How can I repair this mysterious hole?
September 15, 2017 10:24 AM   Subscribe

The other day, I noticed that a small crater had mysteriously formed in one of the small tiles in my bathroom floor. It's a little bigger than a quarter and almost as large as the tile. You can see the tile at the bottom of this picture. The bath is a very small room designed as a wet room (fully tiled so the floor and walls doubles as the shower floor and walls, with a drain in the middle of the floor).

I have no idea what caused the hole; it looks like the stone was eaten away, but as far as I know, nothing has been on it other than shampoo, soap, and maybe moisturizer (most likely, coconut oil). There's heating under the tiles, which my landlords asked me to leave on all the time to help the floor dry quickly after showers.

Does anyone have any idea how this hole formed, so I can prevent it from happening to any other tiles? How can I repair it? I've refrained from showering so far because I'm concerned that it shouldn't get wet now that the top glaze is gone. The stone, or whatever I'm looking at in the hole, seems a little powdery. Is there any kind of coating that could protect it? At the top of the photo, you can see another tile that seems to have been patched when the floor was installedā€”could I do something like that if I find the right stone, and how would I do that? Do I need to just notify the landlords and pay for a repair?

The whole thing is bothering more since I don't understand how it happened, and I try to take good care of the apartment. I noticed it the morning after I had a dream about melting permafrost, and it felt like a physical manifestation of my anxieties about the ground.
posted by pinochiette to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
Do I need to just notify the landlords and pay for a repair?
Yes you should notify them, no you should not pay for it. This is probably normal wear and tear.
posted by soelo at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

According to commenters here, slate tile (which this looks like to me) is a bad idea for bathrooms because it "reacts to certain chemicals that can pit and get under the layers - some cleaning products will just trash it! Also, moisture can get under the thin layers and make it flake up and peel."

I'm not sure why you think you're responsible for this or will have to pay for it! This is the whole point of renting - it's NOT your problem, it's the landlord's.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:10 AM on September 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

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