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Unread 10-06-2007, 10:29 AM   #1
DaveSS
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Shower Grout and what to tell the Builder

Hello, I am in need of some advice. I have a tile shower that was evidently done with unsanded grout and it is cracking, leaking, and crumbling. This actually began with in the first 2 months of owning the brand new house.

So here is the specs as best as I can tell so far. The lines on the walls are 1/4inch (though there is a ledge that the glass is on that has lines of 1/2inch.) The lines on the floor are wider at about 5/16inch. The corners (all the flat plane joints) are real tight. The main area of cracks are the corners. The main area of crumbling is the short wall that the door is attached to and the glass is on.

Now here is the rest of the problem. I have finally got the guy out to fix the grout. He told me that his installers should have used sanded grout. He, at first, just wanted to fill in the holes and run over the cracks with caulk. This didn't seem right to me. I want him to replace everything with the correct stuff. His tile guy told him that it would be difficult to remove the unsanded grout and suggested knocking out all the damaged grout, replacing it with the same unsanded grout, and sealing all the grout lines.

Here is what I have learned just from searching your site so far.

1. the corner seams should all be caulked.
2. unsanded grout shouldn't be used on lines over 1/8 inch.
3. the walls can (should?) be unsanded while the floor should be sanded.

My question is what should I have this guy do?

Go with his plan.
Grind down the grout and put new stuff in.
Remove the grout and put new stuff in.

Have him use unsanded, should it all be sanded, or should it be sanded on the floor only?

I hope you can help me out. I am going to call him with the information that I have so far. He is supposed to come out on Monday (8 Oct 07) to start his idea so I am hoping someone can give me aid in time. Thanks for you time and for this site.

~Dave
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Unread 10-06-2007, 10:46 AM   #2
chuck stevenson
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Dave,

Welcome to the JB Forums.

Brand new house? Tear it out and build it right.

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Unread 10-06-2007, 10:59 AM   #3
jay f
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Yep, I agree. If it's a new project, do it over correctly. No reason to pay for a crappy job. The pro should learn from his own mistakes, it's the best way. Need any more reasons?
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Unread 10-06-2007, 11:07 AM   #4
Dave Taylor
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Hi Dave.....

Quote:
Dave said:..... I have a tile shower.... and it is cracking, leaking, and crumbling.
I think what Chuck and Jay are saying here, Dave, is that your shower exhibits more severe problems than just grout.... or the kind of grout used.

Tell us more about the "leaking" part.

Mebee' post us a pic, or two.... or three.
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Unread 10-06-2007, 11:25 AM   #5
sandbagger
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1/4" grout?! 5/16" grout?! 1/2" GROUT?! YIKES!!

any bets on whether the floor membrane is sloped?

when in doubt - rip it out!

(and like the guys said, there's LOTS of doubt in this job!)
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Unread 10-06-2007, 11:28 AM   #6
DaveSS
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Hey all, thanks for the quick responses. I will try to get some pics up shortly.

As for the leaking, the problem seemed to start from a problem with the glass on the wall closest to the shower head (most exposure to splashing). It turned out that the glass installed did not seal the bottom of the glass so water leaked behind the tile and caused puddles to form outside the shower and leak under to the master closet. The glass issue was fixed and we setup a time to fix the grout that came out (I guessed due to the water behind it.) The tile repair kept getting rescheduled (I've been too nice to the guy but he just went through a big personal issue so... {shrug}.) Lets just say that its been several months since the problem surfaced. Its a good thing I have 2 showers.


....I have a few pics and will try to post them.

~Dave
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Unread 10-06-2007, 11:35 AM   #7
DaveSS
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This is the original problem area with his attempt at fixing it to show me what his plan was.

~Dave
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Unread 10-06-2007, 12:00 PM   #8
Mike2
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Hi Dave.

I can only reiterate what all the others have said. If the plan is to re-grout those areas with more unsanded, it WILL fail again.

----------------
P.S.
Beyond all that, looking at the spacing, lippage, raw cut edge, etc. pictured above, one can tell this tile guy is not very experienced nor attentive to detail. Can't help but wonder what else lies below that can't be seen?

Good luck.

Last edited by Mike2; 10-06-2007 at 01:32 PM. Reason: added P.S.
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Unread 10-06-2007, 01:13 PM   #9
stullis
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The guy is a labor whore.

He hires cheap inexperienced untrained help and turns them loose on unsuspecting customers and cheap a$$ greedy builders who are willing partners in shaft the customer business.

I'll bet you have more problems with your home than just this shower.
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Unread 10-06-2007, 01:15 PM   #10
river-wear
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In answer to your question your first post, use sanded or unsanded grout based on the width of the grout line - it doesn't matter if it's a wall or floor.

Under 1/8" - unsanded (doesn't sound like you have any of those)
Over 1/8" - sanded
1/8" - you can go either way

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Unread 10-06-2007, 10:17 PM   #11
DaveSS
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Thank you all for answering. All the information helped quite a bit. I spoke to the builder and got him to agree to redo everything. I'm guessing he was hoping that I would trust his information. He just pushed me a little to far. You all are great and I will keep this site in my bookmarks for future projects.

~Dave
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Unread 10-07-2007, 06:08 AM   #12
chuck stevenson
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Dave,

Good for you.

Before the builder does any new work, post a list here as to what methods he plans on to give you a waterproof shower and bath area.

Also what type of floor system do you have?
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Unread 10-07-2007, 05:57 PM   #13
Floor You
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If it was up to me I would request a Schluter Systems shower.
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Unread 10-07-2007, 06:21 PM   #14
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Dave, that is excellent news. The best to you!
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Unread 10-07-2007, 06:39 PM   #15
Dave Taylor
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Good for you, Dave.

That one pic you sent of your shower tile said a whole lot to the pro folks here-a-bouts. My guess is they guessed that.... the pic you posted was indicative of your entire shower and.... this includes what is under and below and behind that tile.

Ceramic tile and grout do not waterproof a shower stall.... period.
A shower area must pretty much be leak proof and well drained before the first tile is set.

This is why Chuck asks you to determine your builders plan... then let us know what that plan is.... B4 the rework starts.

Good luck to you and.... thanks fer' stopin' by :---)
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