Tiling comedy of errors. Help needed.

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You should change your agency is all I've taken from this thread. And listen to PaulC. His advice is spot on here.
You should change your agency is all I've taken from this thread. And listen to PaulC. His advice is spot on here.
Thank you for your comments, it had crossed my mind, but they are all as bad as one and other and sometimes it's better the devil you know.

The first contractor went over there and allegedly after he re grouted the shower area.
These pictures are from the tenant as the contractor did not bother to take any pictures himself as requested.


To me, it appears the first contractor went over there and just bailed as, to me, there has been nothing done from the first contractor.

To me, it looks like the top layer of grout is quite heavily missing and is now exposing the adhesive underneath but without a really detailed shot and a few close ups this is all conjecture.

So the action from the Agency is that they now want to get another contractor in (who is Polish) and WILL ask them for a second opinion, I thought they already had, but only contacted me yesterday to ask me if that was alright, even though I replied to them that getting a second opinion was vital. So I'm still waiting for this guy to go round, still.
The Agency said as he is Polish so will be able to talk to the Tenants, apparently.

I will be heading back to this house in June anyway so have also offered, if no one shows up, to fix this issue myself if the second contractor does not ever go round, based on the fiasco this has been, I expect they might not.

So I am already mentally preparing an inventory using Paul C's advice.
But I am also preparing for a more simple repair approach too, with a dehumidifier, mold treatment and some epoxy grout. My reasoning is based on a few comments that if I "bodged it" in the first place why now make it any better? I'm thinking until the tenants leave just quite fix it then I can do it Paul C's way when I have more time.

On another note, the tenants have also notified the Agency that they think there has been an attempted break in...

...We'll see what happens over the next four weeks.
definitely a mould problem and with it being so bad so high up the shower and so uniformly spread I would say it is being caused by the plywood backing, but I am surprised it has got so bad so quickly.
The problem is ply can harbour mould spores and in a confined damp unventilated situation such as behind tiles the mould can grow and spread.
Many years ago before I knew any better I tiled a shower onto ply, last year after nearly 20 years I ripped it out and the ply behind the tiles had a fair bit of black mould on it, but in fairness it hadn't penetrated the tile adhesive very much and hadn't come through the grout.
To be fair your best bet will be to rip it all out replace with tile backer board, use decent powder adhesive and a decent mould resistant grout and grout sealer or even as suggested a two part epoxy grout.
To be honest its not a massive job and a decent tiler would do that in a day, probably £2-300 worth of work.
Don't get too down about it, you have to try and detach yourself a bit more from the house if you are putting it onto the rental market, there will always be problems and you can't expect the house to come back to you exactly as you left it.
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Well, Well, Well.

I finally got to the house to size things up.
I found 8 cracked tiles, grout routed lines in the grout and on the tiles. Dremel tool swirls over a further 7 tiles and the edges of nearly all of the lower tiles wore back and/or chipped which is why the brown areas in the photos looked much much worse.

The tenant did finally admit that he attempted to dremel out the grout to fix the staining which was a hair dye his girlfiend used which had also stained the floor tiles too. But he never replaced the grout he removed, he painted it with grout paint from Homebase!

The agency workman who went over there to repair the problem also used a dremel and then a groute router in which he broke tiles and compounded the wear to the edge of the tiles.
There were 4 tiles in which something super abrasive had been used which completely took off the top layer if the tile surface.

He then covered up the hash up with new grout non water resistant grout, including a lot of the hairline cracks he created when trying to route out the grout with apparently a hammer and screwdriver, evidence of this could be seen by the end of the small screwdriver tip stuck in the grout as it had broken off and the was grouted over.
I could also see that the dremel router tool got away from him a few times as there were swirly marks and scratched tiles from a routed line in the grout.
WTF this guy was on I have no idea.

So with this in mind I decided to strip the broken tiles off the wall.
All in all 32 tiles were damaged, scratched or broken.

The underlying surface (in lower selected areas) were 20-25% moisture saturated (not surprisingly) the upper areas were 10% which is (I think) correct for wood on this moisture detector I bought. There were areas with over 80% saturation but they were only near the bottom of the shower.
So the area was left to dry for one day with a mold and mildew treatment applied.
I tested the moisture levels again and they were 8-15% even the worst hit areas.

So I've now removed 85% of the tile adhesive and just need to somehow remove a stuck shower knob from the fixing and applied penetrating oil to it in the hope this might work.

I have also bought epoxy grout and bal tanking solution to cover the wood as I am not replacing the whole wall, sorry to those who told me to remove the wall and replace it with Aqua Panel. I also have some fancy german waterproofing solution to put onto the wood to seal it before the tanking solution.

This should seal it until these tenants leave.

In hindsight I could have bought two sheets of tempered glass and glued them to the ply for the shower area as I would have seen see the lovely wood behind and there would not have been any issues with weird staining or tenants with dremel tools or workmen with hammers and screwdrivers.

Ah well.

Hopefully this will be the end of the dramas at this house for a while.
Now just have to finish the job off, before I loose too much weight due to the 32 degree heat.
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I've not read the whole thread, however:

Its not best practice to use ply or PVA on a wet wall, but that was not the cause of your simple troubles - Ply & PVA are not guaranteed to fail.
And if they had failed in your enclosure, then they would have failed differently from what you say & show.
In your case, I'd suspect that moisture penetrated the grout, and perhaps the sealant.

The pics showed fresh silicone sealed inside corners, and a small amount of fresh grout renewal.
The smudgy stuff looked like, and the pattern was consistent with, mould.

As a landlord, why dont you investigate using plastic shower pods (& bath pods)?
The sealant was old. The mould looking stuff was tile edge and tile dirt caught in the new grout mixed with wet PVA stain in there too.
There was miminal mould in only one place.
No tray going to be fitted but thanks for suggesting it.

Thanks for looking at a bit of the thread though.
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Shower pods are far more than shower trays - check them out for any future use, not for now.
Id go with hardybacker board costs a bit but at least nobody can complain about it. PVA is no match for water ingress, tanking the area might have helped, but I'd just bite the bullet get it done and if the shower ends up like that again they have no excuses other than they are scutty.
Stripped the entire shower room as the previous workman sent in cracked too many tiles.
3 part Tanking done.
Waterproof adhesive done.
Epoxy grout done.
Extra water proof sealant done.
Moisture tested by tenants and myself after a weeks worth of usage at grout at 10% and less moisture on the epoxy grout. Even after washing it for 20 minutes.
New Bristan shower controller and head (smaller) and easy access telescopic head rather than the overhead wash which also stops the tenant angling the head toward the wall.
Tenants girlfriend also admitted that he had stripped the grout off to clean it with a dremel tool and then used a high powered bleach to clean the grout which dissolved it so apologised because she saw the amount of work required to fix what they did.

I also found the plug hole was completely blocked with long hair and gunk. She said that they had been using chemical to try to shift it.
I showed them the tenant folder with the instructions of how to get the easily accessible plug and hair trap which then made sense to them. She almost chucked when she saw the crap coming out of the plug hole and I was the one sorting it out for them.

Work took 1 week to complete with drying times in between for all treatments.

Am now confident this will last a while as I made a make shift box out of the ply, tanking solution and epoxy grout and filled it with water. It's still clean and filled with water still two weeks on.

Sad story 4 days later the other bathroom mysteriously had a flood so spent another 4 days trying to find out why this happened with no clues apart from the overflow which had been disconnected forcefully. Hmmm.

Go back Monday to paint the wall after the dry out with the dehumidifier and it will be all done. I hope.

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