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Unread 11-16-2021, 08:15 PM   #1
Uvawkidd
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Linear Drain at Shower wall with Gap

With linear drain installed at wall, should the gap under the wall tile at the drain be caulked? Gap is larger at curb side of shower. Can see thinset in the gap in places but nothing else. Gap stays damp and gets dirty/Krud.

See pictures. Any help would be appreciated!
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Unread 11-16-2021, 08:53 PM   #2
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Color matched to the grout.
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Unread 11-16-2021, 09:11 PM   #3
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No latex caulk in the shower.

Use 100% silicone.
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Unread 11-16-2021, 09:21 PM   #4
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Nick, you are correct that that gap should have been filled with a flexible sealant. The caulk in your photo will fill the gap, but will not last as long nor provide the flexibility of a flexible sealant meeting the requirements of ASTM C920. The most common recommendation for that application is 100 percent RTV silicone and there are such sealants available to match any grout color and in satin or sanded finishes.

I know Custom makes some silicone sealants in some of their grout colors, but I don't know what might be availble in your color or texture. Such sealants are available from other sources, such as ColorRite online.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-16-2021, 11:06 PM   #5
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I have used that custom siliconized grout in sanded and unsanded for over 17 years no problems. The colorite is a another 1 I have used depending on grout color. Custom is readily available at several spots by me. The other I have to go to Anaheim to get. But go there every other week to hit the stoneyards and Granquartz.
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Unread 11-17-2021, 04:59 AM   #6
Uvawkidd
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How do I work around the thinset that is sitting in the gap. I’m scared to damage the waterproofing by getting that out of there before caulking.
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Unread 11-17-2021, 08:46 AM   #7
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Well, Jon, that's a problem. I can't tell from your photo how much of a problem it is, though. All the mortar should have been removed from that joint when setting the tiles, of course, but that ship has sailed.

At this point, you remove what you think you can, very carefully and safely, and without damaging your waterproofing. Don't know what else to tell you.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-17-2021, 12:04 PM   #8
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Appreciate the info. Outside of having to clean it continuously, should I just leave the gap open to avoid damaging the waterproof?
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Unread 11-17-2021, 10:50 PM   #9
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Have you considered using an oscillating tool with a grout removal blade? I ask because you have a ton of control over how deep you go. I wouldn’t try it with any sort of hand tool because it’s too easy to slip.

If you do end up caulking, I’d only use 100% silicone. That area you’re caulking is considered a continuously wet location and latex caulk (they call it siliconized) isn’t rated for such.

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Unread 11-18-2021, 07:58 AM   #10
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IMO, clean out any loose bits of mortar, mold, gunk and flush with clean water. Towel dry the joint then let the rest thoroughly dry for at least a day.

Mask off the wall tile and the drain flange with tape - anywhere you don't want the silicone caulk to be, then caulk it. Let the caulk cure for 24 hours before using the shower.

That wall/drain flange junction is likely to continue to be a maintenance challenge, caulking or not. After a shower water just sits there, any water running down the wall once the water is off also collects there. If the drain flange itself sits above the tile surface water collects there too. In one of your photos it appears that the front of the drain grate sits a bit above the drain flange. All that to say I think the only way to control the issue is to squeegee or towel dry the area after showering.
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Unread 11-18-2021, 09:39 AM   #11
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As has been said, use ONLY 100% silicone sealant. That siliconized stuff isn't even close in quality and durability. It's only used as an economy choice, nothing else. It's also simpler to install as it is water cleanup. However, there is a reason silicone exists! Some silicones come with an anti-microbial agent added (like Microban) which will give you a few years of extra protection until that features wears out.

I have a similar transition in my shower, and my silicone sealant has been holding up fine (I used Latasile!). I just squeegee and rarely towel-dry (even though that is the best for keeping it clean long term). Once a month I use an old toothbrush and clean my silicone joints. They've kept clean for two years now. Occasionally, I will apply a non-acidic tile and grout cleaner to get this joint really clean.

Eventually, every silicone joint will become ratty looking in this environment, but I think you can get many, many years of good performance out of it.

Linear drains require more cleaning anyway, as gunk collects more easily in the channel compared to point drains. That's their biggest drawback from a maintenance perspective.
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Unread 11-18-2021, 05:28 PM   #12
Uvawkidd
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Thanks everyone. Does this drain look installed correctly? Or is this just a normal maintenance issue with these type drains?
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Unread 11-20-2021, 07:57 AM   #13
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Tough to tell from here, Jon, but with the exception of that one joint we've been focusing on it looks like it was done pretty well. Of course we cannot tell anything beyond the surface.

Any area that allows water to collect/pool means it will take longer for that water to evaporate, increasing the chance for mold/mildew to grow, and some hair and skin care products provide another food source. The faster you can get the shower to dry the less maintenance it will be.
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