I bought this property a few months ago. The master bathroom has a tile shower. After the shower is used and the floor has dried, stepping on some of the tiles results in a "squish" noise, and a little water comes up through the grout.

You can see in the photo of the shower floor my (poor) re-grouting; there were some cracks in the grout near the drain and I had hoped replacing it would solve the problem. (It obviously didn't.)

What should I do next to diagnose & repair this weeping floor? We've been showering in the guest bathroom for long enough, I think.

Bonus question: how urgent is this?

Shower floor

Weeping: Squishing water

The whole bathroom is tiled: whole bathroom

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    You should check around that vent for water damage to the subfloor as well, especially if you can see the floor from below. I'd imagine it's difficult to prevent water from getting into the vent being right beside the shower like that. It may take years, but if the subfloor gets damaged it will eventually loosen the tiles around that too. Shame when contractors/people do stuff like this: it looks great when it's first done, but if it isn't waterproofed underneath, it'll all get destroyed over time. – gregmac Jan 15 '16 at 15:30

Even the best re-grout jobs will fail if the sub-floor under the tile is compromised in some way. If the tile are installed on a damaged or wet sub-floor they will eventually loosen from the thin-set that bonds them to the floor. Over time this will be evidenced by cracks in the grout joints.

Before you try another grouting remove some of the loosest tile. Observe the thin-set below. It should appear solid with no cracks. Tap it with a handle of a screwdriver. It should sound solid not hollow.

If the tile removes with thin-set attached you will probably need to replace the entire floor. This is the time to ensure that the sub-floor and floor joists haven't been affected by water leaking through the tile.

If the showers' tile floor does need to be removed the standard procedure entails also removing about 12-14 inches of the lower wall so that a protective membrane can be installed. If you are comfortable with tiling, masonry, and carpentry this is well within a DIY-ers capabilities and can save a lot of money.

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  • Thanks for the great answer. I'll take out some tiles this weekend. I have access to the underside of this floor via the crawlspace, so I'll take a look down there too. What do you mean by "replace the entire floor"? Just the part under the shower, the entire (tiled) bathroom, or the entire story of the house? – Jacob Krall Jan 14 '16 at 19:20
  • (I added a photo of the amount of tile in the whole room, which is daunting to think about replacing.) – Jacob Krall Jan 14 '16 at 19:22
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    It's just the floor in the shower that would get pulled up to allow for a new waterproof pan. There are several methods possible: membrane, kerdi, etc. – Tim B Jan 14 '16 at 19:40
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    Sorry. By "entire floor" I was commenting on the entire "shower" floor. And since you can access the underside of the floor I would definitely suggest a close scrutiny of the surrounding sub-floor for damage. – ojait Jan 14 '16 at 19:47
  • Thanks @TimB and ojait. I tiled the bathroom floor in my previous house, but that one was simpler: no tiles on the walls, and concrete slab instead of crawl space. – Jacob Krall Jan 15 '16 at 16:41

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