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Smitty1328
12-25-2016, 11:17 PM
Looking for advise on a grout for my master bathroom shower floor only as well as the shower walls on a tub/shower combo in a guest bathroom. I am currently having a shower floor redone after 5 years due to some issues with efflorescence that I was unable to remove. I originally had the contractor use polyblend sanded light smoke grout. I believe it didn't get properly sealed after install and I ran into some issues with the efflorescence. The floor is a polished marble so I am limited on cleaning products. Additionally we have concerns that maybe the floor install under the tile was not done correctly the first time so we are having it redone.

After doing some research I came across Pro Fusion and Mapei Flexcolor CQ. Both appealed to me since both have a built in sealer and stain protection. I just am trying to avoid the same issues with the efflorescence happening again. We have a very good contractor now that is comfortable using most grouts out on the market. I have read a bunch of reviews that are very mixed about the Pro Fusion. I was leaning toward Pro Fusion for the master floor shower so that the color matches the original shower wall grout. I do however want to use whatever is going to hold up.

Would appreciate any feedback on positive or negative experiences with either of these or any other recommendations. Thanks in advance.

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cx
12-25-2016, 11:32 PM
Welcome, Steve. :)

Go to the Advanced Search feature and type in Fusion Pro or/and Flexcolor CQ and limit your search to the Professionals' Hangout and you'll find a long discussion about each of those products to get you started.

Tool Guy - Kg
12-25-2016, 11:34 PM
Welcome to the forum, Steve. :wave:

Efflorescence isn't related to a sealing problem. It's usually moisture coming from the wrong direction problem. You say you're re-doing the shower floor after 5 years. Just hiw much are you re-doing? Just the grout, the whole pan, waterproofing and Ali? ...or???

:)

Smitty1328
12-25-2016, 11:56 PM
Thank you both for the warm welcome. Sorry I should have been more specific. We are having the tile portion of the floor taken out as well as the first row of tiles closet to the floor. Our contractor suggested redoing the floor with a schluter system for the floor. The original floor is not sloped correctly as an additional issue. The original contractor also did the wall tile and then the floor which caused about a 1" grout line betweem the floor and the wall. I am
not very handy in general and didn't know any of this was incorrect until we started seeing efflorescence showing up and consulted with our current tile contractor who has done great work for us since our experience with the contractor that did our shower originally.

Tool Guy - Kg
12-26-2016, 12:02 AM
Hi Steve,

The Schluter system you speak of sounds like Kerdi waterproofing. But it's a system that unifies the drain, floor, and wall waterproofing into one continuous barrier. What's the plan to unify the drain & floor to the wall if you're not replacing the walls? :scratch:

Any idea how the walls were built and/or waterproofed?

:)

cx
12-26-2016, 12:05 AM
If by "schluter system" your contractor is suggesting a Kerdi receptor you might wanna ask him how he would intend to tie that in with the existing wall waterproofing you have, if indeed you have any.

Doing a pan-only repair on a shower is generally considered a temporary measure to buy time to facilitate a complete replacement of the shower.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Smitty1328
12-26-2016, 12:34 AM
These sound like good questions none of which I have answers for currently. I will have to ask my current contractor. I am trying to remember back to when the shower was originally installed and remember what I saw. I don't believe there is anything under the tile other than the board I think that is called the hardy backer but I could be wrong.

After reading some on the internet I thought the efflorescence in the photo was from water getting under the floor tiles and the minerals being brought back up from the Portland cement in the grout. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to proceed as I am sure you all can see my knowledge in this area is limited. I was mostly just trusting my tile contractor that we have been very happy with to fix it for us correctly.

Smitty1328
12-26-2016, 12:51 AM
This was a photo I took when it was being done. Not sure if this helps. I am going to call the contractor tomorrow, but in yalls opinion what would be the benefit if any to installing the floor portion only of the Kerdi system as opposed to the other method? I would think there is some benefit if he suggested it.

Dave Gobis
12-26-2016, 08:32 AM
There is no benefit in using part of a system and in your case it may even compound the previous issue. I also don't think your grout selection is going to help. Pretty unlikely the grout was the cause of the problem.

Smitty1328
12-26-2016, 09:27 AM
What was the cause of the efflorescence issue and how can I fix it?

Davy
12-26-2016, 09:28 AM
Steve, in the system you have, there should be two mud beds, one under the pan liner and another one above the liner. The bottom mud bed gives the liner slope so water can makes it's way thru the mudbed and into the weepholes in the drain. Sounds like your first installer didn't install the first mud bed so the liner is sitting flat without slope. The saturated top mud bed can cause the efflorescence problems. This might be what your current installer is talking about when he said the floor wasn't sloped right.

I agree with the others, doesn't sound like a grout problem. Sounds more like the lack of a preslope under the pan liner. I understand why your installer wants to use Kerdi, it eliminates one of the mud beds but like the others said, Unless there is Kerdi on the walls, how does he tie it all together? And, what if you have no moisture barrier behind the wall tiles? We see this quite often.

Smitty1328
12-26-2016, 09:47 AM
Thank you Davy for the reply. The floor is sloped but I think my current installer was saying it was not all sloped correctly in that some of the floor does not slope toward the drain as it should. I remember the past installer during some portion of the pre tile portion of the floor install letting something dry over night.
Is the only answer to the efflorescence problem that the floor was not installed correctly? Assuming I have no moisture barrier on the walls will the Kurdi floor he is talking about going to hurt things and should I ask him just to install the traditional two bed system? Should I have the whole shower redone to correct the wall moisture proofing assuming there is none? How do I know if there is wall moisture proofing or not. The past installer moved out of state so I have no way to ask.
I was thinking of the grout was not sealed properly the water was getting into the grout lines and into the first mud bed and not draining properly causing the minerals to come back through to the top of the grout. I was also told clogged weepholes could be a problem.

Davy
12-26-2016, 10:01 AM
All we can do is go off of past experience, we can't guarantee there is no preslope under the liner. Maybe there is a preslope and the weepholes are clogged with mud. The weepholes should be protected to keep them clear when the mudbed is installed. Maybe he used concrete for the top mud bed instead of dry pack. Water can't flow thru concrete like it does thru dry pack, which he should have used. So, there could be other issues that can cause standing water on the liner other than the lack of a preslope. We just see a lot of showers installed without preslopes so that would be my first guess.

We also see a lot of showers that have no moisture barrier on the walls. Many installers don't think it's necessary. If your installer is going to remove the floor and bottom section of the walls, he should be able to see if there's a barrier on the walls.

The first thing I would do is start asking your installer questions. There are a lot of installers that do nice work that don't install moisture barriers in their showers. Pretty tile work has nothing to do with the water proofing. That's all behind the tiles. I would make sure he agrees that the shower needs a moisture barrier. I can't help but wonder why he hasn't already told you the things we've been saying.

Smitty1328
12-26-2016, 10:21 AM
I am guessing there is probably no moisture barrier on the walls especially if you all see it commonly not being done. I am not sure we can afford to redo the whole shower at this point. We also have frameless glass that was pricey and I would be concerned about it fitting back the same way after a completely new install.
Based on all the responses it appears the efflorescence is going to be caused by something with the floor not being done correctly the first time. Assuming there is no moisture barrier on the walls and that I can't afford to rip out the whole shower should I have the traditional two bed method done or use the kerdi floor system? I greatly appreciate everyone's responses and anything else you might suggest before I have this work done.

Davy
12-26-2016, 10:41 AM
If the installer is told ahead of time that you want to reuse the glass, he should be able to build the shower back the same dimensions.

Since the shower isn't leaking, I would deal with the efflorescence for now and plan on replacing the shower within the next year or so. Most of the time and work is in the floor and curb. If you're going to replace that part, I'd do the whole thing.

Another thing, if you do decide to have your installer replace the floor and pan liner, the liner wraps over the curb so it would need to be redone too. If he doesn't plan to redo the curb too, find a new tileman.
Your fist pic shows a mud curb, which is the correct way to do it. If you go back with a traditional pan liner method, make sure they go back with a mud curb. Ask your tileman how he does his curbs. If he plans to nail/screw any kind of board to the curb poking holes in the liner, find another guy.

Davy
12-26-2016, 10:49 AM
You might want to do a little homework and look at the "shower construction info" thread in the liberry. Good info there with lots of pics. :)

Smitty1328
12-26-2016, 12:50 PM
Yes it seems I am not very knowledgeable. I got on the forum to try and decide on grout and ended up finding out my shower is potentially built all wrong. :(
I am going to check that section of the forum that you mentioned. Does the moisture barrier go on all walls regardless if they are exterior walls or not?

cx
12-26-2016, 01:28 PM
Yes, unless you intend to apply a direct bonded waterproofing membrane to the inside of the shower walls.

Houston Remodeler
12-26-2016, 06:16 PM
To be extra clear, what CX means - the normal non shower area moisture barrier that gets installed atop the insulation and the studs. You do not want a double layer behind the wet areas of the tiles thus when installing a surface applied membrane in a wet area, we do not install the typical moisture barrier for the insulation.

BUT when using a subsurface moisture barrier, that very same moisture barrier for the insulation is the moisture barrier for the shower. That moisture barrier gets tucked into the shower liner, or over the tub tile ledge.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
12-26-2016, 07:55 PM
There should be a piece of hardibacker on top of that wall and waterproofing over it before the tile on the back wall ever goes up. It would need to flash up the wall where that tile is.

191458

Smitty1328
01-04-2017, 08:58 PM
Additional pics of efflorescence on floor.

MAPEI - Technical Service
01-05-2017, 09:01 AM
The white material does appear to be efflorescence (although it could also be soap residue or hard water deposits). If it is efflorescence, minerals are migrating from somewhere below the grout. Unfortunately, identifying exactly where they are coming from is difficult and will determine the scope of the repairs. Because it seems confined to the perimeter, it's quite likely that the source of any minerals would be from the walls above migrating to the floor and then having nowhere to go but out through the grout joint.

To answer your original question, Flexcolor CQ would be a good choice once the shower has been properly waterproofed and pitched. Typically efflorescence is an issue in Portland-cement based grouts that have a much higher porosity than the ready-to-use grouts like Flexcolor. I would recommend pre-sealing the stone mosaics before grouting with any grout.

Good luck on your repair.

Smitty1328
01-06-2017, 03:20 PM
Dan,

Thanks for the reply. The photos are a little hard to see, but the white believed to be efflorescence is in the majority of the grout joints. The light in the shower made the photo not come out that good. The only place there really isn't any efflorescence at all is the first 3-4 inches closet to the wall with the fixtures. I also thought it might be soap scumb or hard water however I tried both the nano scrub and tile and grout clear that customs makes and neither did anything to it. They said if it was hard water or soap scumb then those should have taken care of it. After visiting extensively with Davy from the forum I think something in the floor install was done incorrectly. What sealer would you recommend for the shower floor?

Smitty1328
01-07-2017, 11:17 PM
Photos from tear out