Loose Bathroom Floor Tiles: Repair or Replace?

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Barbara in South Dakota is on the line and having a problem with loose bathroom floor tiles at her money pit. What’s going on?

    BARBARA: We had our bathroom remodeled about three years ago. And maybe six months after, we noticed that the tiles were kind of shifting a little bit when we walk in the most prominent places. And then, pretty soon, the grout started coming out. And I was wondering, do we have to replace all of our tiles or is there something we can put in there that would move with the grout or with the tiles? It’s a [heated bore] (ph).

    TOM: How is it heated, Barbara? Hydronic heat? Is it hot-water heat under the floor or is it electric heat? What kind of heat is it?

    BARBARA: It’s electric heat.

    TOM: I’m really sorry to hear that. I mean this was a mistake that was made in the installation. Where that mistake was made, it’s hard for us to tell. But there’s no way that those tiles should be loosening up. And unfortunately, there’s no really easy fix for these loose bathroom floor tiles. The reason the grout is breaking up is because the tiles are loose. And as the tile loosens, the grout doesn’t really have any structural integrity.

    LESLIE: Right. But isn’t that the result of an uneven subfloor?

    TOM: Not always. And even if it was an uneven subfloor, Leslie, if these were installed right, they would be – there would be enough adhesive or base under them to stop them from wiggling and prevent loose bathroom floor tiles.

    BARBARA: Think it’s the base underneath that’s not right.

    TOM: Yeah. So I guess you have two options for these loose bathroom floor tiles, Barbara, one of which is for you to go ahead and do what you may already be doing, which is repairing them as you go. If you find that you have a loose tile, if it’s loose enough to come up, you’re just simply going to add some additional floor adhesive and press it back down again. Or you have to remove the whole floor and replace them. But of course, that’s a big job because you’d have to also – you can’t really save the heating coils that are underneath. You’ll probably end up having to replace those, as well.

    It’s really hard when you have a bad tile job, especially one that’s over heating coils like that, to do anything short of replacing. It does not lend itself well to repair.

    BARBARA: Alright. Thank you so much.

    TOM: Alright? Sorry. I wish we had better news, Barbara.

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