
I now regret choosing ceramic tiles and also regret not taking my time to find out what was the right action to take with regards to the damp framework.
Thank you for any help.