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Unread 07-24-2016, 08:01 AM   #1
YW84U
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Shower Floor Tile - Previous Homeowner Hijinks?

Hi All,

I've ended up in a new-to-me house now, and methinks the previous fellow made some errors with the shower floor. Upon purchase, it looked as though some sort of elasticized 'sealer' was (poorly) slathered over existing grout to make it look pretty for sale. I figured this would become a future issue, so I wasn't too surprised Fast forward 7 months, and lo and behold the sealer gookus has started to come off and the original grout is now popping out in places.

Here's some quick pics:

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When I originally looked at the grey material in the grout joint (center of last photo), I thought it was merely thinset that oozed up from the sheet and was never properly cleaned out. However, closer inspection with my tools show that the grey material beneath the grout is actually 'rubbery' - I can poke it with my tools and it feels like a car tire. I do not know how the shower was built nor what the substrates are; there is a Schluter drain, but no guarantee that there is actually Kerdi in place (or other kind of membrane?). I knew when we bought the place that the tile work was lacking (major lippage, poor slope on the curb, poor slope on the pan) and would likely need attention.

That being said, chances are that I will have to tear out and re-do the entire thing at some point (the lippage is horrible!). However, in the interim does anyone know what might be the grey bonding material I've got? For a temp fix, is it worthwhile to clean the joints out as best I can and put some sanded grout in ? I do know there is some slight movement of the tile in the affected area, which I attribute to the elasticized bonding material. I cannot find any leaks below (thus far) - if I disturb it too much with my temp fix, what are the chances I will make it worse?

Any thoughts in this regard are greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Tom
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Unread 07-24-2016, 09:13 AM   #2
Davy
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Hi Tom. You have a Kerdi drain so there's a good chance that Kerdi was used. The Kerdi would be directly under the tiles without a mud bed so if you poke around too much, you could put a hole in the Kerdi and cause the shower to leak.

If you want to do a temporary band aid for now, clean out the joints by pulling out all the rubber stuff without using any sharp tools. A dull screw driver and a vacuum look to be the tools I'd start with. Then grout it with sanded grout.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 09:17 AM   #3
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Hard to say what that goop might be. Mastic? Does it appear to be the whole floor? If it was a quick & dirty repair, could have been almost anything. I used to work for a guy that thought if something was sticky, it must be glue...no kidding. Watched him do some spectacularly stupid things as a result.

My best guess would be that at least you have a Kerdi floor, why would someone spend for the drain and then cheap out on the rest? Maybe someone had to remove floor tile and wrecked the Kerdi fleece so used who knows what for redo.

As long as it's not leaking, I suppose one could make a temporary fix by regrouting, but best to consider it just that if you're looking for a permanent kind of shower.
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Unread 07-24-2016, 06:07 PM   #4
YW84U
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Thank You so much for your replies!

With your suggestions in mind, I should be able to clean the joints out enough to at least get some replacement grout down for the time being. For those areas where the 'rubberized' material is interfering with the joint, I'll have to McGuyver a way to carefully 'wear it down' enough to make room - I'll just have to ensure that I don't go down as far as any membrane present.

I suppose I should start planning a tear out for maybe next year and do the entire thing up properly!

Cheers
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Unread 01-24-2021, 09:18 AM   #5
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Any ideas what the previous HO did here?

Hi All,

As with all things, I'm finding all sorts of interesting techniques used by a previous homeowner and this tile issue has me a bit stumped as to what he's done. Full disclosure, I knew something was up and would be an issue when we bought, since the master bath shower had a thin coat of epoxy or other band-aid goo smeared over top of everything like a 4 year old doing cake decorating

The shower floor mosaic soon started losing grout, and I could feel some flex to the assembly. Everything is still watertight, and the only info I could glean is that there is a schluter drain, its box store tile, and they had never understood what lippage is.... Two tiles popped today, and finally now underneath I can see a grey, rubbery type of thinset directly below the tiles. When poked, it feels fairly thick maybe 1/8 inch and has the consistency of silicone in firmness. Obviously to me this was the reason for failure as to movement in the floor when standing in the shower and popping out the grout.

Is anyone able to suggest what sort of thinset or other waterproofing product was used in this case? My OCD brain says tear out the whole room and do it proper, but this is not my forever home and I'm considering exploring a repair if at all possible. I can tackle pulling out all the existing grout and embark upon some form of repair if there is a possibility of doing something meaningful with what I have to work with.

Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly welcomed!

Cheers,
YW84U
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Unread 01-24-2021, 09:27 AM   #6
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I wonder if they might have used Mastic from a tub instead of a bag of thin-set mortar.
edit. See I was late posting this.
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Unread 01-24-2021, 09:27 AM   #7
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On my phone, the substrate is the weirdest color, so I’ll ask: is the substrate orange?

As far as the loose pieces, I’d be more suspect that someone installed the dusty tiles using bonding material and techniques that didn’t achieve a proper bond. And maybe re-bonded pieces that came loose. Does it look like more than one color of bonding material?

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Unread 01-24-2021, 09:34 AM   #8
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On the floor, I'm guessing the thinset had partially dried on its surface before the mosaics were set.
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Unread 01-24-2021, 09:37 AM   #9
YW84U
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Actually, the tile has an orange hue (not my fav color!), plus there is some orange from what looks like slime build up getting underneath. The actual substrate itself is grey and has that silicone-like texture to it. Definitely not thinset/mortar, and considering the other shenanigans in the home nothing would surprise me at this point

There is no obvious sign of mesh backing from the mosaics though...

?

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YW84U
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Unread 01-24-2021, 12:13 PM   #10
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Seems we've visited this shower floor in past, so I've combined the threads here, Tom.
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Unread 01-24-2021, 12:40 PM   #11
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Silicone used to secure random mosaics
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Unread 01-24-2021, 12:46 PM   #12
YW84U
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It appears that I've pondered this in the past - my apologies for not finding my old thread!!

I wonder if I could buy some more time on this by clearing the grout, and replacing it with an epoxy-based solution? The Mrs hates the color of all that tile anyways, and it would give time for the health lockdowns to subside and suppliers to catch up on stock levels. Kerapoxy perhaps, or is that being foolish?

Cheers,
YW84U
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Unread 01-24-2021, 12:50 PM   #13
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Your first post about this floor was more than 4 years ago, Tom.

Without knowing what the previous setting material might be, I couldn't say whether using an epoxy adhesive would be any better than using a cementitious thinset mortar.

Have you tried to remove what we see in the photos?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-24-2021, 12:56 PM   #14
YW84U
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Hi CX,

Thanks so much for the prompt replies! I was tempted to poke at it gently to see if I could peel some up and survey whats beneath, but I'm worried that it might be the actual waterproof layer and doom myself further. If I do remove some of it, is there a product that might tie back into it if I need to patch it in some manner?

As always, any advice is appreciated!
Cheers,
YW84U
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Unread 01-24-2021, 01:00 PM   #15
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I don't think the gray stuff I see in the photo is part of your waterproofing, but that's best judged by someone on site.

What would stick to that material is anybody's guess if we don't know what it is.
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