Cracked grout around drain in new shower [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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05-28-2019, 11:13 PM
Hey all, I am at my wits’ end with this shower and would love any thoughts on how to find a solution.

My house has a bathroom on the first floor (above a basement) with a tiled walk-in shower. From the time I bought the house in 2015, the shower had mold at the joint between shower floor and shower wall, especially in the corners. In 2018, water started dripping into the basement below the shower after we used the shower. There was also a foul sulphur smell coming from the shower, and there was always standing water around the drain, which stuck up above the tile about 1/8”. I hated the tile, and there were lots of other problems in the bathroom, so I hired a contractor to do a total tear-out and rebuild of the entire bathroom, shower included.

During demolition, the contractor found a lot of standing water all around the shower and determined the shower pan had failed. (We had originally wanted to move the shower, but for some reason, the drain pipe below the shower was encased in concrete. My house was built in 1930 so a lot of its construction is a mystery. So the drain pipe and shower stayed where they were.) My contractor assured me that with a new shower pan and membrane, though, we wouldn’t have the same mold and leak problems. I’m not entirely sure how he rebuilt the shower, but I know he used something bright pink that had to cure for 3 days to do the waterproofing. The tile is 2” ceramic hexagons with power grout.

The remodel finished about a month ago and everything was dandy until today, when the shower drain started to back up and water accumulated in the shower. I also noticed for the first time today that there are cracks in the grout on the shower floor, beginning at the drain and running to the corner of the shower, and up the wall. Incidentally... this is the same corner where we had the most severe mold problems before.

So... help? Is this a drain problem or a shower construction problem? And does it sound like the same problem we had before, or a different one? Who should I talk to about fixing it?


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Tool Guy - Kg
05-29-2019, 12:41 AM
Welcome to the forum, Kelly! :wave:

I need to go skiing in Wyoming, but I suppose you didn't come here to talk about that, eh? :D

Okay, that diagonal crack in the floor tile is worrysome. It indicates way too much movement/way too little support. And in most cases, it means much more than simply regrouting it.

It's time to call the contractor to ask what method of shower construction they used. There are a ton of approved methods of shower construction and they all have a really good track record. There are tons of methods listed in the TCNA Handbook (what is considered the Bible of the tile industry)...and there are a bunch of manufacturer-specific methods. So, armed with info you get from your contractor, we can start comparing what was done versus what the tile industry considers "approved" in an effort to locate the deficiency.

By any chance, do you have any progress pictures?


05-29-2019, 01:44 AM
Did he replace any of the subfloor, or was any of it water-damaged?

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
05-29-2019, 09:47 AM
The crack could be from the drypack (concrete stuff) not being thick enough. It could also be that there is too much movement in the wood underneath- maybe from previous damage.

But the crack is a problem because that means that the pink stuff (waterproofing) is under stress and it may be cracked too. That's a big problem. And who knows how many coats he put down (supposed to be two) and if it was flood tested for leaks prior to tiling.

In summary, it needs to be fixed and I don't see it being a simple and pain-free process. :(