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Old 02-26-2013, 08:34 AM   #1
Txstack
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Cracking Grout In Shower Corners

I'm a newbie to this great forum, having browsed extensively for advice as our bathroom remodels were being planned. Yall's advice has been great! I also have cracking in the corners, and where tile meets tub in my boy's newly tiled bath, completed in late November. There is no caulk there, so I obviously did not read enough of your posts to insist on that. I smelled a musty smell, which tipped me off to the problem. Should I have them remove the tiles closest to the cracks to inspect for damage/dry out before caulking? Once it's confirmed all is dry, should they re-grout, then caulk after new grout dries? I don't want to have to do this again. Thanks very much for your help.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:22 AM   #2
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Good morning Txstack and welcome to the forum.

It's not unusual for grout in changes of plane to crack and it does not necessarily mean there are larger problems with the tile. The musty smell is troubling though. Can you tell us a bit about how your surround was constructed?

After the grout is well dried you should be able to either use a color matched caulk (100% silicon) right over the changes in plane or dig out the cracked grout and replace with caulk. Unless there is a problem with the install it should not be necessary to remove tiles.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
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Hi Geoff, Thanks for the reply. The surround was constructed with a double layer of cement board with insulation behind that. Thinset was used to apply the tiles. I thought I would at least remove the cracked grout before the installer comes back to caulk so air could circulate behind the tiles. I imagine removing the tiles would damage the cement board. Wish I had Xray vision to see behind the tiles!
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:20 AM   #4
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Welcome, Sharla.

Without knowing anything at all about how your shower was constructed, especially the pan and water containment system, it's difficult to speculate about your "musty" smell, but there should be no such smell in a shower that new and it should have nothing at all to do with your cracked grout if the shower was otherwise properly constructed.

If you paid to have the shower built, though, you should not do anything at all with those cracked areas to be repaired. Anything you do will be considered the cause of any other potential problems you might discover later. The folks who constructed the shower should be doing all the repair work at this point.

I suspect the musty smell has a different origin. Do the floor tiles and grout joints dry uniformly after shower use?

Did you observe the shower pan being constructed?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:25 AM   #5
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Sharla -

Did you use any waterproofing system over the cement board?


*** I would also read CX's note above. He makes a great point about the contractor who did the work should be doing the repairs.
It would be best to remove the grout in the plane-changing areas prior to installing silicone. In doing so, you may be able to get down close enough to the floor in the corners to possibly allow some trapped water to flow out into your shower floor.

I am speaking from experience, as I have seen this firsthand. Just a thought - it would let you know if you have a moisture issue.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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This is actually a remodel of an existing tub/shower. All the old tile, insulation and sheet rock was removed, new insulation, cement board, and tile was installed. The old sheet rock was damp and had some mold, but the studs were fine. There was no waterproofing product applied to the cement board before install. I texted pics of the cracks to the installer, who will be returning to make repairs, but I want to make sure it's done correctly. I saw the websites with the 100% silicone caulk that can be color matched, and will buy that before he comes.
Thanks again y'all!!
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:43 AM   #7
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Sharla, if no moisture barrier was installed over the studs before the CBU was installed, nor any waterproofing membrane installed over the CBU after it was installed, you have a problem with the installation that goes well beyond the cracking grout. Unfortunately, the only repair for that situation is a complete do-over.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:44 PM   #8
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You shouldn't have a musty smell from one hairline corner crack after two months. It is common for cracking in the changes of plane as stated earlier, but I would be really curious of the musty smell. Maybe a p-trap issue? I would remove the old grout in the corner and replace it with a matching caulk.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:06 AM   #9
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Hi Sharla,

One more small point. If you do have the installer caulk the joints, stop using the shower about a week before that happens to make sure the joints are dry on the inside.
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