Tried to DIY an issue with my toilet. Unfortunately, shut off valve didn’t quite work so a ton of water sprayed around the bathroom for a few minutes before I finally got it off. Used towels and wetvac to clean up. Some water did leak through to room below.

Called water damage restoration company - they said they’ll need to remove drywall in room below to dry out (expected) but also remove tiling in bathroom to dry subfloor (unexpected).

Have asked another company for a second opinion, but appreciate your insights as well - is removing all the tile really necessary? Can we dry subfloor from the room below (ceiling will be opened up to dry as well). I’d really like to avoid re-tiling my entire bathroom if not necessary.


  • 1
    Do you know much about the surface under the tile? Is there a layer of backer board in there? If your toilet is unhooked, then a picture of the material around the drain flange could be helpful. If there's particle board under there somewhere, then I wouldn't be surprised if there was a major problem. OSB or plywood, though, and then tearing up tile sounds very unusual. Do you know your floor sheathing material?
    – popham
    Oct 15, 2023 at 4:40

3 Answers 3


Once drywall is removed from room below. You should be able to easily assess extent and location of leak. Hopefully, it's isolated to a small area that can be allowed to simply air dry for a few days. Depending, of course, how absorbent the subfloor is/was🤔

  • This is what I'd do. Use a fan to dry it, maybe using some heat. Then do the plastic sheet test to check for remaining moisture. Then consider sealing the bathroom floor because splashes happen.
    – Matthias
    Oct 16, 2023 at 0:36

If the area under the floor is open and any insulation is removed, it should allow the floor and backer to dry as well as the thin set if any water got through.

To help, you can have a fan blowing air into the space.

If it were my home I would not allow the tile to be pulled up. Most times the remediation companies are quick to rip everything apart because they don't put it back together. Then another issue starts when the insurance company won't pay for something to be repaired, because it did not have to be removed in the first place.

Been there...done that...beware the remediation team.

  • If tile adhesive instead of thinset were used to adhere the tile, then would you change your tune?
    – popham
    Oct 15, 2023 at 20:34
  • Who would use adhesive in a bathroom? If that was the case the tiles would be coming up themselves.
    – RMDman
    Oct 15, 2023 at 21:14
  • My mom hired a guy to tile her bathtub. I ended up doing it after I saw the tub of "premixed thinset mortar" sitting on the floor in her bathroom. That guy uses adhesive in bathrooms. If I found loose tiles on the OP's floor, then I would conclude that this tile was bonded with adhesive and recommend tearing it up. No backer board? I would be suspicious without the loose tile.
    – popham
    Oct 15, 2023 at 21:21

Be sure the contract with the remediation company states restore to pre damage condition. This specifically specifies it will not be back to new condition. Also be sure it spells out the scope of the work, a timetable etc. Validate this with your insurance carrier to be sure the bill gets paid.

I worked with my remediation company and restored to new but I paid additional out of pocket for this. This was specified in the contract, the insurance paid the remediation and I paid the upgrade. All approved before the start of work.

Check your policy, it is probably too late now but most will allow emergency work to protect against further damage at the insurance companies expense.

  • +1 because of the title's "leak" description. I can't imagine that insurance would pay for owner negligence.
    – popham
    Oct 15, 2023 at 20:27

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