A Week of Life Lessons
The client for this repair recently purchased their home. They knew some tiles were cracked, but the previous owners were to resolve the issue prior to closing. They didn't.
It took me about three hours to clean these tiles so that I could reuse them. Three hours to contemplate lessons I could pull from this job.
#1 Mold is vicious. If at any time your tile or caulk is cracking, and it’s near a water source, you want to fix it immediately. Water is likely sleeping in and on its way to causing damage. What kind of damage? Mold.
#2 Be thankful for science. This floor was done in the 80’s with Masonite board under the tile, a material that deteriorates from extended exposure to water. I am incredibly thankful for how improvements in science affect construction. No more Masonite for tile setters.
#4 Always protect your lungs. The first day I only had a basic N95 mask. Definitely not suitable for mold. I will be keeping my awesome 3M respirator in my car at all times now to avoid forgetting it.
#5 Realistic expectations are key. No matter how optimistic you may want to be, plan on the worst case scenario. More damage, more tiles cracking during demo, more time. Maintain realistic expectations and you may be pleasantly surprised. I ended up needing to supplement the existing hex tile. Thankfully the shower also has this white 4x4, so it somewhat fits.
Best of all? This client can now use their master bath without ingesting mold.
Don't forget, fix those cracked tiles and caulk, your lungs will thank you.