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Unread 09-16-2014, 01:47 PM   #1
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I have an issue that I have never experienced before. I built my shower pan and did the ceramic tile for a shower that I remodeled in my current house - replaced the fiberglass surround and pan and did the walls and pan as I have several times in my DIY past. I used unsanded grout (Mapei Keracolor from Lowes). I allowed the grout to dry for a month before I had a shower surround installed by my local glass company. I did not seal the grout before they installed, and I did not watch them install, but know they used clear silicone sealant. A week or so after the surround install I used the shower, and the next day I noticed what appeared to be efflorescence coming out of the joints right where the surround intersected the grout. All other grout is fine. Any idea what caused this? What do I do to fix?
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Last edited by commok; 09-17-2014 at 08:12 AM. Reason: correct misspelling
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Unread 09-16-2014, 09:48 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Ken.

After the very first shower?!?!?! I've never seen efflorescence bloom so outrageously fast. Is the material crumbly and crystal, like a formation of soft salt? Or something else?

It's late to be asking this, but please tell us how the shower was built:
1) How it was waterproofed,
2) What methods were used,
3) A list of all the materials (especially the setting material) you used, and
4) An estimate on the setting material coverage percentage that is covering the back of each and every one of those tiles (you didn't use a "dot method" to apply the setting material, did you?).
Any details or pictures would be potentially helpful in identifying boo-boos.

P.S. It's spelled efflorescence.
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Unread 09-17-2014, 07:12 AM   #3
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Yep,, the material is crumbly and crystal. And yes, after the first shower... The shower was built using standard practices. Mud pre-slope, membrane and mud bed using kirb-perfect products on a concrete floor (pre-pitch, quick-pitch, kirb-perfect curb, and weep hole protector). Used standard Oatey membrane draped over the curb, with kirb-perfect over that. Used versabond as setting material, and back buttered all tiles. Have a 1/2 bubble slope on the curb. I am not a pro, but have done several of these shower remodeling/installs over the last 30 years as I moved around the world in the military, and never had this happen. The only efflorescence in the whole shower stall is coming out right under where the surround meets the curb, no where else...
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Unread 09-17-2014, 08:47 AM   #4
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It's finding the easiest route out but fortunately it is in a small environment that was created with mud. Clean it up a few times and it most likely won't come back.

Just my 2 cents. Once the minerals are depleted you should not see it again. When I see it on block I just wipe it off. It's nothing that you did but more like Mother Nature doing its thing with the correct conditions.
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Unread 09-17-2014, 04:16 PM   #5
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There is a limited quantity of soluble salts that can cause that in any install. Eventually, it will stop. FWIW, you'll tend to see this less often with a surface applied waterproofing system, either paint-on or bonded sheet goods than with a conventional clamping drain, mudbed shower.
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