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Reachingforhelp 03-02-2019 08:26 PM

Looking for help
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I really don't know where else to turn. Had a shower install "done" in the last couple of weeks and long story short it took them about a month to complete. I have been noticing some things of concern. The grout along the bottom of the tub and on the outside of the shower seems to be darker because it is wet. It looks like the picture even after 24 hours. I have also been doing research and maybe the concrete board wasn't sealed and maybe should have been. I guess I am asking if someone might have a suggestion if this is normal for the grout or if it is because it isn't sealed behind is why it looks like there is cracks and holes.

Kman 03-02-2019 08:46 PM

Welcome to the forum, Suzy. :)I'm having a hard time figuring out what three of those pictures are. I see the one of Durock on the walls, but the others are so close up I can't tell what they are.

Maybe a wide shot followed by a close up of the areas of concern, along with a brief description of each one would help.

Also, any information you can give us about how it was constructed will be helpful.

Reachingforhelp 03-02-2019 08:55 PM

3 Attachment(s)
The top left is the grout fill that the contractor put in on the left side of the outside of the shower. Bottom left and right are where the tub connects to the grout on the outside. I noticed the discoloration. The bottom left of the outside of the shower area where the tub connects also has no grout or it has crumbled.

Reachingforhelp 03-02-2019 09:22 PM

As far as construction it was the Durock, thinset, tiles and then unsanded grout with sealant mixed in (according to the contractor). The shower frame looks attached with the items included with the kit but filled with same grout and caulking because there is a lip around the tub.

Kman 03-02-2019 09:26 PM

Okay, it looks like you're referring to caulking, rather than grout. Is that correct?

If so, he did an exceptionally bad job of caulking.

I don't see anything in the last picture at the tub/tile juncture. Maybe it's there and I just can't see it in the picture. There are different schools of thought on whether that juncture should be caulked or left open.

I'll try to look at your pictures on my desktop rather than my phone. Maybe it'll be clearer what you have there.

Reachingforhelp 03-02-2019 09:32 PM

Main concern is the grout looking wet around the bottom bleeding to the outside. We've seen it go from light to dark and back but takes more than 24 hours for it to correct itself. As for caulk it does look pretty bad. Another concern is the grout around the shower frame itself should there possibly be another material they should have used since it is already cracking.

Kman 03-02-2019 10:28 PM

Okay, I missed post #4 earlier, and looking at it on the desktop I think I see your problem(s).

Am I correct that there was a large gap between the uprights of the shower door frame, and the face of the tile, and that gap was filled with unsanded grout? That's what it appears to be from your pictures.

So, here's my assessment: If in fact there was no moisture barrier, either in the form of plastic or roofing felt behind the Durock, or on the face of the Durock such as a liquid or sheet membrane, then that's a mistake. There should be something besides Durock, tile, and grout to stop moisture from getting into the interior of the walls.

I've done demolitions where there wasn't any infiltration of water in those types of installations, and I've seen some where there was. There's no way to tell if you'll be one of the lucky ones or not. That's why it's best to be safe and install a moisture barrier. The cheapest one is either four or six-mil plastic behind the Durock directly on the studs. Cost: <$20

The other issue you have is the unsanded grout that was used. It's only supposed to be used in joints that are 1/8" or less, otherwise it cracks terribly and starts falling out of the joint. In your case, it appears it was used on a joint that was 1/2" to 1" wide between the tile and door frame. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it's not already cracked.

But the fact that it was used for that purpose at all is really laughable. Even if it was sanded grout, it would look terrible. There are other ways to address the issue without filling that joint with grout. The water you see coming through the grout is going to continue to come through there because it's going to wick out every time the shower is used. It's going to take a long time to dry because the grout is so thick at that point.

So, what is the distance between the tile and the door frame?

Reachingforhelp 03-02-2019 11:01 PM

No worries Kevin I appreciate the feedback. You've already helped me more than I have gotten by trying to research myself, knowing it is not a one size fits all. Yes the large gap which is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch was filled with unsanded. It appears that some of it may be cracking. This job was finished 2 weeks ago. Do you have a suggestion on what might be better to fill the space? Also what we might do to savage the work that has already been paid on the walls themselves? Also, would it be best to take that bottom line of grout out from above the tub then?

Kman 03-03-2019 12:27 AM


Originally Posted by Suzy
Do you have a suggestion on what might be better to fill the space?

Instead of focusing on filling that gap, I would have modified the door frame uprights to set against the tile. Cutting the outside bottom of each upright to fit over the tub ledge would solve that problem. Of course, I can't tell from your pictures if that's actually possible, since I can't see exactly how the frame is made. If it's an "I" post, it's very possible.


Originally Posted by Suzy
Also what we might do to savage the work that has already been paid on the walls themselves?

Not much you can do to fix the problem without a complete demolition. As mentioned earlier, sometimes those tub/tile showers survive without any water intrusion into the walls. I just tore one out two weeks ago that was slate tile over bare sheetrock. There wasn't a bit of water damage, even to the sheetrock. One thing in your favor is that it's a tub/shower rather than a full tile shower. Most of the time water damage occurs over horizontal surfaces (like the floor, the bottom of a niche, a seat, or a pony wall, none of which you have) and in the lower three feet of the walls. The tub here works in your favor.

The only thing I would suggest is that after each use, wipe down the walls from eye level down to the tub. Keeping excess water from dwelling on the walls will lessen the chance that it'll get past the tile and Durock and into the walls. It'll also greatly help with cleaning your shower.


Originally Posted by Suzy
Also, would it be best to take that bottom line of grout out from above the tub then?

Yes, it serves no purpose except to crack and fall out, and eventually clog your drain. ;)

I'd just leave it open. If you caulk it, you run the risk of trapping water behind it where it can't dry out as quickly. In your case, the faster it dries out, the better. And if you take my earlier suggestion, you'll be towel-drying that joint after every use, correct?

Someone else that's not an insomniac might come along during normal hours in the morning and have some other suggestions for you. :)

ss3964spd 03-03-2019 06:51 AM


Regarding that bottom row of tile, just above the tub. Do you know if there is another "lip" or "flange" of the tub that the tile is covering?

It kind of looks like there isn't. That the tile is set just above the lip/flange we can see. If there is no other lip/flange behind the tile, and with no caulk, or even grout in that joint, I'd think there's going to be a lot of water getting into that joint.

If you know the make and model of the tub you can probably find pictures and specifications for it online.

Reachingforhelp 03-03-2019 08:34 AM

Kevin thanks for the help, I appreciate the time and help you've taken with me.

Dan as for a lip or a flange it might be 1/4" at most. If not the Durock would be right on top of it.

Reachingforhelp 03-03-2019 08:39 AM

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Looking at some early pictures the tub was installed then the Durock on top of the lip or flanges. Sorry I am on a mobile phone and it's been hard lol. There is also a lip around the tub itself that sticks out as well. Which I think moisture is just sitting on.

rmckee84 03-03-2019 01:13 PM

I think you're right Suzy, it looks like that little ledge is probably part of the reason you're seeing moisture along that edge.

In your first set of pics it almost looks like the durock was taped with paper tape and it looks like drywall mud on the seams. I hope I'm wrong but it looks that way...

You could remove the grout around the lip but I suspect that wont fix your issues, I fear they go much deeper than that. It looks like your installer may have been in over his head.

Tiger Mountain Tile Inc 03-03-2019 01:22 PM

That's an odd tub. I'm wondering if that used to have a fiberglass surround that went around it?

Kman 03-03-2019 01:46 PM

The one I just tore out was very similar. The sides and back are a little higher than the front. The one I saw was even more so. Doing an identical one in the same house next week.

There's a ledge of sorts, what the bottom of the tile sits on, and then a flange behind it.

When I go back I'll see if I can get a picture. It's still sitting there in two pieces.

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