How to Repair a Water Damaged Bathroom

Author: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Last Updated on

Water is the foundation of life, but too much of it inside your home can have many consequences. Burst pipes, faulty fixtures, leaky roofs and storm flooding are just a few of the things that can quickly turn your comfortable space into a major health hazard.

This is especially true in the bathroom where water flows every single day.

You may have an old toilet that leaks or a bathtub that doesn’t drain properly and not notice it for years.

Over time, even the smallest amount of water causes permanent damage and mold growth. Signs of hidden bathroom water damage may include a musty odor, visible mildew and warped flooring, baseboards and walls.

Mold hiding in your bathroom can cause a variety of health issues including throat, nose, eye and skin irritation. Mold-related illnesses can be as serious as long-term respiratory or gastrointestinal problems. In some cases, mold can even be deadly.

If your bathroom is water-damaged, it’s past time for a remodeling job. This isn’t a simple project, so where do you start with a bathroom renovation?

You begin with a thorough inspection.

Step 1: Mold Inspection and Remediation

bathroom mold

The first step before beginning your bathroom renovation should be a thorough inspection for mold. If you can detect mold growth in the bathroom by its musty odor or the stains it leaves on walls and surfaces, you can be sure the fungus is hiding somewhere behind your bathroom’s drywall or under the subfloor.

In-home tests can help you detect mold, but they aren’t 100 percent foolproof. If you suspect the water-damaged bathroom walls or flooring are hiding large mold infestations, it’s best to contact a certified mold remediation company and arrange for an inspection.

If the restoration contractor confirms the presence of mold, you can get to work on removal and remediation. However, handling this kind of work yourself can be a health hazard, and you can’t be sure of removing it all with DIY techniques.

Consider turning the job over to your restoration professionals. Their certified technicians have the skills and tools it takes to get the job done. Most importantly, you’re not putting yourself or your family’s health at risk.

Step 2: Prepare the Room

renovation materials

Once the mold has been removed, begin gathering materials and preparing the bathroom for renovation. Shut off your home’s main water valve to prevent further damage in case of a mishap while you’re working. Disconnect the toilet from the floor and the waterline.

With the toilet out of the way, you’ll have room to work removing other damaged items or fixtures that need replacing. This might include your cabinetry, tile or vinyl floor and wood subflooring.

Step 3: Start With the Drywall

bathroom drywall water damage

If water damage left the bathroom structurally compromised, your DIY project may turn into a job for a professional. However, if it only affects small portions of drywall, use a hammer and keyhole saw to remove damaged areas. Cut the drywall in a circular or rectangular shape so that it’s easier to patch.

Depending on the size of the area you’re working with, patch or replace the drywall. If you’re patching, use clips to hold new material in place, and secure with tape and joint compound. Once the compound dries, sand down the patch so that it’s flush with the surrounding drywall.

Now you’re ready to prime and paint over the repaired area. This might be a great opportunity to repaint the entire bathroom.

Step 4: Repair the Floor

bathroom floor water damage

After you’ve cleaned up debris from the drywall repair, you’re ready to move on to fixing the subfloor. If it’s wood, cut out damaged areas and nail down plywood replacement sheets. If you’re working with a concrete subflooring, apply a leveling compound where needed.

Always make sure your subfloor is completely dry before adding the top finish floor. Install vinyl by spreading adhesive and laying the flooring on top. Tile flooring requires a concrete board. After laying the tile and letting its thinset mortar dry, apply grout to the joints.

Step 5: Install the Fixtures

bathroom renovation

Once your walls and floors are complete, replace or install new cabinetry, the toilet and anything else you removed before the bathroom renovation. If you’ve always wanted new light fixtures or a new paint color, this is the perfect time to update the room’s looks.

Be sure to clean up all debris and address damp areas before you replace anything. Otherwise, you’ll end up in the same predicament in the near future.

If you enjoyed reading our article about repairing a water-damaged bathroom, share it with family and friends. It’s always our goal to give you information that can make big jobs around the house a little easier.