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Feedback Please! -Tiles peeling - old rental condo, water damage?

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  • Jul 30th, 2020 2:29 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote

Feedback Please! -Tiles peeling - old rental condo, water damage?

Hi All, long time lurker , first time poster.
We have a condo in GTA - a very old building, rented to a long term tenant
We moved out of province long time back and the same tenant - single person has been renting. Yesterday, they sent us a mail mentioning that some tiles are loose in washroom.
This morning I messaged them to send pics. And we got below :( - seems it just came down this morning - after their shower they mentioned.

We feel that this is crappy situation for our tenant and would like to take care of this. My brother in law lives in Toronto, so they are saying they can go down, to check it later today.
  1. Can anyone suggest if this would be an easy fix? Should we just overhaul the whole washroom, remove the tub and maybe make it standing shower or just do away with fixing the wall.
  2. Looks like concrete behind the rotten drywall . This is a 1992 building and don't think anything to washroom was ever done.
  3. Have Tenant Insurance, that we pay, it's very basic and condo also has their own insurance as most have . Would this fall under that? If so, what should be the first step, should a handyman/plumber check it ? Do we need to call insurance, before anyone touches a tile?

thanks in advance, been a bit stressful with co-coordinating stuff from far.Image
18 replies
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
Since it took a while to get the thread approved.
We got a few quotes and all pointed to doing a full gut and reno.
The wall in the picture - is the side wall and there is concrete behind the drywall (lightly visible under the broken piece near tub joint)- looks like it was a bound to happen after 27years! of shower use.
The other walls have wooden studs perhaps and who know what the damage is behind them :(

Hmm..so looks like its best to go with a full bathtub area reno atleast. This won't be a quick tile fix.
Can anyone pls suggest and reliable handyman or contractor for this. The tub is 60inch by 30inch.
Deciding if replacing the tub or making it standalone with sliding glass doors perhaps, would be a good investment?

thanks in advance.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 17, 2004
5091 posts
476 upvotes
I can't suggest anyone but you should know that if you're comparing prices to what you read online for a washroom for a house vs a condo. A condo reno costs more to do because it takes them more time because of the inconvenience of coming in and out of a building and elevators.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 24, 2005
5537 posts
1172 upvotes
this requires a full gut of the washroom
or a bandaid fix by bath fitters

both should work fine
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
Oni-kun wrote: I can't suggest anyone but you should know that if you're comparing prices to what you read online for a washroom for a house vs a condo. A condo reno costs more to do because it takes them more time because of the inconvenience of coming in and out of a building and elevators.
milolai wrote: this requires a full gut of the washroom
or a bandaid fix by bath fitters

both should work fine
Thanks for your replies.
So BIL visited the tenant this evening and pretty much tapped up the wall until this is resolved.
We did a video conference with a contractor and we could see the puffy tiles, the already fallen ones have soaked drywall behind that is breaking like cookies.

Interestingly, the first thing the contractor pointed out was that both the shower head wall and the wall directly opposite are fine, but for the sidewall to be in such bad shape - there is water damage coming from above.
- As all the washrooms are in this column of the 15floor building and this is the 8th floor. So there must be some leak above.
- it's advised we let the management know of this and have them find out if there is anything above and at the same time let the below unit know if they are seeing anything as well

So, will be doing that tomorrow.

Anyone know how does condo insurance deal with a water damage coming from above? The contractor mentioned, that they have seen many such cases and concrete walls are prone to having conducting water if there is leak or overflow from units above.
We were under the impression that it's an old building so the wall gave up over team. But, the contractor mentioned, it would take directly hitting water - a very very long time- to puff up the tiles like that, especially when all the grouting was ok.

I guess we missed this part completely. Will update soon, thanks for your replies so far !
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
milolai wrote: this requires a full gut of the washroom
or a bandaid fix by bath fitters
both should work fine
Bath fitter is an interesting solution. Thanks for mentioning. Any first hand experience with them? the infomercial and all warranty claims look great in videos.
Have to get a quote and see.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2855 posts
1859 upvotes
Toronto
That wall was never waterproofed, and I can 99% guarantee you the other walls on the enclosure are the same. Think about showering and where the water sprays against the wall after hitting the person in the shower. Right where the tiles have fallen off.

The shower enclosure needs to be gutted, new backer board installed, proper water proofing membrane and new tile. Or a good quality fiberglass enclosure on top of new backer board.

You cover it all up with a band-aid, and it will continue to rot and get really, really ugly behind there. Mold, mildew and your neighbors will be the ones calling on your insurance company.

This will cost you 1-2 months rent to repair, and you shouldn't even be thinking about doing it half-assed.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
torontotim wrote: That wall was never waterproofed, and I can 99% guarantee you the other walls on the enclosure are the same. Think about showering and where the water sprays against the wall after hitting the person in the shower. Right where the tiles have fallen off.

The shower enclosure needs to be gutted, new backer board installed, proper water proofing membrane and new tile. Or a good quality fiberglass enclosure on top of new backer board.

You cover it all up with a band-aid, and it will continue to rot and get really, really ugly behind there. Mold, mildew and your neighbors will be the ones calling on your insurance company.

This will cost you 1-2 months rent to repair, and you shouldn't even be thinking about doing it half-assed.
Yes want to do it proper way. But, want to be sure, if this is coming from upper floor or not- since even the top most tiles are popping out - not only the bottom. Or else it would not be a full fix eventually.
The condo manager got back saying that checked the unit and there is no ceiling damage - hence not a chance its coming from above!
The wordings strongly suggested to have this the grout failure asap as this was more of an issue fro lower units now!

I guess, it's a good learning lesson on being a passive landlord. We never inspected the unit, the tenant never bothered updating until it all started falling apart. And now condo is so clear from just looking at it from far that there is no damage from above.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
Also, since this was drywall behind tiles and then concrete. Isn't this against code or something ?
Would this be under some condo policy to rectify or I believe even our own condo insurance, would not help in this case as it's not build per code , right ?
The building is 28yr old in Toronto.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2855 posts
1859 upvotes
Toronto
It's most likely cement board behind the tile, then I guess the concrete condo wall if that's what the shower side is against. Even 30 years ago people didn't tile directly on drywall in a shower :)

Today people still tile directly on concrete board thinking that the tile will keep water out. The grout between the tile is porous, and the concrete backer board is porous as well. At least you don't seem to have wood framing behind all that to worry about.

Chances are very very slim it's a leak from above. Any damage on the ceiling? I expect it's drywall and would have been showing damage for years if there was a leak from above.

It's really not that big a deal, so long as there is no rot / damage on any other area. You'll only know once the walls are opened up, either from inside the tub enclosure or from the other sides of the end walls. I'd hope the end wall with the faucet backs into a closet - that's typical to allow for the drywall in the closet to be opened up to access the shower fixture for replacement. Then the drywall is just patched or maybe you put in an access panel.

You need a bathroom contractor you can trust to get in there and open it up / redo the enclosure. For a rental, I'd put in a high quality set of acrylic walls, or if I could, a one-piece tub/shower enclosure. But if the tub is OK, then you just need the walls done.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2855 posts
1859 upvotes
Toronto
You can ask the condo association or whatever, but I'd expect they won't help you at all and you might be opening a can of worms by getting them involved.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
torontotim wrote: It's most likely cement board behind the tile, then I guess the concrete condo wall if that's what the shower side is against. Even 30 years ago people didn't tile directly on drywall in a shower :)

Today people still tile directly on concrete board thinking that the tile will keep water out. The grout between the tile is porous, and the concrete backer board is porous as well. At least you don't seem to have wood framing behind all that to worry about.

Chances are very very slim it's a leak from above. Any damage on the ceiling? I expect it's drywall and would have been showing damage for years if there was a leak from above.

It's really not that big a deal, so long as there is no rot / damage on any other area. You'll only know once the walls are opened up, either from inside the tub enclosure or from the other sides of the end walls. I'd hope the end wall with the faucet backs into a closet - that's typical to allow for the drywall in the closet to be opened up to access the shower fixture for replacement. Then the drywall is just patched or maybe you put in an access panel.

You need a bathroom contractor you can trust to get in there and open it up / redo the enclosure. For a rental, I'd put in a high quality set of acrylic walls, or if I could, a one-piece tub/shower enclosure. But if the tub is OK, then you just need the walls done.
thanks for a helpful reply. Yes, i agree its not looking that bad ...but we are now concerned if we caused any damage below and if insurance would cover any - if it's major.
And for layout, the end wall with faucet backs into hallway , the pot and sink plumbing also back into this same wall. The opposite shower wall (say one showers facing the fixture, it's behind) is the one that backs into the closet -of the adjacent bedroom.

Although, the tenant have not bothered, I wish they had bothered us this time in advance. There was once a dishwasher issue that we took care with a handyman only to find a broken piece of glass blocking drainage. Or else we never heard anything, until this happened. I guess no news is not always good news.

Crossing our fingers, that below unit hasn't experienced anything major. The tub is steel and sits flush against the concrete, there were tile on it, until it started falling apart yesterday.
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 27, 2020
13 posts
1 upvote
torontotim wrote: You need a bathroom contractor you can trust to get in there and open it up / redo the enclosure. For a rental, I'd put in a high quality set of acrylic walls, or if I could, a one-piece tub/shower enclosure. But if the tub is OK, then you just need the walls done.
Agreed, have contacted the management for reference of someone who has already worked in the building.
Any recommendation for acrylic walls, or if I could, a one-piece tub/shower enclosure? or who can do this type of work. Would their be plumbing work?
Newbie
Jun 11, 2013
9 posts
Toronto
Suggest you to claim the insurance if your deductible not that high, case you may also need to get the new place for your tenant during the contraction.
You have both owner and tenant insurance this time, you may need compare which one should be claim for it.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
2855 posts
1859 upvotes
Toronto
gshigong wrote: Suggest you to claim the insurance if your deductible not that high, case you may also need to get the new place for your tenant during the contraction.
You have both owner and tenant insurance this time, you may need compare which one should be claim for it.
Hard to believe there would be a claim here. You don't get to file an insurance claim for shoddy workmanship. And if you decide to do it, they accept it and you pay a $1000 deductible, your premiums will go up for the next 10 years to cover the payout anyhow. Sad reality of home insurance. Unless your house burns to the ground or floods, it's rarely worth claiming.

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