Back in the day, say 15-20 years ago when bathrooms were done they were built with drywall, yes, “regular” drywall and then just tiled directly on top of that.
They didn’t have the technology or knowledge that we do now to properly waterproof a bathroom. That, coupled with the fact that if it’s done incorrectly and the grout lines are to big or if there are any holes in the grout the water gets in behind said tile and to that “regular” drywall and as we know “regular” drywall and water don’t mix. It starts to mush and will create black mold. So when you’re trying to clean your dirty grout lines and they’re not cleaning or you try scrubbing the silicone around your tub the and it’s not going away and you’re wondering why, it’s because it’s not dirt. It’s actually mold.
Basically, you’re cleaning your body surrounded by mold. And that’s nasty. It’s time to renovate your bathroom. Sometimes you’ll notice if the caulking is peeling away from the tub or around the corners of your shower then you can knife out that caulking and replace it with new silicone to keep everything water tight. This way, water isn't getting behind your tiles and creating mold. If you notice that your grout is starting to come out in spots then you might want to throw some grout into those areas as well.
When you want to change out or reno your bathroom, the other part of this is esthetics. First off, if you walk into your bathroom and you can tell it’s from a different era, it’s probably time to renovate your bathroom.
In some cases, tiles are timeless. And some tiles are very very dated. Very dated. When you have a random floral tile stuck intermittently throughout your shower. It’s time to change your shower. Don’t wait. You’re in denial - you need new tiles. End of story.
We know this for many different reasons. The main one being that if you have mold everywhere, it’s definitely time for a change. Not to mention how dangerous it can be! You don’t want to be breathing that in. It’s also important to keep up with maintenance of your kitchens and bathrooms. Whenever you’re dealing with water, you don’t want really old toilets and vanities sticking around for too long. Eventually they leak, It’s just a fact of time. If there is a question of any leak, It’s worth looking into.
It probably goes without saying but If you can push on your tile walls and they move then it’s time for them to come down. Because they will come down very easily. Very easily! We have a video on our instagram of a bathroom reno earlier this year where you can see the walls move when you press on them. It was kind of alarming how easily the tiles and drywall came off the wall. It was basically ready to go at any moment. It was so bad we were able to pull it off with two fingers and the drywall came off no problem. That was a good lesson in expiration dates.
The new products that are out that contractors are using to waterproof showers are above and beyond what they were before. There’s KERDI which is a great product to water seal your showers. There is another one called WEDI BOARD that Bryan Baeumler endorses and is similar to KERDI.
Sometimes they’ll even just use concrete board instead of drywall. Then you have RED GARD which is kind of like a rubber red membrane in which you can put over all your joints to create a perfect wate