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Old 08-22-2019, 02:03 PM   #1
lookmombothhands
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crack in tiled shower floor, how to address?

link to pics: imgur.com/a/KLUxV7z

We closed 1 month ago and I somehow did not notice this crack in the floor before. The house was built in 1936 and in Texas so there are lots of cracks and patches everywhere from clay soil movement. I'm a new homeowner and the biggest project I've done so far is cutting and installing quarter round. So, a few things about the shower:

- The crack seems to be moist/wet even when I get home from work and the rest of the shower is dry

- Nothing moves or "groans" when I step on it

- The tile on the right side of the crack seems to be slightly raised

- Many corners and "changes of plane" in the shower were grouted instead of siliconed. In some of these corners (bottom corner on inside of curb) there seems to be some silicone on top of grout. At least silicone was used between the shower floor and wall (notice the mold).

- I have had several people in my crawlspace at this point including during the inspection. No water damage or active leak was found underneath this bathroom.

- I am also now noticing the crack in the drywall from the corner of the shower to the ceiling, continuing from there along the wall/ceiling corner and ending about where the shower stall ends


I've been told by different people that it's cosmetic and I can just re-grout, all the way to "it's f*cked, better to just gut it all the way down and start over." What do y'all think?
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Last edited by lookmombothhands; 08-22-2019 at 02:04 PM. Reason: adding pictures
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:31 PM   #2
speed51133
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No way in hell that is cosmetic. Also, no way in hell to "fix it". You need to demo that shower to the studs and plywood, and maybe even demo the studs and plywood depending what you find.
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Old 08-22-2019, 02:38 PM   #3
lookmombothhands
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I see. Can you tell me why you think that? I'm trying to learn whatever I can.
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:07 PM   #4
speed51133
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Looks like there is allot going on under the tile. Tile and grout doesn't just "crack" from age. Something under it physically moved. Movement can come from either the house structure moving (which the wall cracks indicate) and/or the tile substrate (plywood/studs/cement board/etc). The amount of mold in your corners and the damage done by the curb seem to indicate the shower structure is absorbing water and expanding. This is typical from a wood curb. The wood curb swelled from getting wet. This pops the tiles or cracks them. This is also indicated by water seeping from the cracks.

Also, the joints in any corners or transitions should be flexible, to allow for normal expansion and contraction. Everything expands and contracts from temperature and humidity changes. Not having a flexible product in there like caulk further promotes cracking.

There is no fix other than a tear out. The good news is that during the tear out you can confirm why it failed and make sure you avoid those problems.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:10 PM   #5
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Mike said "This is typical from a wood curb. The wood curb swelled from getting wet." Sorry but this is not typical for a wood curb. It's typical for a shower that isn't installed correctly.

You say your shower isn't leaking under the house but it might be leaking slow enough to soak up in the wood without pouring out everywhere. Wet wood will expand and open grout joints but foundation movement can do the same thing. The cracks in the sheetrock indicate possible foundation problems. Has the foundation been checked?

Even if your shower is slowly leaking, you can seal up the cracked corners and buy a little time. It's only a band-aid and you will probably need to replace the shower in the future. But I would check the foundation first.
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Old 08-22-2019, 06:30 PM   #6
jadnashua
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A wooden curb is fairly common and works IF the waterproofing is applied properly and nobody put holes in it.
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:57 AM   #7
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It could be water but the crack in the grout, raised tiles, crack in the curb, and the drywall crack above would make me think it's the house moving.

You very well might have a structural issue that should be fixed prior to redoing the shower.

How a home inspector doesn't see those cracks is a mystery to me.
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