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Unread 04-11-2014, 03:52 PM   #1
DCSinDC
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Repairing Grout not sure whether sanded or not

Hi, I've read other threads about sanded vs. unsanded, but these seem to be mostly for new construction. I have a handyman coming over tomorrow to repair the grout in my bathroom, both the floor and in the shower.

The schedule of work for when this was all installed in 2010 called for unsanded grout, but I don't know if the contractor followed the schedule, since the tiles are 1/8" or less apart from each other.

Underneath the floor I have coil heating which is great in the winter but which I fear has contributed to the deterioration in the grout. You can see huge gaps in the pics I am attaching below.

Question: Since there is 1/8 inch or less between the tiles, I bought unsanded grout from the Custom brand. But if the original contractor used sanded, would using unsanded work? My sister suggested I buy both unsanded and sanded and let the contractor decide which one to use, as he will be able to tell which one was in there to begin with. But with all the cracking, maybe that is not the one to go with. That is, if they used sanded for less than 1/8" maybe that is part of the problem? I appreciate any advice you experts may have!

One pic is of the floor of the bathroom. The other is in the shower (wall shot). Ostensibly the same grout was used, although it looks a lot whiter in the shower!

Thanks,
Dorothy in DC
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Last edited by DCSinDC; 04-11-2014 at 04:18 PM. Reason: my pics didn't post
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Unread 04-11-2014, 05:39 PM   #2
cx
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Welcome, Dorothy.

Crumbling grout is not usually a problem with the grout, but more commonly a problem with the installation of the tiles or what they were installed over. Movement of the tiles causes most of the grout failures. What do you know about the structure under your tile installation?

The tile industry standards call for unsanded grout in joints of 1/8th-inch or less and sanded for joints of 1/8th-inch or greater.

Sanded grout is much stronger than unsanded grout and there are those of us who use sanded grout unless the joint is just too small to force it into or the tile surface is unusually sensitive to scratching.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-11-2014, 07:51 PM   #3
Davy
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I would take a close look at the wall grout in an area that is not cracking. Is it smooth or does it have a texture to it?
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Unread 04-12-2014, 02:21 PM   #4
DCSinDC
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Contractor thinks we should go with sanded

Does it matter which grout was used the first time when deciding whether to use sanded or non-sanded for the repair? The contractor is going to try to scrape as much of it out as possible. He says we definitely need sanded in the shower. I honestly don't feel any texture. Two of the tiles sound very hollow, so he's going to try to lift them out and redo them altogether.
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Unread 04-12-2014, 02:27 PM   #5
Richard Tunison
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CX
Crumbling grout is not usually a problem with the grout, but more commonly a problem with the installation of the tiles or what they were installed over. Movement of the tiles causes most of the grout failures. What do you know about the structure under your tile installation?
A different type of grout will not help a thing if the tiles were not properly installed.

Take a screwdriver and with the plastic handle end tap on All of the tiles and see what you get for hollow sounds.
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Unread 04-12-2014, 02:51 PM   #6
DCSinDC
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More than a couple hollow sounds...

You're right. Two of the tiles definitely sound hollow. Maybe more. My contractor is suspicious that they were not properly installed on a concrete base. We will find out on Monday if he is able to lift those two tiles out. I wonder if the coil heating that I had installed underneath the tiles could be part of the problem, though, too?
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Unread 04-12-2014, 03:27 PM   #7
Richard Tunison
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It certainly could be, but unless you know how it and the tiles were installed,,,,,,,,,specific steps and hopefully photos,,,,, we are just guessing.

Let's see what the tile removal reveals on Mon.
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