Should ceramic tile adhered to concrete slabs be removed after flooding to avoid potential mold problems?
Non-porous materials such as glass, masonry, ceramic tile, porcelain will not support mold growth or sustain significant damage from water. 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.
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.
Note: The use of biocides is optional and they should be applied with caution. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the container, wear rubber gloves, and use in a well ventilated area.