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Old 05-22-2007, 01:00 PM   #1
jenni07
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bad tile job or tub settling?

Seven months ago we had a leak in our bathtub. The faucet was leaking into the wall on the other side of the bathroom. The maintenance people tore out the tile and sheet rock around the faucet and about a foot up the side wall. They put in a new faucet, sheetrock and tile. since then, the tile has started coming up from the wall. the sheetrock underneath is soggy and moldy. The explanation given by the maintenance people is that, due to a wetter that average winter, the ground has shifted, causing the tub to settle and slant toward the wall, creating a gap in the grout and allowing water to go in. I talked to my dad about this (he has many years of experience with construction) and he says that it is very difficult, if not impossible to get new grout to stick to old grout and to seal tightly. He also said that if the ground settled enough to cause gaps in the grout, that we would have new cracks all over our walls. (The only problem we have is a bedroom door that sticks a little.) I used a level on the tub and it is very slightly off center. what do you think? Did the tub settle or was the tile not done right?
The maintence people and the owner are planning to tear out the old tile and sheetrock, re-set the bathtub, and put up a tub surround (not tile). Is it necessary to reset the tub? What should they use behind the tub surround, sheetrock, greenboard, or cement board?
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Old 05-22-2007, 01:13 PM   #2
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Hi jenni. First of all we have to figure out a few more details on exactly what you have there. A picture would really help.

In the absence of that, is this a 3-wall alcove tub and does it have a nailing flange along those three wall sides, allowing it to be fastened to the studs? Is it also a shower? And finally in the way of verification, there is sheetrock on all the walls adjacent to this tub, that right? If so, does it happen to be what is often called Greenboard?

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Old 05-22-2007, 01:54 PM   #3
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Im not sure what you mean by 3-wall alcove tub. If it is what I think it is, yes, thats what we have. It's just a normal tub that reaches from one wall to the other wall. I can't tell if it has a nailing flange. I tried to send some pictures but it wouldn't work. The whole bathroom, as far as I can tell was done with regular sheetrock, not greenboard. It was built in 1975. I noticed that the new tiile is separating from the old tile and that there are gaps in the grout. Many tiles have fallen off.
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:26 PM   #4
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Is it a combo tub/shower unit?

Last edited by Mike2; 05-23-2007 at 08:39 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:57 PM   #5
jenni07
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It is not all one piece if that's what you mean. we have a tub and shower.
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:32 PM   #6
Davestone
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Now that you have 3 posts you can post a picture.
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:47 PM   #7
jenni07
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Here are some pictures. I hope this works.
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:53 PM   #8
Davestone
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Definitely not atmosphere moisture.You've probaly still got a leak, or it's sucking up water from the drip edge at the lip of the tub.Definitely not the right wallboard, and looks like mastic.If you're not putting tile in, then use whatever the new tub surround manuf. recommends,but be sure to check for leaks, and remove all moldy substances.
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:40 AM   #9
jenni07
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Ok. What do you think caused this to happen? Bad tile job? The tub settling and creating a gap? The maintenance people did the same thing on my neighbor's unit and I don't want them to have the same problem that we do.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:07 AM   #10
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Jenni, what I'm trying to determine is if you can also take a shower while standing inside this bathtub. Thus, a combination shower and bathtub. The middle two pictures you've posted seem to show a shower curtain and maybe a portion of hose leading to a shower hand-hold sprayer.

Sheetrock is not the right substrate to use as a setting surface for tile inside a shower. Sheetrock will fail because tile and grout alone will not create a waterproof surface.

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Old 05-24-2007, 08:48 PM   #11
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Okay, thats what I thought. Yes we have a shower/bathtub combination and we do have a shower head with a hose.
When I saw that regular sheet rock was under the tile I thought that wasn't right. I have very little experience with construction, but I know that greenboard needs to be in bathrooms. I will let the owners of our building know what you said. It will save them alot of money if they do things the right way.
What do you think about the maintenance people's comment that the leak was caused by the tub "settling" and tilting back towards that wall? Do they really need to reset the bathrub?
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:53 PM   #12
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Greenboard is no longer recommended in the national codes. It may be still required by some local addendums to the codes, or they may not have updated their requirements. In a wet area, use cbu. In a dry area use drywall. A shower is considered wet. Greenboard is just drywall with a water resistant paper, but it is still basically paper and gypsum. If left standing in water, it will eventually degrade, where cbu won't. Plus, cbu isn't mold food, but drywall AND greenboard is.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:57 PM   #13
jenni07
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Ok. That makes sense. Thanks for the updated info. By cbu you mean concrete board right? I will pass on that information to our building owners. What do you think about "the tub settling" as an explanation?
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:31 PM   #14
jadnashua
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The only way a tub settles is if the subflooring is not prepared properly. Now, when you fill it with water and a person(s), the floor may deflect, but it will go back once you empty it. It isn't a bad idea to fill the tub before you caulk, but if the gap is large and growing, something else is wrong.

A tub also normally is required to have a ledger board installed along all edges to help support them. If it is a cast iron, then it is strong enough to support itself, although they often still use them to help lock it in place (not that you are going to move one of those much!). You can't "hang" the tub by the edges, but having the support under them keeps them from deflecting when they get pressed. Most tubs should be set in a rigid setting medium, deck mud, or some other setting type of material to support the bottom of the tub from deflecting. A fiberglass tub is probably the worst, since eventually, if it is not supported well, it will craze and could crack. In either case, it will begin to look lousy quickly, and never seem very firm (which it isn't).

CBU is the generic name (cementaeous backer unit) for cement board.
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:28 PM   #15
jenni07
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Okay. I would assume that the tub has been there for many years, probably since the building was built in the 70's so I'm sure the subfloor is fine. When the maintenance people repaired the wall and the tile, they didn't move the tub. So the problem wasn't caused by movement of the tub. I also didnt notice a gap between the bottom tile and the tub.
Am I right to assume that when the tile was installed, since regular sheetrock was used instead of cbu that when water was able to seep in, it ruined the sheetrock and caused the tiles to loosen? Is it true that it is very difficult, if not impossible to get a water tight seal if you try to put new grout on old grout? Do you think water started leaking in between the old tiles and the new tiles?
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