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Unread 06-27-2020, 02:02 PM   #1
Lou_MA
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Pebble floor and grout height

Just finished this pebble shower floor and not really happy with final result. Pebbles are rounded so I had upped the slope to 1/2” per foot.

The pebbles were mesh-mounted on sheets. I pulled all the pebbles off and set them individually, pretty much touching each other in most places to mimic the sheet look. It all looked passable after the set, I was pretty pleased.

But grouting really seemed to swallow the pebbles up. At first I tried washing the joints a bit lower to expose more pebble but it just seemed like water would collect in all those divots, given each pebble’s sloped edge. I ended up with what you see...I think drainage will be as good as can be, but it looks like I set the damn things an inch apart. I’d rather function over form in this case but I think it looks terrible.

Thoughts? I don’t know what to change - if anything - for next time, or if this is just how these go.
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Unread 06-27-2020, 11:00 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Sorry to hear, Lou. I feel for you. I don’t enjoy putting a lot of work into something and then be unpleasantly surprised on the outcome. Unfortunately, this is the deal with rounded pebbles.

If you have the height (above the drain), you could painstakingly run a grinder (and polisher) on the floor to flatten out the pebbles to increase the exposure of each rock and reduce the grout joints. But you’d need to work very carefully as to not grind any bird-baths into the finished surface.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 11:43 AM   #3
Lou_MA
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Bubba, thanks for the feedback.

So that looks acceptable to you?

From a functional perspective, I think it’s on point. Water will drain as well as can be expected. Soap scum and other stuff collecting in divots between pebbles will be minimized. I just can’t quite get over how much the grout buried the pebbles.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 01:56 PM   #4
Lazarus
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Unfortunately, with rounded pebbles...that's pretty much what you get. Removing more of the grout ends up usually trapping water rather than draining.

Judicial choice of grout colour is about all you can do. I probably would have chosen a light/medium gray....but that ship has sailed.....
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Unread 06-29-2020, 08:14 PM   #5
Karls tile Inc
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Not trying to pick on what you did but fro sure you left too much grout. I learned this the hard way when I had to redo a whole accent wall.
Looks like Porcelanosa tile on the walls. Like how you have the lines connecting.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 08:58 PM   #6
Lou_MA
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I kind of feel like I left too much as well, but then I think - on a shower floor, what’s the main priority? Proper drainage and avoidance of bird baths. And that’s exactly what this has, if not in absolute terms then at least relative to lower grout joints.

I can see on vertical surfaces where it would be standard MO to wipe grout down lower though.

But I certainly don’t know everything, it’s why I’m here looking for opinions.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 09:41 PM   #7
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Thanks Laz. Grout actually is a medium grey. UltraColor FA in Silver.
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Unread 06-29-2020, 10:33 PM   #8
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I'm with Karl. I would have taken the bird baths. I have been fortunate to have never worked with those skippers. The one at a time deal musta been fun.
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Unread 06-30-2020, 08:01 PM   #9
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I've heard the complaint about too much grout from homeowners sometimes and that's why I try to do a mockup ahead of time so they know what to expect.

Part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the manufacturers never show them grouted on their sample boards. So the look is completely different.

I don't think you did anything wrong. You can see that you didn't have them spaced too far apart. You can try next time to remove a little more grout but it's only going to make a small difference.
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Unread 07-03-2020, 09:35 AM   #10
tilemanct
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I always talk customers out of pebbles on shower floors just for the reasons presented in this discussion. If you want it to look somewhat "nice" you are going to have duck ponds and bad drainage. Give it about 4 months and you get the call of grout discoloration. Its actually a cleaning issue and one hit with some cleaner and a drill brush and its back to looking like new. That's when you get the ... "oh i see why you tried to get me to change to another floor tile"
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Unread 07-09-2020, 01:21 PM   #11
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Unlike Dave, I like pebbles on shower floors, and I use them for matching accent borders around the walls. I do not like the round pebbles, though, for reasons already stated. Instead I tell people to choose flat pebbles, either sawn and tumbled or natural flat river rocks. These are much easier on the bare feet as well.

Some folks aren't easily talked out of things, though, and when round rocks are chosen I take extra pains to keep the grout uniform throughout. I also explain that standing water is unavoidable and should be sopped up with a towel.

https://www.johnbridge.com/how-to/ho...-pebble-tiles/
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Unread 07-10-2020, 09:25 AM   #12
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...and they never listen to your advice and you get the call of horrible grout discoloration. Pebbles above the water line works. On a floor no. Flat stone mosaics will work. In my many years only two people wanted the flat mosaic stone. John your advice is spot on with any shower. I squeegee and wipe down my shower every time I use it. It looks as good as the day it was installed.
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Unread 07-11-2020, 02:05 PM   #13
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Lou I agree with what's been said on this is the way rounded pebbles go. As Jim pointed out they never seem to show them grouted on displays to show how nasty it turns out. I also, like John said, like pebbles when they are flat. My own shower has a flat pebble floor.

The one's I couldn't talk out of rounded rock I've chosen a grout that matches the rock as close as possible.. which in your case would lean towards the black to dark gray.
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