Flooding will cause water to be absorbed into porous material, such as grout and adhesive, and even into some concrete and tile. Restoration procedures for ceramic floor tile depend on the products used and the quality of the original installation. |
Flooding can wreak havoc on natural stone and tile floors. Flood waters not only contain water which can harm and destroy marble, granite, limestone, terrazzo, and tile flooring, but they also contain debris and dirt as well as other harmful contaminants that can cause staining and other problems. Many times, the damage that is done by the flooding will not show up until months later.
Regardless, water needs to be dried as quickly as possible. Remove standing water immediately to begin the drying process. Also, remove interior wallboard 12 inches above the maximum flood water height and remove any water-soaked insulation to provide drying of the floor perimeter and wall cavities.
Inspect for evidence of deterioration of grout and adhesive. If there is extensive deterioration of the adhesive, as evidenced by loose tiles, then it is likely that tile will need to be removed. If not, continue to thoroughly clean and dry out the home and flooring. Clean the surface of the tile with a household detergent or disinfectant. Continuously use air conditioning (or heat) plus a dehumidifier to reduce humidity and dry out the flooring to prevent growth of mold. If home is not air-conditioned, open windows and use fans to circulate air. In humid climates, dehumidifiers are probably necessary.
The stone or tile should be evaluated for moisture by a professional stone and tile forensic expert to determine the extent of residual moisture.
Sub-florescence is what happens when the mineral salts migrate and do not make it all the way to the surface. In the efflorescence condition above, the salts are deposited on the surface of the stone. In sub-florescence, the salts crystallize just below the surface, causing stress within the pores of the stone. The result is a condition known as spalling, which appears as pits in the surface of the stone. Sub-florescence is very common on green marbles and on almost all stone and tile surfaces where flooding has occurred. The stone or tile can be tested for salts by a qualified professional stone and tile expert.
Yellowing and Discoloration
Many light-colored stones contain naturally occurring deposits of iron. Iron is a mineral found in stone and can occur randomly throughout the stone. If iron is present, it will begin to oxidize when exposed to water or other oxidizers such as acids and household bleach. Stone can remain for years without yellowing, then over time may slowly turn yellow, and in severe cases may turn completely brown. This oxidation process is accelerated when the stone is saturated with water as from a flood. This process of oxidation is similar to the rusting of metal. If you expose a brand new nail to water and air, it will turn brown and rust. The same process can occur with the iron in the stone. If water and / or air is eliminated, the iron will not oxidize. This is the reason certain white marbles suddenly turn yellow. The process is difficult to reverse, and replacement of the stone may be necessary if not properly evaluated and the proper removal technique is not applied.
Several types of thin stone tiles are very susceptible to warping when exposed to flooding. Many of the green marbles and a few agglomerate marbles are notorious for this warping condition. Many installers have had the surprise of finding that their tile installation has mysteriously become warped overnight. Why does this happen, and can it be prevented?
Warping is caused by water. Green marble set with any water -based material will have a tendency to warp. The mechanism of why the tile warps is somewhat a mystery. Some believe that the water fills the pores of the stone, and when the water evaporates, the orientation of the stone's crystal changes and causes it to warp. Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure. Green marble can warp when set with water- based materials or exposed to copious amounts of water.
Having a stone or tile floor that has been subjected to flooding evaluated by an expert is highly recommended. It may make all the difference. Damage may not be initially obvious, and an experienced expert can interpret many signs of damage that may not appear until months later.
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