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01-04-2017, 10:51 AM
Had shower installed only months ago, now looking ugly. Looks like slate is bleeding color running down wall. Contractor trying to blame it on rust in water.191659

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01-04-2017, 11:10 AM
Sure looks like rust. If it were the slate, I'd imagine it would show beneath all the slate pieces in the area. I suppose it could be some stray steel in the mosaic, but can't say I've seen such.

Best guess is you have something producing rust at that point in the wall itself. Can you describe how shower was constructed? Construction progress photos would be even mo' betta.

01-04-2017, 04:54 PM
191681There is another spot where it looks like the color has bled into the grout or rust has spread or whatever, it's not as big or bad. It is higher on the wall and probably doesn't get as much water splashed on it. There is no drip and water that get's on it is just what is splashed off person taking shower. Lived in house 22 yrs never have had rusty water show up in toilet bowls or tanks, sinks, tubs, anywhere.
Don't have progress pictures. All new down to studs. Old shower torn out plumbling rerouted.
Thought they sealled all seams and screws in backerboard.

01-04-2017, 05:38 PM
Hmmmm, that's a puzzle, Alan. If you have some mosaic scraps, you could dunk them and see if the stone produces similar. "Slate" covers a lot of ground in the stone world, could be high iron content in the stone itself, I suppose..

Other thought would be drywall screws used on backer which have a high carbon content and will rust quickly in the alkaline environment the backer presents.

Perhaps you remember seeing if plastic or building paper used behind backer against studs? I'm fishing for construction details. New from studs really doesn't tell us much. There's more than a few ways to build showers well and unfortunately many more to do them wrong.

01-04-2017, 05:52 PM
I don't remember any plastic or paper between the backer board and the studs, but not sure. They sealled the backerboard seams and covered screws with something pink that I guess was suppose to waterproof them. I'm sorry I don't know more about construction, but that's why I hired a contractor. The grout was suppose to be stufff that wouldn't stain and didn't need sealling, so they didn't seal anything if that would make a difference.

01-04-2017, 08:31 PM
Alan, that pink stuff was probably RedGard and the whole surface should have been covered per Custom's recommended practice. Why installers spot it the way you described is a mystery. Perhaps they can't read. Better than nothing I suppose, but isn't doing the job it was intended to do.

If you want to experiment I'd test the stone first, but I don't think I'd let the contractor off the hook just yet.

01-04-2017, 08:42 PM
I've installed Chinese slate that had rust on the surface. We installed it on several balconies and once it got rained on, the rust would bleed into the grout joints. Is it possible that's what is happening in your shower?

I would scratch the surface on a few of the slate pieces to see if the rusty color will come off.

01-04-2017, 10:05 PM
I installed multi color slate in a tub surround at one of my previous houses, I had a spot where the grout did the same thing. I agree with the high mineral content theory.

01-05-2017, 09:13 AM
Who/How would I test the stone? I'd like to get a neutral oppinion. I think the contractor has already made up his mind that rust in my water is the cause just by looking at these same pictures even though there is no other rust showing up in this 45yr old house. Why would the supplier not agree with him as that gets them both off the hook?

Dave Gobis
01-05-2017, 09:19 AM
I think it could also potentially be the fasteners. I have been on similar complaints where phosphate screws were used.

01-05-2017, 09:39 AM
Alan, as far as a neutral opinion, I suppose you could hire another contractor or Dave Gobis, assuming you don't want to do the sleuthing yourself.

Here's something that might be informative. If you can get your hands on a strong neodymium magnet you could skate it over obvious points of discoloration. If there are screws in close proximity, it will find them. If that proves fruitless, I'd turn to trying to duplicate with tile samples.

I agree with you, that doesn't look like a rusty water problem, it wouldn't be localized like it is. My guess is your contractor knows that, but may wish to shift responsibility, which is unfortunately all too common. Do you know who his supplier was for the tile?

01-05-2017, 10:19 AM
Supplier was Interceramic. I talked to them, they said that the contractor would have to contact his sales rep to initiate a process of investigation. I am just trying to maybe get my 2nd opinion first and learn as much as I can so I can recognize a line of bs should they give me one. I don't have any left over scraps of material to test, not sure how to test the stuff on the wall. After a shower once the wife decided to wipe the wall dry to maybe keep the stain from increasing. They grey tile below the red one flaked off very easily. Squish between your fingers it would just dissolve 191709


01-05-2017, 10:55 AM
IMO,it's iron oxide,within the slate layers. Like Davy,I too have seen it on the surface,and layers of certain slate products. Ive never seen it personally,the effects of such in a shower surrounding.

All that being said,I've never been fond of slate,from a wear n tear perspective(soft layered material being exposed to elements). I do like how the surface looks,when reflecting multiple colors/shades etc.

01-05-2017, 11:00 AM
I think the possibilities have been described as best we can without being there. I can send you a magnet if you like. Fairly easy to source locally too, I imagine. Where are you?

Your description of flaking stone would seem to indicate an issue with the slate itself. By it's nature, I wouldn't describe slate as highly stable and depending on it's origin it can range into the not suitable for the installation category. With stone in general, you get what you get sometimes.

Interceramic is interested is selling goods and vetting the products they distribute would seem like a given, but I doubt it's done in many cases.

FWIW, many pros here would advocate not using natural stone in a shower. The little bit in that mosaic may prove to be the hair that broke the back of your shower camel.

01-05-2017, 11:36 AM
I'm in Humble Tx. I can find a magnet. Like I said I don't know construction or materials. We thought we were getting a tile shower didn' t know there was slate in it until the problem arose. I thought it was just decorative tiles - that the contractor talked us into I might add. We had something differnt in mind and he sold us on this look. I do appreciate all the helpful advice.

01-05-2017, 12:50 PM
Should you need it, there's some knowledgeable Texas folks here on the forum who could possibly help.

Paul comes to mind, he posts as Houston Remodeler. CX is a Texan too, but I don't remember where he hails from.

You may want to be bracing for contentious situ with your contractor. I truly hope it doesn't come to that, but seems it's not all that uncommon, I'm sorry to say.

argile tile
01-05-2017, 11:34 PM
you will not know if you don't "take a peek" :)


i'm not a professional

my idea on ugly is: yes - however if you put a transition (which obviously they didn't) it will hide the stark lines that "just don't look right". what kind - well i'd ask a woman? i'm not too good with that.

it's from behind the grout. drywall compound will pull water into it, if put on a (moist) board that's (dirty) - it will turn tan - but stay white elsewhere on the board (where there is no moisture issue)

the color: could be from rusting screws or nails in backboard or really - anything else - like Dave Gobis said. above or below. how far above and do you have a leak in your roof or does someone leave a window open when it rains?

being in a bathroom, you may have moisture from behind the wall ejecting mid-way down and out. in that case the rust is higher. perhaps "vapors" (after shower, some water will evaporate and go up rather than down). i'm unsure if up vapors can carry rust can eject half way up a wall.

your tile guy may be deflecting blame it is rust in your water (you'll have to do something to prove or disprove it - if you have rust in your water). i would say - it's extremely improbably that a pattern apears on the level half way down a wall - over two surface - but no-wheres else due to rust in the water. the mechanics of water flow and vapor just don't seem to make that likely. ask your tiler for a pic or testimony of other homes only banded in that manner by rust in water.

water takes it course, and it should

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
01-06-2017, 08:02 AM
Rusty water is a convenient excuse for your contractor because it's the only option that gets him off the hook. More than likely it's either the slate or nails in the cbu.

Do you have any extra material or scraps that are not installed? You could soak them in water and if it rusts then you know it's not nails causing it. Then try soaking it in distilled water.

Houston Remodeler
01-06-2017, 08:06 AM
Humble uses the same water Houston does (we own the reservoir) We don't have high iron content.

My money is on a rusty drywall screw. If it were the fault of the water, there would be rust everywhere.

CX is way west of here. About 30 years west. :stick:

01-06-2017, 01:37 PM
Got a neodymium magnet -small one - and couldn't find anything anywhere on the wall with it. Tile too thick or magnet to weak don't know. Got a do-it-yourself water test for iron and it shows iron at <.3 for what that is worth. Interceramic did call me back yesterday - a surprise, I'd given up on getting a return call - and a representative is suppose to get with me to help determine the problem. Like I said earlier I'd just like to be as informed as possible.

01-07-2017, 12:39 PM
If it is the slate, maybe a penetrating sealer after letting the shower dry out for a few days would stop the bleeding.

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