Considered the most water resistant flooring material, tile is the most popular choice of floor coverings among homeowners. Tile flooring consists of more than just tiles, however. Grout and adhesive seal the tiles together. Both materials are vulnerable to damage. If water consistently floods over the tile, the adhesive that bonds the tile to the cement will gradually deteriorate.
Most of the time, standing water does not directly damage ceramic floor tiles. However, when your home has been flooded, floor tiles may come loose. It damages the grout between the tiles and saturates the subfloor– particle board or plywood sheet. Water can then cause the subsurface to swell and warp, pushing the tile to lift even harder. When excess moisture is present, it could also cause mold and mildew growth, which eats away the mortar even further. While only a couple of tiles in your flooring may appear to be damaged, the entire surface beneath the floor is destroyed.
The answer depends on the material used. The amount of water each type of tile retains is a factor of how dense it is. Density is one of four categories:
Porcelain tile is denser than travertine tile, for instance. So travertine tile retains more moisture, and enables additional water to penetrate into the substrate. Properly installed flooring can withstand more water, as well.
Grout is the material that bonds individual tiles together on your flooring. If left unsealed, it can allow moisture to penetrate the subfloor and can provide an ideal home for bacteria and fungi, which in turn will develop into mold spores. Over time, the water can destabilize the grout and lead to loose tiles. The damage may not become noticeable for many weeks or even months, until after flood waters have diminished.
A catastrophic appliance failure is an obvious cause. But slow leaks are also problematic. When a broken dishwasher or pipe fitting gets a pinprick hole, a leak can exist for a long time before the homeowner realizes. The particle board or plywood in your flooring can soak up water from the leak, causing mold or dark staining of the tile. Eventually, the individual tiles will become loose.
Whether your tile damage is from a busted pipe, severe weather, or a leaking garbage disposal, Flood Pro is the trusted water damage restoration team when disaster strikes. If you’re experiencing any type of water damage on your property, call Flood Pro for a home inspection.
Their technicians are trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). They will quickly assess the situation to determine the fastest way of drying and restoring your property.