Toilet leak after tile job. How to repair to prevent mold growth

karolokeMarch 9, 2009

We had someone retile an upstairs bathroom floor just over a week ago. Today we noticed that there was water on the ceiling of the bathroom directly underneath the one that was tiled so we knew the tilers didn't properly seat the toilet right. Their project manager said the tiler didn't use a thick enough (or double) wax ring so the toilet didn't squish into the wax. My question is how should the repair be handled? We had mold in the wall of a bathroom before and it was a quite a nightmare to remove and repair, so our main concern is that their be no opportunity for mold to grow up in there. Does the damp ceiling wallboard need to be replaced or just dried out, kilzed and painted? How do we know if water penetrated the backer board or plywood floor underneath the tile enough to cause mold when sealed back up? Does tile or backer board need to come up just to be safe? Thanks for expertise you can share!

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Get them to redo the job properly!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 6:57AM
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That's the plan, but I'm not too sure just what needs to be done.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:11AM
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The ceiling under the bathroom needs to be opened and possibly removed. If they have a fiber optic scope, they can drill a few small holes and check out the ceiling from below.The area needs to be inspected for mold growth and treated if necessary. If left in place you have no idea what's going on up there. I would have a different company do the checking as they will be more objective. If you suspect water has travelled down the wall, check those too. Let these guys know that they will be liable for the damages and any associated costs.
Have someone who knows how to set a toilet do the job. If you retiled over the exiting floor or raised the toilet height, you will need a spacer or two to compensate for the difference. This will a judgement call by someone competant.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:48AM
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Thanks Ron. Your answer was very helpful.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 2:10PM
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A waxless toilet gasket works best for situations like this.

Fernco makes one:

So does FluidMaster:


It's silly to be concerned about mold with this small amount of water from a temporary leak.

Fix the seal then simply repaint the ceiling area using a stain killing primer.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:38PM
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If the ceiling is just stained and not damaged, it is easier to just apply liquid bleach to the stain to eradicate it. Might take 2 or 3 coats but it is easier than kilz and a total repaint job.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 12:07PM
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