The tiles behind the taps of my bath have come off completely and I don't know what to do. My main concern is if it could contain asbestos withing the tiles themselves, the adhesive or the plaster stuff behind them. I assume water could also get there as well. There is also a crack in the ceiling directly below this place but no sign of damp or anything. Do I try and cover it up with something? If it does contain asbestos and needs to be removed professionally, covering it up would make it harder to remove right? I have no idea about DIY or anything and my parents aren't worried at all. Personally I am very worried about it. Also worried about the mould. Have attached some pics.enter image description here enter image description here

Thanks for reading. Any help is appreciated.

  • Where? When Built or remodeled last - both influence odds of Asbestos, thought those odds are fairly low for the products in question. Never can be certain without a lab test in buildings of a certain age, but ceramic tiles, no, ceramic tile mortar, probably not. "Plasticy" floor tiles and the associated mastic (especially black mastic) are more common things to have it. Wallboard sometimes does. Buildings past a certain age, in most sane countries, will be free of it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 5, 2020 at 15:58
  • Asbestos is unlikely, but as always, a test will confirm. I trust the ventilation fan in the bath either doesn't exist or doesn't get used -- that should change. What kind of time/money budget are we talking about for fixing this? What is your desired outcome? Jul 5, 2020 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Don't even worry about asbestos, it's only a concern if you tear it up into a breathable dust.

You say you are concerned about water intrusion, but all around that area there are gaps and cracks through which water could penetrate. You say you are worried about mold, but the wall above is covered with what looks like bio growth (mildew).

I recommend that you:

  • clean the area with the missing tiles with TSP, then a bleach solution (in fact, do that the entire area including the wall).
  • seal all cracks, crevices, and edges with paintable caulk
  • paint area with missing tiles, and the plaster wall area above, with quality indoor glossy bathroom paint.

If you had more experience with intrusive DIY projects there are a lot of other, more permanent solutions (e.g. redo all tile) but at your skill level this should help and it will look good too.

  • Unfamiliar with how replies work so sorry if this goes to the wrong person. My dad reckons that it was renovated in the early 80s. I was under the impression that due to its properties, asbestos was used in almost all building materials. That's why I assumed this would have it. The extractor fan is never switched on because it is too loud according to some people in the house. Desired outcome is just to make it not get worse than it already is. Jul 5, 2020 at 16:19
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    Asbestos is only a concern if you make it into a dust then breath it. Stop fixating on that issue, which is not a problem, and get to work to make your bathroom better. It seems like your unwarranted concern about asbestos is causing project paralysis... get 'er done! Jul 5, 2020 at 16:26
  • Sounds reasonable for someone of my ability. With the mildew, it only appeared after the wallpaper was painted about 10 years ago. Would it be worth taking the wallpaper off? It gets bleached every few weeks. Jul 5, 2020 at 16:44
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    By the early 80s, asbestos was on the way out. Asbestos was "used in almost all building materials" only in the sense that it could be in a lot of different places. But it certainly wasn't in "most places" in a typical house. And as noted by others, asbestos is a problem when breathed - cut, sanded, etc. Encapsulating it is actually a very safe way to deal with it. Similarly, lead paint is a problem when sanded - but painted over it is not normally an issue. As far as the fan there are quieter fans available and that is often an easy replacement. Jul 5, 2020 at 17:11

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