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Unread 04-05-2013, 09:59 AM   #1
TheIcon
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Tile not waterproof

So this forum is huge on waterproofing and many people throw around the idea that tile isn't waterproof. However are there any studies or articles out there that demonstrate and prove how long tile has to be in contact with water before it penetrates.

When I think of showers I think of beads of water running down tile. Water doesn't have a chance to collect and sit and soak into a wall. Showers aren't pools they are more like windows. I woudl think it would take tile being inconstant contact for long periods of time before any significant water could come close to penetrating the tile.


Note I am not saying we shouldn't waterproof. I think it is good practice and a nice safety measure yet sometimes I think people get over focused on it.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
Davy
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Depends on the tile and the glaze but I would think more moisture soaks thru the grout than thru the tile. It's always interesting tearing out old leaking showers to see where it was leaking and the damage done. Behind the tile, the walls are usually pretty dry above 4 ft.

One thing is for sure, the tile is just a wear surface and something pretty to look at. Like we say quite often around here, the shower should be watertight and not leak before any tile is even installed.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 10:43 AM   #3
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I agree there are some factors such as tile size, type, etc. Most baths I feel damage is done where the tile meets the tub. Caulk always seems to be bad there in places I have seen and I feel it wicks it way up. Ive never felt like the damage is done from water hitting the tile and running down.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 10:55 AM   #4
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Its the Non-Vitreous and semi-Vitreous tiles that have any significant water absorption. I waterproof to a fault and have never had a leak. Usually everything gets Aqua defense or HPG and all the corners get Kerdi. Years ago it was thought that Cement board alone was enough to waterproof a shower.....until they started having issues. You want to talk absorption, lets talk about how absorbent the Unmodified mortar is that everyone is relying on for the kerdi membrane in a shower.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny
lets talk about how absorbent the Unmodified mortar is that everyone is relying on for the kerdi membrane in a shower.
What mortar location are you referring to? or are you saying *all* unmodified? Absorbent compared to what, exactly?
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Unread 04-05-2013, 11:08 AM   #6
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Yes, All Un-Modified Mortars are absorbent. I love the Kerdi system, I just use Modified.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 11:13 AM   #7
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Do we need to start a post on this? I don't want to Hijack this one one if it is not appropriate.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 11:40 AM   #8
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Brandon, you asked about studies to prove water penetration. I helped troubleshoot a leaking shower years ago that was pouring water out on to the floor outside the white fiberglass pan, onto the vinyl floor. There was so much water that at first they thought it must have been a plumbing leak. 3x3 tile, 1/8" standard sanded grout.
We used visqueen & sticky tape to isolate individual wall sections of the shower. Then we removed that one tile where the front edge of the pan spills over onto the vinyl so we could see behind. With zero water getting to the corners and zero water getting to that joint at the bottom that meets the pan, when the spray was directed at the middle of the shower wall tile, it only took a minute or so for it to start a visible trickle of running water coming from behind the tile, straight through the grout joints.
There were no visible cracks or holes, so this demonstrated once again that grout is not in the slightest way waterproof. We have to change our thinking to the way Davy described and only think of the substrate/prep as our waterproofing, and never the top tile assembly.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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Tom I sure it is possible but in my mind it seems like the tile would need direct contact for quite a long time to cause any penetration. I feel like you said the grout line is more of an issue than actual tile.

I feel like if I suspended a tile in a clear bucket and caulked around the tile no water would leak through that tile to the bottom of the bucket at all. In fact I feel like the water would evaporate before it ever had a change to seep through the tile. Or building a fish tank with tile instead of glass would demonstrate the same test.

I guess this also raises another question in my mind. Is tile adn grout really the issue or is upkeep of the tile and grout the issue.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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I said the tile assembly is not waterproof. Most tile is waterproof, but that's irrelevant, as all tile needs grout. There is no way, including using caulk for grout, to perfectly waterproof grout, so it is a waste of time to worry about waterproofing the top layer; it's only there for a wear surface and for visual, not waterproofing.
Since it was never waterproof to start with, upkeep of grout, although important, is irrelevant to waterproofing.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
Pete1972
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So in theory would a glazed tile coupled with an epoxy grout let less water through to the backing materials?
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Unread 04-05-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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In theory, yes it would Pete. As long as you don't have one single pinhole! The company that went out of business the year I started mine used cbu, kerdi drain, tile and epoxy grout for their waterproofing system. No Kerdi on the shower pan even! They relied solely on the tile and grout for their waterproofing. Needless to say, I've been busy replacing all these failed systems.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 12:57 PM   #13
Pete1972
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwilde72
They relied solely on the tile and grout for their waterproofing. Needless to say, I've been busy replacing all these failed systems.
I bet you have been. I'm with most on here and of the belief that the shower/bath should be waterproof before setting the first tile, but it does seem like there is some basis where things like glazed porcelain instead of a porous stone coupled with an epoxy grout instead of a cement grout could be of some benefit if there were a small or missed imperfection in the waterproofing system, say like a forgotten ledger board hole or a small tear in a moisture barrier.

Last edited by Pete1972; 04-05-2013 at 01:42 PM.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #14
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Well said Pete. I always use HPG over the Kerdi Membrane on the floor just to make sure that there are no pinholes in it. It also offers a fantatstic bonding agent for the Mortar.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 03:56 PM   #15
dhagin
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Hi Denny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny
So this forum is huge on waterproofing and many people throw around the idea that tile isn't waterproof.
We here are "huge" on following industry standards and manufacturers recommendations, waterproofing is one facet of this. Not sure about studies, but you may want to have a look at this thread below for evidence of what happens when waterproofing is ignored.


http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=71950
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