Stripped all tiles off shower wall to dry off wet wallsCredit: Titans Photography













Twelve months ago we noticed the walls in our hallway had started to bubble the paint.It was just a little odd bit at first. We checked the taps in our shower and could not see a leak. So we thought about the tiles and wondered if the grout could be leaking. After seeking expert advice we were told it was more than likely to be a grout leak.

So we stripped all the paint off the wall on the other side of the  shower in our hallway and around the corner in the laundry areas. Left it to dry out for a couple of weeks, as there was no wet or signs of moisture we then sealed the walls and repainted them. Everything looked fine. So we went touring around Australia for thirteen months, leaving our son and his girlfriend to look after the house.

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What causes damp in bathrooms

What causes these problems?

Tiles are waterproof although we cannot say the same about the grout. They may have used a cheaper form of grout or it may not have been applied correctly. It could start with a tiny gap which is enough to let the moisture through. If this occurs it will spread as the gap becomes larger.

There could also be a leak between the tiles and the shower screens, especially in the corners, if there is movement. Grout does not tolerate any movement at all and will crack.

A good sign of moisture is if black spots start to appear on the silicone sealant around the shower screen. If the screen moves the moisture can get behind the seal.

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Recoat with concrete

We returned home after our trip

When we got back the walls had grown with the damp again. This time it was worse than before. We had plumbers and insurance assessors out and they said it was not covered with insurance because it must be a grout leak not a water leak.The plumbers tested the walls and said there were no leaks.

To be honest we were still not convinced. As we wanted to sell this house and move into a smaller one and go travelling again we needed to be certain that every angle was covered.This time, my husband pulled all the tiles off the shower wall and the floor.Everything was saturated. The damp was halfway up the walls on both sides of the shower recess.

And can you believe it, there was no membrane behind the tiles. Evidently about ten to fifteen years ago, the tilers did not do this as it was a shortcut taken by a lot of tilers in those days to reduce installation, labor time and costs.

Now that we had removed all the tiles we had tofind a tiler to retile the shower. As soon as he saw it he knew the problem as a lot of houses were done that way. He gave us a quote and then the fun started trying to find tiles similar to the existing ones. No hope there at all.They had completely changed the sizes of floor and the wall tiles, and they did not even have the same shade or colors.

As it is just for the shower only we chose the same for floor and walls. The tiler  came back and sealed the brickwork, then returned twice and coated the walls with a concrete like substance to seal the walls. The next trip he applied two coats of the membrane.

We spent time cleaning the old tiles that didn't break to put around the hand basin which never had any to protect the back wall.

The tiler returned, and grouted .This process from the first phone call to the insurance company has now taken since the 20th of October 2009 and was finished in the New year.

We had  really been hanging out to have a shower. No we don't smell, we had to content ourselves with a bath each day.Thankd god we had a bath in our bathroom.

Recoat with two coats of sealer

I must add that, that was only getting the shower finished.We still had to finish rendering the hall and laundry walls, seal them and paint. We had to wait this long to make sure the walls were completely dry

Yes we didn't even worry about finishing that mess until after Christmas. Hope you all had a great one.

They told us to completely seal the tiles with a shower sealer. We bought a container of Crommelin's Waterproofing. It says on the bottle permanent water based penetrating sealer to fix leaking showers. We gave the whole shower two coats, just to make sure it was sealed.

We did finally fix that shower and eventually sold it and bought another one.  Can you believe it - We had to do the same thing again in this house as there was a leak behind the taps.

Although this time it was the actual pipe that had a leak.  We still fixed it ourselves as by now we were pretty much experts at it.

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