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Unread 07-23-2016, 07:30 PM   #1
OzCanuck
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Carrara Marble Shower Floor Darkening

We’ve been reading a lot of posts on this issue for a week or so. Can anyone give some advice on our what could be the problem based on the information below?

Our Carrara marble shower floor hex tiles have darkened after installation. We used a local tiler to do our install. Within hours of the floor being grouted my wife and I noticed the darkened tiles appearing.

Going back to the tilers they initially said it was water and to let it dry out. We have let it dry out for going on 3 weeks, it has improved but it’s still not great. We used the shower 3-4 times in total, however the darkness was apparent before first use. The only water that got on the floor tiles before use was from the tilers doing grouting. The tile supplier also thinks its water under the tiles. No one wants to accept any responsibility and are not sure what can be done! We are frustrated, and wish we never used marble.

Here’s how the shower was constructed and explanation of the pictures below:

1. Cement sheeting installed on timber walls and timber floor
2. Waterproofing applied over cement sheeting. They did apply some kind of filler (see tube on floor) to all cracks and joins but we didn’t see any use of tape on the joins.
3. Screed base was laid. Note the patchy/granular/unblended appearance of the screed at top right and bottom right. It’s coincidentally in the same areas the tiles have darkened. Is this part of our problem?
4. Floor tiles were laid a couple days later. White adhesive used, not sure which one. Have asked to advise what was used. No sealer was applied pre or post installation.
5. Floor grout (grey) applied next day in the AM. Not sure what type – again have asked them for this info. They also applied the wall tiles the same day, but not grout.
6. Day after grouting of floor, before grouting of the walls.
7. Day after grouting of floor, after grouting of the walls. The tiles have noticeably darkened as they got the floor tiles wet when grouting the walls. The darkened tiles appear with straight edges, just like the shape of the 30x30 tile sheets.
8. This is our shower after 2 weeks of non-use.
9. This is a photo the tiler took and sent us after we told them there had been no improvement. They said they noticed the tiles were of a different shade once laid. But they didn’t mention it to us. According to them it’s not water underneath and suggested applying a wet look sealer to even it out.

We should mention we ordered 3 lots of tiles at separate times from the supplier. They confirmed they were of the same lot/batch/shade number prior to ordering. Going back to the supplier after the problem occurred we’ve obtained paperwork from them that has a hand written edit on one order’s shade number matching it to the other 2, which appears suspicious.

Can anyone offer some advice what may have caused the problem and how to resolve it. We have some extra tile sheets remaining, should we attempt to replace the darkened tiles?
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Unread 07-23-2016, 07:45 PM   #2
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It looks there is no preslope or liner for that matter. Those ares are most likely where water is holding under the tiles.

Need to ask exactly how the pan was constructed.
Was waterproofing used over the pan?
* Don't seal it at this point there is moisture holding in the tile and sealing with not help anything right now.
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Unread 07-23-2016, 08:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response. You're right the waterproofing is underneath the screed base on the flat floor. The screed is on top of the waterproofing and has been sloped to the waste, then the tile installed directly on top of the screed.

According to Australian building standards both methods (waterproofing under or over) are both acceptable but we now realise that when using natural stone it's better to do waterproofing over the screed. The tiler insists that waterproofing under the screed is what they always do and it's never a problem. But we don't know how much experience they have with carrara marble.
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Unread 07-23-2016, 09:42 PM   #4
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I don't know if Martin Brookes, with the Heritage Marble & Tile/NTCA, is on the forums here or not but he is part of a committee looking into this problem. It seems this problem is growing and no one has a definite answer yet for what is going on. I'll try to get him over here to help out.

From what it seams, this is happening on proper installs as well.

Your install should have had a pre slope, no way around that.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 08:50 AM   #5
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I can't see the drain well enough to tell if it's a 3 piece clamping drain. I assume it is. The floor needed a preslope if you want the membrane under the mudbed, like Jesse said. But, if you want the membrane on top of the mud bed, looks like you would need to use the divot drain method. You can't just paint on membrane on top of the mud up to the grate. It won't seal well at the grate.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 08:56 AM   #6
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Committee

I am on that committee as well. There are numerous possibilities, but no defined solutions. Each case seems to be different in some nature. There are the greatest minds in the industry trying to find a reason this is occurring. We will meet again at Total Solutions to discuss this. Unfortunately tearing it out and doing it again might result in the same results, even if you do everything by the book. You might try to find a porcelain tile that is the same size and color. I wish i could give you something encouraging, but we cannot at this point and time. John Cox
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Unread 07-24-2016, 10:58 AM   #7
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Thinking this out too...besides having a super drastic preslope/final slope etc to help direct water......

Possibly it's the porosity of the stone....and the polish and/or lack of polish on surface of stone? As it looks the same prior to water being added to this puzzle,it's obviously a water/evaporation/porosity puzzle.

Have others seen the light/dark effect,with say honed Carrera etc?
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Unread 07-24-2016, 03:40 PM   #8
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In the 7th picture you posted there's a fairly obvious division between the darkened marble and the lighter marble. That division appears to follow straight lines and right angles (which is odd), and it appears to approximately follow the lines you'd expect to see when installing hex marble in 12"x12" sheets.

I'm no expert but it appears from that photo and from your description of potentially different lots of marble being used that one contributor to your problem is differing coloration of the marble itself. Adding water to the marble just highlights those differences.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 04:30 PM   #9
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Possibly from different lots yes....but why doesn't it rear it's ugly head,till it's wet,and/or wet and drying out?

Is 1 possible solution,to soak any and all sheets in water etc,prior to installation? And if so,what does that do to the mounting of such,with the mesh backing etc?

I'm definitely no genius etc,but it seems by now,someone would of conducted various tests,and deduced what works,what doesn't,and why.

Water and saturation are a constant in this equation. Water staining it? Degree of water staining? Acid/alkalinity of water? Evaporation of water? Heat level involved etc when marble polished? Density of one piece,compared to another?

Lastly,has anyone ever tried to totally dry out a Carrera pan,to the point of installation prior to grouting....and what were the results?
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Unread 07-24-2016, 05:31 PM   #10
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Just want to mention we are in Australia and showers are constructed differently here. There's no 3 peice clamping drains, pre slope is not used or liners. They use either a waterproof membrane which is a liquid that's painted on and according to Australian building standards the code allows for waterproofing under the mud base or on top of it. So as far as we can tell it's been constructed according to code (maybe weep blocked?) but maybe not ideal for Carrara marble tile. Can definitely see the benefits of a preslope though!

Davy - no it's not a 3 peice clamping drain. It's a puddle flange and a waste. It's from the bounty brassware "burmuda" in square. Sorry it won't let me post the link.

Auto play - this is a honed Carrara stone.

John - in hindsight we would definitely have considered other options for tiles. We were assured this particular tile was ok for use in a shower and on floor. There were other tiles very similar to this that were noted as not for use on a floor.

JerseyDIYguy - yes this is the most puzzling part to us! That the darkness is appearing in square sheet shapes/sizes which only became apparent after laid on the adhesive. We mentioned in our original post that we ordered 3 lots of tiles at seperate times and were assured they were all the same (only after a false alarm they were all sold out of our original batch). We have since received their order paperwork and one batch number has been hand edited to match the other 2. Just seems odd to us, and here we are with this problem.
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Last edited by cx; 07-24-2016 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Light up link
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Unread 07-24-2016, 05:43 PM   #11
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Keep in mind that your code may not call it a "preslope". That's just what we call it around here. But like you said, there are benefits to having a preslope and if it's not in your code, it should be.

Looks to me like, if your drain has weep holes, it must be at least similar to our 3 pc clamping drain. Interesting.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 05:49 PM   #12
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Welcome, Justin.

If that's not the correct link, you are now able to post links and can correct my link if necessary.

I tried reading the Waterproofing Guide on that site, but I'm afraid the language barrier got in the way of my understanding just how they intend it to be used. Looks to me as though y'all just bond a liquid-applied membrane to the PVC drain, which sounds a bit iffy to me.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 07:15 PM   #13
OzCanuck
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Davy - I think our code clearly needs to be updated. I know nothing about shower installation but common sense tells me it just won't work out well if you have waterproofing on a flat floor. Lots of room for improvement! Had we of thought to look at this code before having a shower installed we would have insisted on the second method of the waterproofing on top of the mud bed/screed so there would be as little chance of water in the shower bed as possible.

Here's the link to the building code for if anyone would like to have a look: http://documents.tips/.documents/as-...-standard.html

CX - yes that's the link, thanks!
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Unread 07-24-2016, 07:23 PM   #14
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As everyone knows, carrera can have issues with the absorption rate, it can vary quite a bit depending on the stone itself, that could play into your issue ..
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Unread 07-24-2016, 07:27 PM   #15
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JC, glad to hear your on the committee. It seams like you guys have your hands full with it, so many variables, hopefully it can be resolved! Thank you for your efforts.
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