During a home inspection I am sure most home owners have heard a home inspector say: "there is hidden moisture behind your shower tiles." This phrase can take on many meanings ranging from situations with extreme damage to preventative maintenance. Many buyers are not familiar with how moisture is getting in, what is causing the moisture, how bad it is, and most importantly what they need to do about it.
A wet diaper can be very similar to a tiled shower wall. If it is saturated, leaking water, and stinky (mold) damage it needs replacement - or major repairs. Repairs can range upwards of hundreds of dollars. However, if you let the shower dry out for a few days, thoroughly clean the grout lines with a quality cleaning product (I have used OxiClean), and then apply a quality grout sealant (I had success withSurfaceGuard), and mold free caulking/silicone - it usually is a suitable fix.
If tiles and grout are firmly in place (not soft or spongy when pressed on) and show no sign of damage or cracking there is no need to replace the tiles or the drywall behind it.
Unfortunately, there is no repairing the diaper that just waddled by so I'll
leave you with this last thought...just because a shower wall has hidden moisture or high meter readings doesn't mean it needs total replacement, like just one pee in a diaper. However, neglecting high moisture levels can lead to more serious problems and eventually full replacement.
Having a professional home inspector looking for hidden defeicnes can save you hunders of dollars down the road.
By Paul Friesen, BSc, RHI, www.ifinditinspections.ca