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Unread 04-06-2019, 10:43 AM   #1
capriceragtop
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At wit's end with TEC Power Grout

Ok guys, I'm taking a break from removing old grout from my shower floor. Again. For the third time.

First, the technicals:

4" hexagonal tiles with 1/16" grout lines
Installed on Kerdi floor pan
Approx 3' x 2' area

Ok, so the first grouting was done by a tiler. Between the time he finished and first shower use was approximately 6 months, as I was still working on the housing before moving in.

However, approximately a month after I moved in, I was about to clean the shower and got down on my hands and knees and noticed there were chunks missing from the grout lines. Not good, I thought, so I removed all the grout using a dremel and their 1/16" bit, and grouted again.

That grout failed, as it was more than a year old, and it failed within a week.

So, on the third grouting, I bought a new bag of the TEC Power Grout, Delorean Grey. I double checked my water:grout ratio and regrouted. I did notice the mix in the pail was still loose when I finished the wipe down, approx 1.5hrs after mixing. I waited a full week to cure, and used the shower. On the first use, it had chucks fall out, but this was actually excess on top of tile, not actually in the grout line.

It started losing chunks within a month.

Now, I'm taking a break during what is hopefully my last grout removal.

I plan to actually weigh out the powder, measure the water, and ensure I have my ratio 100% correct.

Is it safe to use a bag that was purchased new and opened approx 4 months ago? It has been stored in a home depot bucket with lid.

Any idea as to why my grout keeps failing? It doesn't run out, but literally comes out in chunks.

I wait the appropriate time between grouting and sponge wipe, and then again between sponge wipe and dry wipe with cloth.

I'm not new to tiling, and had zero problems grouting my kitchen floor with TEC Power Grout, but this is absolutely irritating.

Oh, and my girlfriend just moved in yesterday, so I would like this to be the absolute last time I do this shower.

Thanks for all the help!

EDIT: I should note, the area that washes out first is the one where the water impacts the tile as it flows out of the shower head
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Unread 04-06-2019, 12:05 PM   #2
Lou_MA
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Have any photos?

I’ve had problems with powergrout, but not chunks coming out. Did you vac the joints before grouting? Maybe they had dust or something else inhibiting bond.

What was the date stamp on the bag you used for third grouting? Weird that is was still loose 1.5 hours in.

And no, I wouldn’t use a bag that’s been opened for4 months. Especially given the problems, I would want the freshest bag possible, unopened and having been properly stored.
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Unread 04-06-2019, 01:51 PM   #3
capriceragtop
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Lou,

Date code is 4281010004, 2:22, 200. Or so I think.

Unfortunately, I have no photos. I've seen dried grout run before. This is something unique. It's as though the force of the water hitting it is causing it to break apart. My reasoning behind this is it is worst where I typically stand and bathe, so the water falls off me in the same area.

It's like the impact is jarring it loose.

And I'll take your advise and plop down another $45 for a bag. I hate to do it, but I'm tired of this stuff happening.

The shower floor is the only problem area; the original grout on the falls is fine.

EDIT: And yes, the floor was vacuumed regularly during the removal, as well as right before the regrouting.
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Unread 04-06-2019, 02:14 PM   #4
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Why not try a different grout? Unless you have an irrational love relationship with Powergrout, I wouldn't attempt it a fourth time. There are many capable grouts on the market. Depending on the color, you could find a close enough match for it to still look good.
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Unread 04-06-2019, 03:17 PM   #5
bellabella
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I would suspect the stability of the floor, since you said it has set properly on the walls. I wondered if the grout lines were deep enough but you said you have cleaned them out with a Dremel tool.
Definitely use a fresh bag of grout!

I would make a mockup using the tile and the grout (on Kerdi board if you have a scrap) and make sure it sets properly by soaking it in water after it has cured and banging on it to make sure it is solid.
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Unread 04-06-2019, 03:43 PM   #6
capriceragtop
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I have no loyalty to TEC, though I do like the notion of never having to seal or worry about future issues. Oh, the irony!

I'll check on the kerdi, though. I can't imagine that's the cause, but it is an unknown, and no other installation in the house is on Kerdi.

The tile was installed on the Kerdi using unmodified thinset, per Kerdi instruction
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Unread 04-06-2019, 04:31 PM   #7
Lou_MA
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Date code corresponds to Oct 10, 2018 so it should have been good, assuming it was properly stored before / after you got it.

As mentioned, many other grouts that don’t need to be sealed. Cement-based ones (like powergrout) include Laticrete Permacolor Select and Mapei UltraColor FA.
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Unread 04-06-2019, 06:54 PM   #8
Kman
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Power grout has had some issues. I used it a few times with success, but many haven't.

Since the same bag went bad for you both times, let's assume that's the problem and change grouts.

The other likely option is that there's some movement within the tile, so if you want to give details of the floor from the bottom up, we might be able to point out something.
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Unread 04-06-2019, 08:31 PM   #9
capriceragtop
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Sure.

House is a traditional foundation with crawlspace. The joists beneath the shower are doubled-up 2x10 or 2x12 on 16" center. On top of that is some 3/4" BCX plywood, which was installed with both construction adhesive and screws. I think the screws were every 6 or 8".

On top of the plywood, I installed a Kerdi shower pan, which I made sure was fully bonded to the plywood with thinset. Tile on top of Kerdi pan.

I tried to make this as bulletproof as possible, so it's frustrating to have this issue repeatedly
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Unread 04-06-2019, 10:00 PM   #10
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Hi Bailey sorry to hear about the grout problems. I have been using TEC Power grout since it came out on the market and never had an issue. You could try another grout like someone else suggested. I would make sure there isn't movement in the shower floor.
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Unread 04-07-2019, 06:21 AM   #11
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What size are the tiles atop the foam pan, Bailey?

I'll only say that I've used PG exactly once, onna back splash, and won't ever again, on anything. It hasn't failed, but I found it hateful to install - attributable to the installer perhaps.
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Unread 04-07-2019, 07:41 AM   #12
capriceragtop
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They're 4" hexagonal tiles, which come on a 12x12 mesh sheet.

How can I check for movement? I highly doubt it's the floor, but perhaps it's the Kerdi
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Unread 04-07-2019, 11:16 AM   #13
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Hi Bailey. Like the others said, I would bet on movement in the floor, possibly the foam or in the plywood.
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Unread 04-07-2019, 11:38 AM   #14
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Is it mesh on the backs of the tile or is that stuff that is stuck between the tiles? I had trouble with an install where the goupy adhesive did not allow for a deep enough grout line.
Also if its mesh mount its possible the thinset did not bond well to the mesh adhesive.
ANSI for mesh mount adhesives? TCNA are you listening?
Finally what kind of cleaner have you used in the shower? The grout might not like high acid cleaners.
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Unread 04-07-2019, 02:04 PM   #15
capriceragtop
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When I say mesh, I mean that thin white string type that most mosaic tiles come affixed to.

The shower cleaner is not a factor, as the grout has never lasted long enough to need cleaning.

The tiles were installed using unmodified thinset. It was Laticrete, either the 277 or 317, I think
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