My bathroom is around 15 years old and my shower tiles are starting to show some water damage. I am a bit worried that this is leaking and may cause some water damage elsewhere.

The grout doesn't look good and in some parts the tiles flex a bit if I push it.

One contractor said I should take half the wall down and redo it, which takes 3 days.

Another contractor offer to just re-grout the tiles, and takes just 1 day.

My questions:

Am i just hiding the problem if I re-grout the tiles?

Will I get worst/more water damage down the line?

Is re-grouting the tiles myself a bad idea?

image of the tiles

  • 2
    If the wall flexes when you push on it then water damage has already occurred, the only way to know how much damage has occurred and what will be required to deal with it is to do some exploratory surgery. – Alaska Man May 25 '20 at 18:15
  • Re-grouting without dealing with the inside of the wall is not addressing the possible/probable mold and mildew in the wall. – Alaska Man May 25 '20 at 18:22

If your tiles are flexing its likely that the wall behind has deteriorated because it became wet. Its possible that it was not installed from either moisture resistant drywall or from cement board and that the silicone seal has deteriorated. You may have water seeping behind your tiles leading to mould growth.

Re-grouting and re-sealing are your cheap, but temporary solution. If those tiles are flexing, in 2-3 years the silicone will break away again and deterioration will continue.

Base this decision on your current home budget. If you have the money to do a complete replacement without getting into debt, do it. You have to get it done anyway. If you do not, re-grout and re-seal and save up for a complete replacement.

Consider that if you do a complete tile replacement (as you should I think), your older bath may look out of place and your fixtures may look out of place too.


am I just hiding the problem if I regrout the tiles?

If the wall behind the tiles seems spongy i.e. "flex a bit", then yes you probably have a bigger problem in that the substrate (the wall material behind the tiles) may be wet.

Will I get worse water damage down the line?

Whatever is causing the damage you have now will continue to cause additional damage if you don't fix it.

Is regrouting the tiles myself a bad idea?

No, but not fixing the root cause of the damage is a bad idea. With a bit of research and carefully following instructions you are certainly capable of all parts of this repair, including the final step of applying grout. The first step is identifying the cause of the damage and fixing that.

Your picture does not seem to show any terrible problem with either the tile or the grout, so it's tough to help you with just the information provided; however, a big sign that you do mention is spongy wall behind tile. You most certainly need to open that wall up to inspect, maybe from the other side first to see what there is to see?

  • Thanks for the answer, any sugguestion on where should I start my research on how to do this? What should I look for behind the tiles? – Cash Lo May 26 '20 at 0:11

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