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Unread 06-03-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
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Water behind caulk, wet grout lines

Howdy all,

I've tried searching the forum for this but couldn't find the answer to some of my questions.

I built my first shower enclosure about 4 years ago using cement backerboard, MegaBond thinset, and ceramic tile. the tile walls are built around a Sterling shower pan that I bought at Lowes. For some time now, I've noticed that the grout near the bottom of the shower will never dry, and seems to be getting worse. The bottom 1 inch of grout, that starts 1/8 inch above the pan, has always seemed a little wet, but now the entire horizonal grout line above the first row of tiles seems wet also.

I remembered that when I did the grout, which is sanded and has some sort of MicroBan milk-like additive mixed with it, the grout was pretty dry in my bucket by the time I got to the bottom of the shower, so I suspeced I needed to replace that grout. After cutting through it with a grinder and removing the caulk I had between the tiles and shower pan, I realized there was a small amount of water behind the wall.

One question is about the pan. It has a small "U" shaped valley on both sides of it where the tile meets the rim. Is that some sort of weep hole? I've always caulked over it before, thinking it was for a shower enclosure system that I didn't buy. Should I leave it open so that this water can evaporate?

I had sealed the grout very well several times, but it has been a while since I've done it. I'm going to replace the grout in those areas and use a 100% silicone caulk and leave that "U" channel open to see if that fixes things. Any other advice?

Thank you!
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Unread 06-03-2011, 12:27 PM   #2
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Hey Adam,

I notice you don't mention any type of waterproofing in your shower construction? Did you put the cement board directly on the studs, and then tile directly on the cement board?

What about where the cement board meets the tub flange?

I hate to say it, but I think fixing the grout is only a temporary solution and will not fix your problems.

If I could Kerdi my whole house, I would.
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Unread 06-03-2011, 12:36 PM   #3
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hi adam, that is definately a weep hole. there is a track that runs around the fiberglass and weeps out them holes on each side. there is a builder here that uses em alla time and his installer (not me i swear) was packing them with mortar, greenboard was rotting up the wall. plumber said track is part of the shower system (if done right). hopefully the whole track isn't packed. i put a coffee stirrer in them, caulk, then pull the stirrer.you still need to find out where it is getting in and fix it.

"just keep stickin' 'em" - Pat Reagan

Last edited by vrusso123; 06-03-2011 at 12:49 PM.
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Unread 06-03-2011, 01:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the follow up. I'll leave those holes open when I redo the caulk and hopefully whatever water is getting in there (I suspect very slowly), it will now evaporate.

I'm drying out the shower now with a large fan over the next couple of days.

Could grout that was too dry before it was used be allowing water in? That's the only thing I can think of that is letting this water weep behind the wall.

I didn't use any kind of waterproofing. Honestly, I used a DIY book and either missed that part or it wasn't there, but I have seen those waterproof membranes on HGTV, etc. Wish I'd known.

Good tip with the coffee stirrer.

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Unread 06-03-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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Before proceeding with the grout and caulking, read our handy dandy grouting tutorial and the caulking tutorial in our library.

You'll be glad you did.

For when DIY isn't such a good idea...
Houston TX area Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

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