Tile grout [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Tile grout

09-23-2001, 09:54 AM
Dear John: Unfortunately for me, I had a contractor who tiled my bathroom with ceramic tile and didn't care who he hired to do it. The contractor was fired and I'm living with his botched tile job. For the most part, the tiles are straight, his grout job terrible. In some areas, the grout has cracked. I doubt very much any of the grout around the tub/shower has been sealed. Can I make a small amount of grout and go over the areas that have cracked? Should I seal the grout around the tub? What type of sealer should I use. Thank you.

Sponsored Links

John Bridge
09-23-2001, 01:32 PM
Hi Joyce,

I hate to answer questions with more questions, but I'm not quite sure what's going on here. Did he use standard wall tiles, you know, the four inch bathroom tiles that have been around forever? Or did he use something else that requires wide grout joints? What's behind the tiles?

I'm asking you these things because grout usually doesn't crack like that. I don't think that putting more grout on top is going to help.

Let us know, please.

Rob Z
09-23-2001, 02:28 PM
Hi Joyce

Is any of the cracking grout on the floor? If so, does the floor feel bouncy when you walk on it?


09-24-2001, 03:56 PM
My whole bathroom was demolished and redone. This included the installation of a new tub, toilet, exhaust fan, vanity, mirrors and tile. The subs the contractor hired were awful. The bathroom tile - instead of looking professionally done, looks like I did it (oh my lord). The walls are hardwall (plaster) and the floor tile is over cement. The wall tiles are approx. 8X9-1/2 (wide set)and the floor tile are approx. 13X13. In both cases, I believe he put an adhesive down first, positioned the tiles and then grouted them. The grout used on the wall was Super Tech dry set wall grout; on the floor, Super Tech Versa Tile floor grout. The floor does not feel spongy -- however, some of the grout has already chipped away. There are hairline cracks in a few places on the walls. I'm disappointed beyond belief, but after Sept. 11th, I feel petty to even think this way. Thanks for letting me vent.

09-24-2001, 04:00 PM
Did the guy lay the tile and grout on the same day?

John Bridge
09-24-2001, 05:23 PM

We're all devastated by what's happened, but life does indeed go on. Don't feel bad.

And another point. The guy who screwed up is your remodeler/contractor. It's his/her job to see that everything is done correctly, regardless of who actually does the work. I'd be holdin' his/her private parts to the fire right now.

Bri, Do you think maybe they used mastic and didn't allow it to dry?

Joyce, did the adhesive look like glue or cement?

09-24-2001, 07:08 PM
That's what I was thinking...sounds like shrink cracks on the walls...from the glue not being dry before grouting..as far as the floor goes...sounds like loose tile,wouldn't you say?

09-24-2001, 09:01 PM
Just curious but was the install subjected to foot traffic, other construction, or general use too soon after the setting/grouting?

This could also affect the grout as it dried. I guess if the grout was mixed too wet it could also shrink and crack as mentioned earlier


09-24-2001, 09:06 PM

That's what I suspect is the problem with the wall grout too.

Bud Cline
09-24-2001, 09:12 PM
Joyce, All kinds of technical questions would have to be answered before a genuine determination could be made. I don't think the brands used are a concern at all.

8" X 9 1/2" wall tiles would probably cause an experienced installer to use a larger trowel notch than used with smaller tiles. This would then require more drying (curing) time if a wall mastic (adhesive) was used. For example, if the wall tile was set one day (with mastic) and grouted the next day, this would be a no-no. Wall mastic must have sufficient time to cure. If too much is used it may never cure properly. This would cause grout to crack.

The grout on the floors (and all grouts) should be mixed according to the manufacturers recommendations. Grouts mixed too thin (wet) will be weak and not last long. I have known installers that mix grout like soup to make the installation easier. Bad deal!

Rob Z
09-24-2001, 10:19 PM

There is a lot of good advice here, but without seeing the installation, we won't exactly know what is wrong.

Your contractor, acting as a general contractor, has the responsibility to keep your best interests in mind when hiring the subs to do the work. What is your relationship with the general contractor? Have you asked that he come back to your house to discuss these concerns with you?

As John said, let's try to hold his feet to the fire to get some results. What state do you live in? Here in VA, there would be some hope to go through the licensing authority in Richmond to get some action.


09-25-2001, 06:17 PM
Thank you all for your replies. I terminated any relationship I had with this contractor by firing him. I hope to never speak or hear from him again. Because I held back a significant portion of the contract price, I was able to hire someone else to complete the job. The tiles were put up, very quickly, by the first contractor. Portions would be glued (don't know by what material) and then grouted immediately thereafter. I trusted this man to hire the proper subs to do a professional job -- and I was at work for most of this process. You are all probably correct when you say that there was little or no drying time -- he was that incompetent. I am a New Yorker and know he can be reported to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs. However, that would have meant stopping the job entirely so that an inspector could be sent (and in NY that could take some time. Because I held back money, I decided to hire the second guy. Anyway, assuming it was mastic that wasn't allowed to dry before the tiles were grouted, would I still be able to regrout the hairline cracks. I appreciate the information and thank you again.

John Bridge
09-25-2001, 06:25 PM

Down here we used to make jokes about New Yorkers. Not now . . . not for a while, anyway.

It won't hurt to try grouting over the old grout. The worst that can happen is that it won't work. Try a small area. Dampen the existing grout (just damp, not wet). Apply the grout, let is stand a couple minutes and wipe it with a damp sponge (wet sponge, but completely wrung out).

See what happens. No way to get us a picture? A picture is worth a thou . . . you know.