Testing ceramic tile for moisture.


Well-Known Member
Mar 7, 2010
Real Name
brian l
Business Location
United States
Do you drill holes in the grout or use pinless moisture reader? How long does tile have to be under water before you decide to tear it out? Drying with high heat is out of question since adjuster said they don't pay for high heat equipment.

Scott W

Preferred Vendor
Premium VIP
Feb 14, 2006
West Jordan, UT
Ceramic tile does not absorb much water, less than 5% of its weight as the maximum. Grout absorbs more water but will dry with no damage. SO, it can be wet a long time and not need to be replaced.

However, a more important question usually is what is underneath the tile & grout. If it is a wood floor, that wood subfloor may be damaged by the moisture. It can rot or warp and the tile may need to be removed to replace the floor underneath.

Readings can usually be made with a pinless / non-penetrating meter.
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New Member
Feb 7, 2017
Real Name
Quentin Tebb
company i work for:

Tile on any single layer surface - normally just grab our dry standard and go from there to bring the rest down to that standard.

Tile on concrete - we normally leave in place unless they start to pop. Adjusters around here don't like ripping tile out unless they are popping.

Tile on Plywood sub-floor - If we have access to the floor from below (other unit, crawl space, basement) we will typically do a reveres tent from there, and a normal tent top side for 2 days. If the grout lines are thick enough, we will typically drill the grout and put the rescue mats on it. If no change in the the readings it's a tear out.

Tile on non-concrete sub floor on top of any other sub floor - it's an tear out.

Tile on drywall - depending on the layers and the ability to get the heat up. It's taken to dry standard. Vikings are typically used on the backside of the wall with a tented dehumidfier on the tile wall.

Typically with my meter (non-invasive Flir MR77) I go on the following dry standard for my area.
8%-11% on drywall
15%-18% for plywood
30%-35% for concrete

Tile removal around my area 9 out of 10 times requires a lead abatement so adjusters push for in place drying when/if possible or an attempt made first (2 days if no change it's a tear)
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New Member
Apr 28, 2021
Real Name
Tim Kraus
Our washer over flowed in our tiled upstairs laundry room. A bit of water came down into the kitchen which dried after 2 days of fans. The flood service company is telling me we need to tear out the entire laundry room (cabinets and the floor) because the moisture readings are 35% on some of the tile around the washer.

Is this really needed? What is the real risk of mold under the tile? The house is 10 years old and there was a cement mud bed put under the tile. HELP!!