Grout/Repair issue [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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05-15-2006, 06:50 AM
My Brother - In - Law, after seeing my last bathroom project which you all helped me with, asked me to take a look at his shower project. He installed 1X1 inch tile sheets with an 1/8th grout line - for a tub surround/shower (I believe it is two years old). It looks like he did a by the book job with cement board etc, but he is having problems with his grout. When the grout gets wet it rubs off in your hand. From what I can tell only the side wall and back wall where water is coming in constant contact from showering is having the problem. The ceiling (also tiled) and front wall are fine. It also looks to me like he didn't do a great job of cleaning the grout lines after installation - in many places the grout seems to be above the tile (which may just be a result of it swelling with water.)

Here are my questions - is this related to improper sealing of the grout? Or is it more drastic such as improper mixing of the grout?

Also - since I will be fixing this - do I need to remove all the current grout, only the area affected? Or is there an easier/simpler solution?

thanks for all your help! :bow:

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Dave Taylor
05-15-2006, 07:18 AM
Better find out exactly what your bro-in-law used to stick them tiles on with... and later grout em with. Is any of the stuff he used a pre-mix product?

Post back when you kin identify brand names of the tile setting material and the grouting material bro-in-law worked with.

PS: And how wide his grout lines are and.... did he us sanded or un-sanded grout would be good to know.


05-15-2006, 09:01 AM
Here is what I got from him -

He used a pre-mixed acryillic?(sp) from the Home Depot - the grout lines are 1/8 inch

All products were purchased at the Home Depot

He believed that he bought sanded groutNOT PREMIXED (what ever the common brand for the HD is)

He used cement board - and compound jointed all the screw holes and joints.

He says he applied the combo tile/grout sealant recomended

that is about it :bow:

05-15-2006, 09:49 AM
If he used the pre-mixed mastic and it gets just a little wet it fails. So this is the first issue water has gotten on the mastic and everything in those areas is kaput.
Second. if they are 1/8" grout joints and he used sanded grout (it came in 25# bag?) the problem here is getting the sanded mixture into narrow joints. Unsanded is usually used for 1/8" or less grout joints, but with mosaic tile on sheets it is not uncommon to use a sanded grout. Hard to figure this one without seeting.
I'm also going to bet that when using the mastic there was many, many grout joints that were high and not much grout was forced into these joints and they would fail quickly which allowed the water to get onto the MASTIC hence the problem.
You mentioned he "compound jointed" the screw holes and seams. If he did in fact use wall board compound mud this was a problem also. As soon as he put the mastic over this stuff it turned soft from the mastic all of which prevented the mortar and grout from drying properly.
So Coach as I see it you have a lot of work in front of you. I would be taking it all down and starting over.

Dave Taylor
05-15-2006, 10:13 AM
I was a bit afraid to spring this on you myself.

In addition.... did bro-in-lay attach the cement board directly to studs or over some other wall board surface.... it should be attached directly to studs with a vapor barrier or covering membrane used. You may need to check this out also, Coach.

Good luck to you both.

05-15-2006, 11:11 AM
So basically, I need to order new tile - and redo all his work? According to him he used roofing felt on the enclosure before puting up the cement board. Should that be sufficient or do I need to go back and redo that? Since the ceiling tiles are fine no water contact - do I need to redo them as well?

I am not being paid so I want to limit my work/involvement.

Also why is this only affecting the grout? I tried to pry up a piece of tile and to no luck - I was afraid I was going to break it....

which is why I figured the issue was only with the grout.... but thanks all for your help.... I guess that if I need to pull everything up I will and then reinstall but I really don't want too..... :cry:

05-15-2006, 11:30 AM
If you feel that the tile are stuck to the walls real well you can just take the grout out and regrout. Heavy duty utility knife with lots of blades will probably be the quickest way to do it. Go slow enough that you are not letting the blade get out of the grout joint and mark tile.

05-15-2006, 11:36 AM
I will take some photos and try to pull a tile and see what I come up with.... thanks for the help - still does anyone have any idea why the grout is weeping?????

- I work for an Engineering school and I guess questioning why just falls all around me.

05-15-2006, 11:40 AM
It would seem to me that if a vapor barrier was installed, and grout and tile were put in correctly - mositure would have a difficult time / not be able to penetrate behind...... but then again I am an amature only hoping to obtain pro status some day. :shrug:

05-15-2006, 04:19 PM
The mastic, when it gets wet, might end up swelling a little and turning to mush. This could push the grout out of the joint. You may be able to peel the lower sheets of tile off of the wall. Those that are higher up and don't regularly get the full force of the shower are likely to remain attached and may not fail. If you told him to faithfully wipe the shower down after each shower to help it dry out once you reattach those loose areas with real thinset, it may last quite awhile. But, if he/they aren't likely to do that, it might be better to tear it out and start over. The cbu may remain intact. My guess is once you could get a putty knife under tiles on the lower side, they'll come off. The ceiling should be fine with the mastic, as would probably the top half of the shower except on the side opposite of the showerhead. The whole floor is likely to come up. If you could plug the drain and let water sit in it for a day or so, you could probably peel up the floor tile as well.

05-19-2006, 09:20 AM
So as per my earlier email - I began to take down the tile in the shower - which was a very difficult task. So instead of the tiles pealing up or haveing any semblance of water damage the acryllic seems to have bonded well - so well it is pulling up large chunks of the Cement board - an so far now I am going to have to replace the cement board as well as all the tile. Is this because of water seepage behind the tile or should that be what happens? I aksed my Brother in Law and apparently he had 60 days between the installation of the tile and grout - he then went back and removed all of the adhesive that pressed through the tile spaces (which seemed to me to be a horrible task)

So I need to know should I go ahead and remove the rest of the tile and cement board and start over or should I go ahead and remove the grout and replace the grout??

Thanks again for all your help.....

05-19-2006, 09:25 AM
Hi Paul,

I merged your latest grout question with your previous thread. It helps if all the questions and answers are in one thread for the same project. This helps folks understand what advice has already been given, etc.