Removing sealed bathroom tile for sink access

Discussion in 'General DIY and Home Improvement' started by mbirkettsmith, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. mbirkettsmith

    mbirkettsmith

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    Hi there

    I have a leak someone underneath my upstairs bathroom sink which is dripping down into the ceiling. We've stopped using the sink but I need to get underneath and see what's leaking. The problem is I can't work out how the access tile has been attached to the wall and I can't remove it so far. The bathroom is about 3 years old and was installed as part of my new build.

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    I've used a box cutter to cut a gap around the silicon sealant around this tile (all the other tiles have conventional grouting) but I can't seem to remove it. I don't understand how tiles like these are conventionally attached beyond the sealant. Is it screwed or fixed to something behind the tile? Do I need to smash it to get it out?
     
    mbirkettsmith, Aug 21, 2018
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  2. mbirkettsmith

    CheeseSteak

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    From the picture shown I surmise that this sink is the type that hangs off the wall. What is on the opposite wall? Unless it's the outside of the home, then you are probably looking at a drywall situation in an adjoining room. If so, it would be easier to break thru the drywall there and examine the supply and drain pipes. Sounds like a drain pipe problem to me (otherwise it would leak constantly until you turn off the valves to the water supply pipes). Fill the sink with some water and have someone pull the stopper while you watch from the other side. The leak should appear. But, if not, then the crack/hole must be further down the line which will probably involve removing the drywall from the ceiling below. JUST HAD A BETTER IDEA! (Maybe) If the ceiling drywall is damaged and must be replaced - start here first. Remove the damaged part and examine the pipes. Maybe you can find the problem this way. I would avoid removing tiles at all costs. Too many hassles.
     
    CheeseSteak, Sep 4, 2018
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  3. mbirkettsmith

    mbirkettsmith

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    Hi CheeseSteak, thanks for your input, it's appreciated! It's an upstairs bathroom and the sink backs onto an exterior wall. However the wall to the right of the sink backs onto our second bedroom so presumably I create an access hole through there. I'd hope I wouldn't need a massive hole to take a look at the drain pipe.

    I'll take on board your advice to avoid touching the tile, I presumed that because this one tile was sealed with silicon rather than grouting that it was intended to be accessible. It's really frustrating that whoever designed and installed the bathroom didn't leave any sane way of accessing the sink.

    So far it looks like the ceiling just has some superficial plaster damage but I'm hoping it isn't any more dramatic than this!
     
    mbirkettsmith, Sep 4, 2018
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  4. mbirkettsmith

    CheeseSteak

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    Maybe I was too strong about removing the tile. Your comment about this one tile being designed to provide access to the pipes behind might have merit. You should be able to take a "box cutter" (or similar. I've used an old steak knife in a pinch) with a fresh blade to break the seal along the edges of the tile. The trick is to wriggle it out of there without cracking or chipping it (or the surrounding tiles). Got any spares? If you go too deep, you might end up removing the drywall that the tile is adhered to. Then you have more to do in order to put things back together again. Your picture shows a fairly large tile so, maybe, there is an opening behind it that is large enough for you have enough room to reach in there and remove/tighten/replace whatever is needed. Otherwise, more tiles will need to be removed and you have a kinda big job on your hands. This is why I suggested approaching it from an area covered in drywall as this would be less work.
     
    CheeseSteak, Sep 4, 2018
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