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Unread 09-28-2007, 12:45 AM   #1
T. P.
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help newly tiled shower is wet behind tiles

Hi, Please bear with me as this is the first forum I have ever participated in.
My husband just finished tiling our shower about 3 weeks ago. He sealed the grout and caulked it. I noticed when I was showering that the grout would darken. It now turns out that moisture or water has gotten behind the tiles. We removed the caulk and discovered it was wet. We vapor sealed and used wonderboard. What I am wondering is how water got behind the tiles and whether or not it will dry out. It is completely tiled the only open area is the 1/4" inch of space from where the caulking was removed. We have not used it in approximately one week but it does not appear to drying out well.
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Unread 09-28-2007, 04:54 AM   #2
ddmoit
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Welcome to the forum, TP.

You've certainly come to the right place to get your issue solved. Am I correct in presuming that you and your husband built this shower starting with exposed studs to which you attached Wonderboard and some sort of vapor barrier? Tell us more about the pan construction. I don't understand the and caulked comment regarding the grout.

You say that water is getting behind the tiles. That is fairly normal, as tile and grout are not waterproof. Even grout sealant allows for the passage of water. In what part of the shower is this problem occurring?

Maybe a picture would help us better understand your problem.
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Unread 09-28-2007, 05:16 AM   #3
koihito
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My reaction, based on what was presented, is:

of course it's wet behind the tile. If it wasn't than you could set on drywall and wouldn't need a shower pan. A tiled wall is not waterproof not waterproof, period.
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Unread 09-28-2007, 05:24 AM   #4
Scottish Tile and Stone
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What did you use to set the tiles with? Mastic or thinset?
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Unread 09-28-2007, 06:04 AM   #5
Shaughnn
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Hello T.P. and spouse,
It is normal for moisture to penetrate through the grout and saturate the backer board, hence the need for a moisture barrier behind the board. However, if the shower hasn't dried out in a week's time, I'm a little worried.
Have you removed all of the caulking at the bottom joint or just exposed a section? That bottom-most joint should probably be grouted instead of caulked because the caulk will prevent the moisture from escaping the wall by gravity alone and require that evaporation back through the tile and grout is the only method of drying out the backer board.
If you would like to describe the steps taken in the construction of the shower, we can possibly spot additional issues?
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Unread 09-28-2007, 07:13 AM   #6
kcas72
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Shaughnn, my assumption is that the 1/4" that she caulked is the bottom, where the tile meets the tub. If that's the case caulk would be the right choice, no? Unless I'm misunderstanding her.
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Unread 09-28-2007, 07:20 AM   #7
Shaughnn
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Kevin,
That's my assumption also, that the caulked joint is the intersection between wall and tub. For aesthetic purposes, caulk is the preferred treatment because it remains flexible and won't crack. But for "function", grout is the better material for this joint. Caulk acts as a dam, and holds moisture behind it while grout is permeable and allows moisture to pass through. But grout is brittle and can crack.
Since the issue at hand is moisture retention, my advice is grout and just live with possible cracking later. It's only a cosmetic crack so there isn't much to worry about as long as it's kept clean so that mildew doesn't make a home.
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Unread 10-03-2007, 12:59 AM   #8
T. P.
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Hi, again.

Thank you for all the responses.

To clarify. We did take the walls out to the studs. We then vapor sealed with a proper vapor seal (not sure what it was called), thick plastic not felt. We put in wonderboard completely around tub to ceiling and 6 " beyond tub on both end walls and leaving 1/4 inch between wonderboard and tub. We used thinset to adhere the tiles to the wonderboard. The tiles are ceramic, very smooth but not very shiny. We grouted using polyblend sanded grout with moldguard and sealed it twice with TileLab surfacegard penetrating sealer(maximum protection). We caulked the 1/4 " space with a Silicone II caulk for kitchens and bathrooms. It did dry out after we removed the caulking but it took another couple of days. We have since sealed the grout another 4 times and this seems to have helped. We recaulked with the same caulk. It is not getting nearly as wet however the bottom 6" inches are more wet than the rest. I assume this is normal. The shower seems to dry out pretty much by the time we get home from work. We generally use the shower 3 - 4 times a day. There are 4 of us. So is this normal? At no time when we talked to the people at the hardware store did they indicate that the grout would wick water behind the tiles and then dry out. As a matter of fact when we approached them with the problem they said we had done everything correctly and were very puzzled.

To add to the problem which we felt we had pretty much rectified, I noticed that when my daughter showers there is a grout line that is weeping water. I wipe down the tile and drops continue to seep out of this grout line. This only happens when she showers and only in this one area. We can also see that along the edge of the tiles where we can still see tileset, the tileset is also quite wet and weeping. We have not finished putting an edging on the tiles yet as we are trying to correct this problem first.

I think this may be because she takes showers that are much hotter than the rest of us and there may be some expansion that allows water penetrate the grout and sealer. I just can't figure out why it would be just in this one area.

Does this sound right to anyone and how can we fix it?

Last edited by T. P.; 10-03-2007 at 01:04 AM.
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Unread 10-03-2007, 01:29 AM   #9
Tool Guy - Kg
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Sounds like an awful lot of moisture getting behind there. What size grout joints do you have and did you use sanded or unsanded grout? Have you closely inspected every inch of the grout to insure that there isn't any missing grout anywhere?




Quote:
Originally Posted by T. P.
We can also see that along the edge of the tiles where we can still see tileset, the tileset is also quite wet and weeping. We have not finished putting an edging on the tiles yet as we are trying to correct this problem first.
Not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that you haven't installed the bullnose tiles around the perimeter.....and that you can see slightly under the edge of the field tiles that the thinset mortar is wet?

Pics may be helpful if you are able to post them.
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Unread 10-03-2007, 08:21 AM   #10
jgleason
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Hi,

I'll ask, what kind of thinset was used? A lot fo things are labeled thinset nowadays but aren't really suitable for use in a wet area. Did the thinset come in a bag or in a bucket? What brand was it? How long after tiling did you wait before grouting? What size are the tiles? What size trowel was used to spread the thinset?

Sorry for all the questions but they are necessary.
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Unread 10-03-2007, 08:33 AM   #11
Mike2
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Hi T.P.

You might be with us for awhile so how about a first name ?

We can hook you up with a much better grade of sealer than Tile Lab but like Kurt said above, that seems like a lot of water. By any chance is the problem confined to the plumbing wall?
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