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Unread 02-08-2015, 10:37 AM   #1
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Hairline cracks in grout on shower pan floor --water damage?

I noticed a few hairline cracks in grout in the master shower floor along where the grout between pebbles meets wall.

Is such cracked grout a sort of leak, which will let water pass through it faster than if there were no crack? While hairline cracks on a counter top junction with backsplash can be dried off quickly when contacted by water, on a shower where water runs for a period of time, penetrating water in cracks create could result in future moisture-related problem beneath shower pebble floor over time.

Not sure if its an issue with only the grout or with construction below the shower floor and pan, or some combination of both. Is this a DIY fix, or should I contact my general contractor? Its been about 1 year since shower was built.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 10:44 AM   #2
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Keep in mind that grout and tiles are not waterproof. In fact, both can let water get by them whether they are cracked or not. Grout and tile are there to protect your waterproofing under them and to look pretty.

This is akin to shingles on one's roof: The shingles protect the tar paper waterproofing...and to look pretty.

So assuming you have intact and sound waterproofing for your shower, this is a cosmetic issue.

I want to make sure that you say this cracking is at the joint between the wall and the floor? If so, that is a change of plane and usually change of planes require something more flexible than grout (I assume cementious grout? I ask because some of the new urethane grouts claim some flexibility). Usually, this area should be caulked and not grouted. It may well continue to crack and if you don't like it, you'll have to remove the grout and replace it with a color-matching and sanded/unsanded caulk. The folks at Colorite pert near have every color imaginable to match pert near every grout color out there.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 10:54 AM   #3
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Welcome, like-DIY. Please change that permanent signature line to a first name for us to use.

As pointed out, that cracking should have nothing at all to do with the integrity of a properly constructed shower. It's an aesthetic issue and the reason the tile industry standards require a flexible sealant at that joint in your tile installation. That part of the installation is, therefor, not correct and is something your contractor should address if you are not happy with it.

Without knowing just how your shower receptor was constructed, that's about all we can tell you about the situation.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 12:04 PM   #4
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me again

You are right that I don't know the details of how it was constructed. Seems small yet worrisome to me or i wouldnt have asked abou it. My GC may not want to address it since its not a major flaw.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 02:17 PM   #5
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Unread 02-08-2015, 02:32 PM   #6
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That joint could be cut out and replaced with new grout. Since it's in pebbles, it may be noticeable afterwards. It would be less noticeable if it were in the straight joints between tiles. Like the others said, has nothing to do with the waterproofing.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 08:36 PM   #7
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more...

I'm glad to hear it doesn't really indicate a water problem and since the cracks are very small, so I am gaining piece of mind. One part is I wondered if my GC would think it too small and not want to help me out (even though work could be considered under their warranty); the second is -- can I repair this myself, is it urgent (for me to fix immediately, or for me to contact the GC)?

After sizable investment in a great bathroom/shower remodel, I just want to nip any issues before they become problems that would turn into much more of a $$ and headache. Thanks for all your help.
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Unread 02-08-2015, 08:50 PM   #8
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You can try to repair it yourself, but it might prove to be a bit of a challenge with the pebble floor and getting a crisp line with your silicone caulking.

Never hurts to try though.
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