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Unread 01-04-2019, 08:47 AM   #1
wbrooks
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Thoughts on why my casa bianca marble is turning grey

I'm the homeowner. We did a liner, no per-slope -> then concrete sloped mud bed --> then the "pink water proof membrane" all the way to the drain. Afterwards we did two coats of Miracle Sealants 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealer. We took showers for maybe 10 days and watched this grey circle grow around the drain. This picture is now 10 days dry and the circle is not shrinking (drying out).

I've watched a lot of Youtubes from tilemasterga & StarrTile. More then I care to admit. Anyhow, I am told the weep holes may be clogged by the tile distributor. What I can't understand is how the weep holes would even come into play yet (only 10 days or so in). My GC thinks we used the wrong sealer.

Surly no water made it thru. the tile/grout and then past the pink membrane, down through 2-4" of concrete to even get to the weep hole in just a few weeks!?! Doesn't make sense to me.

Anyhow, has anyone dealt with this? Will it dry? Did we use the wrong Sealer?

Lastly, what makes this bizarre to me is this "wet or grey look" spot on the wall. Can't see how that got wet behind the tile?

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Unread 01-04-2019, 10:50 AM   #2
speed51133
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few things...

unfortunately, Starrtile does NOT follow industry standards. He makes up his own standards which directly contradict plumbing code and the tile council of north america's standards. Proceed to UN follow him and delete any tips and tricks from memory that you learned from him. People on this forum will recommend procedures that are specifically endorsed by plumbing code, the product manufacturers, and the Tile Counsel for North America, aka TCNA. Starrtile simply thinks code and the TCNA is full of crap and manufacturer's instructions are also full of crap, mainly intended to sell more stuff and just change out tried and true methods. While it is true that methods and codes change over time, I tend to agree with people here that they change for a reason, a good one.

The big thing is laying a membrane directly on the floor. You should have a slope FIRST, then liner, then another slope to embed the liner onto which you tile.

The next thing you did wrong is use liquid membrane on top of your constructed mortar slope while concurrently using a liner. It is one or the other. Meaning, you either use no pvc liner, one slope, and a topical membrane (either liquid pink goo or a sheet membrane), or a first slope, liner, then second slope. Both the manufacturer of the pink goo and PVC liner you used (likely redgard made by custom building products and a PVC membrane by Oatey, respectfully) have detailed instructions on how to use their products. It appears that you followed a combination of Starrtile's recommendations combined with some improvising (never saw Starrtile use both a liner on the floor and redgard on the floor above the liner).

I suspect one or both of two things...
1. since you used a pvc liner with no slope under it, the mud bed is saturating and water is not draining. Marble is very porous, and is wicking it up. Your miracle sealant is only on the top of the marble, and even that does NOT make it waterproof. It simply HELPS resist water. Since you also applied the pink goo on top, it is making it EVEN HARDER for your saturated mortar slope to evaporate out. Likely water is soaking in around the drain area and that is why it looks the worst there. Maybe your drain is elevated above the liner and pooling water there as well. Your weep holes are also probably plugged.

2. Since marble is so porous, it could be simply staining like that regardless of anything else. Since it happened so fast, water must be pooling in those spots and soaking into the marble. It would probably happen over time anyways, but gradually and even across all the marble, so you wouldn't notice it as much. This is why marble is a poor choice for showers.

Good luck. BTW, I am NOT a pro, but experienced DIYer.

edit:
I just noticed you put the PVC membrane all the way up the walls, practically to the ceiling. That is a new one for sure. You also put the pink goo on top of the wall board creating a double-layer of waterproofing. Like mentioned above, it is one or the other, not both. Using both causes problems, not to mention the PVC liner is totally not needed up the walls...

I also noticed nails/screws on top of the curb. This is another huge no-no. How low on the walls were screws and nails used? These fastener penetrations should never be below 3 inches from the TOP of the curb within the shower. You can use them on the OUTSIDE edge of the curb, outside of the shower. Since you also used redgard, IDK, maybe it doesn't matter????

Did you use any fiber tape on the wall board seams and corners prior to applying redgard? Did you embed the tape with thinset mortar? What kind of thinset mortar did you use?

I also see plywood on the back of the shower niche. Was redgard applied directly to this?

There really is lots wrong here. I suspect more problems will manifest with time.....
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Unread 01-04-2019, 12:12 PM   #3
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Can you provide some more information on how this was constructed? From what I can see, you've created a moisture sandwich and possible an incorrect way to apply Redgard on the shower floor, in particular where it ties in with the drain.

Natural stone is beautiful but inherently fraught with trouble, in particular in a wet application. By sealing your stone you've made it more difficult for it to dry out. Regardless of what you do, you'll probably have to get used to the wet spot on the floor. Many shower marble floors look like that. Plus, white marble such as yours often contains iron so that over time the water will cause red rust stains. Not much you can do if that happens. It might or might not happen with your stone. Nobody can tell.

I am concerned about the construction of the shower. Certainly not up to industry standards and appears somewhat creatively homespun.

Does that floor bracket go through the curb by means of a penetrating fastener? If so, this might be, over time, your next failure point.

Just like Mike, I am a DIYer, not a tile pro. But the pros will be along to give more advice, I am sure.
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Unread 01-04-2019, 03:46 PM   #4
jadnashua
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FOr chance, did they use a white thinset or grey? A light stone requires a white thinset.

While there is a method to use RedGard as a pan liner, I've not tried it, nor would I. It's a good product, but I think any of the liquid waterproofings are tough to get a good pan with and prefer a sheet membrane. For it to work properly, you must follow the instructions explicitly.
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Unread 01-04-2019, 05:25 PM   #5
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Others have hit all the points, how did you tie the redgard into the drain? Thats the main issue many times. People merely paint it all around and assume it will seal to the drain.
Sealer will also trap moisture under the tile and it will take even longer for moisture to evaporate.

I won't pile on, but whatever you do don't watch anymore Starr tile videos....
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Unread 01-04-2019, 06:06 PM   #6
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That is a definite moisture problem, pinpointing will be difficult. What is odd to me is the little area on the wall by the door hinge, I have seen around the drain before.
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Unread 01-04-2019, 06:14 PM   #7
wbrooks
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Thanks guys. I believe they used white thinset. Also, the area around the door hinge maybe explained b/c there is some cracks in the mortar (as if it has dried and shrunk up some). In spite of what all have mentioned, are we thinking this has to be ripped out? Or could a better sealer help?
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Unread 01-04-2019, 06:31 PM   #8
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Welcome, Will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will
Anyhow, I am told the weep holes may be clogged by the tile distributor.
I've never seen weep holes clogged by a tile distributor. It's usually part of the final deck mud that is responsible.

To be a bit serious, though, with no pre-slope and a traditional pan liner, I'd give you about a zero chance of that tile near the drain ever fully drying and I'd expect the stained area to expand with shower use over time. That would be especially true with your RedGard over the final mud bed dramatically reducing the normal evaporation through the tile installation.

The use of a "better sealer" not only won't help, it will likely slow any evaporation through the tile surface. Those penetrating sealers allow the passage of water vapor, but they do reduce the permeability somewhat.

If you paid someone to build this shower, that someone owes you a do-over using accepted industry practices.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-04-2019, 06:57 PM   #9
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Hi Will, I agree with the gang. I'll add this, sealer has nothing to do with the waterproofing of your shower. The waterproofing is under the tiles. Sealers will help keep the stone and grout from staining so quickly if something is spilled on it, that's about it. Many times, even something that is spilled will stain if left on it for a while, depending on the sealer used and what the spill is.

I believe water is going thru the porous stone and the Redgard is holding it against the bottom of the stone, saturating it and causing it to turn dark.
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Unread 01-05-2019, 11:01 AM   #10
eurob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wbrooks
Lastly, what makes this bizarre to me is this "wet or grey look" spot on the wall. Can't see how that got wet behind the tile?
Looks like the main control valve is just above the spot on the wall ..... maybe a slow leak or while showering , water is getting behind the face cover -- escutcheon -- .
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Unread 01-05-2019, 01:34 PM   #11
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Good catch Roberto, that could be a definite possibility for the spot on the wall.
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Unread 01-05-2019, 05:17 PM   #12
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Welcome to the forum, Will.

Sorry to hear. But you’re in good hands of folks giving you solid advice. I just wish we had better news and cheaper alternatives for you.

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Unread 01-07-2019, 11:43 AM   #13
wbrooks
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Again, thanks for all your feedback guys. Do you see any concerns with these materials being used? Not sure that was the thin-set used on the whole job or just the seams of the backer-board, but in any case, this may add to the mystery.
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Unread 01-07-2019, 12:34 PM   #14
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The materials aren't as much the concern as the methods are. As far as the area around the drain, that is related to the use of multiple waterproofing methods and lack of preslope. The spot on the wall may be due to a plumbing leak like Roberto mentioned. I would pull the trim plate off the shower handle and see if there is anything visible with the plumbing.
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Unread 01-08-2019, 06:40 AM   #15
speed51133
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Some people say yes, seal it. Others say no, sealing makes it harder for the tile to dry out when water is under it.

Pick your method. Keep in mind nobody here will say sealing is permanent or waterproof. It just helps resists stains where the sealer is applied.

I'd vote to not seal it, unless you seal all 6 sides and reapply to all sides 😋
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