How to Tell If You Need to Replace the Shower Tile Because of Mold


Bathroom tiles and flooring are susceptible not only to dirt and debris but also mold. Mold, a fungus that thrives in warm, moist and dark areas, loves to hide behind your shower's tiles. The fungi can grow without someone or something interfering with it and can spread quickly through the wallboard behind the tile. There are ways to tell if mold is present behind the tiles and whether you need to replace tiles as well as the wallboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth or rag
  • Warm water
  • Flashlight or spotlight
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Latex gloves
  • Wet a soft cloth or rag with warm water from the sink. Wring out excess water and wipe your shower's tiles with the damp cloth or rag to remove any loose dust and dirt.

  • Shine a flashlight or spotlight on the tiles and look for holes and cracks in the tile's grout and caulking. This is one indication of mold growth behind the tile and the need to replace the tile and possibly the wallboard behind it.

  • Look for black residue on the caulking. Rub the caulking vigorously and try to remove the residue. If it is still present, the residue is mold and is possibly present behind the tile. You need to replace the tile and/or wallboard.

  • Tap the tiles with a flat-head screwdriver. Loose tiles are another indication of mold growing behind the tile and the need to replace the tiles and/or wallboard. As mold grows, it eats away at the grout and caulking holding the tiles in place.

  • Use the screwdriver to lift one or more tiles from the shower wall, shine the flashlight or spotlight on the exposed wallboard and look for mold growth---the growth will be black or gray and fuzzy. If mold is present, replace the tiles and wallboard.

  • Place your nose close to the tile and exposed wallboard. If there is a musty or sour smell, mold is present even if you don't visibly see it or only see one or two spots of mold growth. Replace the tiles and wallboard.

    Note, inhaling mold is dangerous to your health. After performing the smell test in this step, immediately leave the bathroom and get some fresh air.

Tips & Warnings

  • Another indication of mold in your bathroom and possibly growing behind the tiles is an earthy smell when you first enter your bathroom. The earthy smell also indicates rotting wood due to mold growth.
  • If you see ants crawling along your bathtub and tile, this is another visible indication of mold behind the tiles as well as in the entire bathroom.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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