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Old 11-17-2018, 06:32 PM   #31
makethatkerdistick
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So sorry to see this. What a yucky mess. Aside from the problems with the TEC grout, I wonder if it's just the travertine absorbing water and holding it long enough to provide an environment for mold growth. As you can see, the sealer is no guarantee that mold won't befall the stone and grow into it. Plus, you have Kerdi below, so minimal moisture retention under the tile and especially the floor.

I would conclude that this is a problem with the material (natural stone) used to tile this shower. I hope I am wrong.
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:06 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woldgang
Plus, you have Kerdi below, so minimal moisture retention under the tile and especially the floor.
Not sure how you can be sure of that, Wolfgang. If the tile were installed over mud or CBU walls and floor, there would be more allowance for wicking and evaporation on the back side of the tile installation than over a waterproofing membrane. You'll recall that it is Herr Schluter who says thinset mortars don't dry well between his membrane and tile.

Neil, all I can say is that the presence of that mold, and by inference, dampness, your shower is not drying sufficiently between uses. Whether that's because that vent fan system is undersized or perhaps not functioning properly or sufficiently, I cannot say, of course. But the bottom line is your shower isn't drying properly.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:07 AM   #33
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CX, I thought the conventional wisdom is that a surface membrane means less moisture retained below the tile and quicker drying times between uses.
Perhaps the OP's natural stone/grout assembly (which is heavily sealed) works more like a man-made tile, trapping moisture rather than releasing it between uses.
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:53 PM   #34
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Had a long, informative conversation with my TEC/HB Fuller rep.

Grout is a cementitious, in-organic product and cannot grow mold by itself. So it is likely soap scum, dead skin, hair, etc. that is staying "stuck" to the grout creating a food source. Makes sense.

So I have a 2-part problem. My shower was constructed correctly, so it only dries to one side so it dries slower than my previous, poorly built, leaky shower. The glass shower door with <1/16" gap around it is also an air/vapor barrier. So my shower is only drying from the top and hardly any air is moving at the floor. This also makes sense - I have a 5 sided waterproof box, with only the top and one wall being slightly shorter (glass wall) to help get water vapor out.

So the texture of the grout is preventing some of the soap-scum, dead skin, etc. from washing down the drain, and water is staying on the floor longer than desired. He said to reach out to the sealer MFG (Stonetech products) and see what they recommend for heavy duty cleaning. Once it is clean to try and leave the door open for a few hours while the fan runs after the shower. He said a higher powered fan would only help if it was directly over the shower. My current fan (100 CFM rated) is pulling a measured 81 CFM, and he said it should be adequate for my <64 sq ft bathroom. A larger fan would also likely require going from a 4" duct to a 6" duct and replacing the exhaust outlet on the exterior side.

Stonetech recommended their Mold/Mildew remover as a step 1 for my case. But to also get the soap scum remover and the revitalizer. It took 2 hard scrubbing + rinse downs to get the mildew/mold off the grout but it did wash away. They said to then continue weekly cleanings with the revitalizer - just a spray down and wipe up. Then monthly scrubbing with the soap scum remover.

We will see how this goes.

The other piece being the caulking... TEC rep was surprised to see mildew on 100% silicone caulking. None of the cleaners are removing it either. The said previous scrubbing may have introduced tiny ridges in the caulking and "gunk" is sitting there allowing for mold/mildew growth. The recommended removing and replacing the caulking. I am going to try that and hope for the best in the future... Not sure if weekly scrubbing will just bring it back though...
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Old 12-03-2018, 03:07 PM   #35
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What kind of soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair products etc. are you using in the shower?

Liquid shower soaps/gels are synthetic. This means bacteria and mold will not grow in it.

Natural, glycerin soaps and just about all bar soaps, and many skin/hair care products contain natural ingredients that are basically food for mold and bacteria. (coco butter, shea butter, coconut oil, etc).

You could try only using synthetic soaps and see how it goes....

how many CFM is your fan? I know you run it for a while... How big is the duct work on the fan exhaust? How long is the run? Try leaving the shower door wide open after the shower, that is what I do and I have a 210CFM fan with a 4 foot run on a 6in duct. It dries it all out in about 2 hours.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:13 PM   #36
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Mike,

Thanks for the input. My wife loves the LUSH products, which are natural, yadda, yadda, $$$. So that may very well be what is fueling the problem or making it worse. I started using it too since it is all solid (solid soap, solid shampoo, solid conditioner) and allowed me to get ride of the 3-1-1 when traveling for work. She is also all about cleansers and moisturizers which I remember being full of the shea butter, cocoa butter that you listed.

The house has been a comedy (the same way romeo and juliet is a comedy...) of errors since we moved in. The original bath fan was not pulling any moisture out, well, thats because it was exhausting directly into a polled up fiberglass batt. Lots of frost in the attic... Even though there were 2 roof vents for exhaust fans, they were never connected to the bath fans. We have since done a 1" spray foam lift (because roughly 25% of our attic had NO insulation...) and connected the bathroom fans to insulated 4" flex duct and the roof outlets. Not ideal, but what we could make work at the time.

We replaced the builder grade Broan 140db <4cfm exhaust fan with a Panasonic whisper fan rated at least 100cfm if not 110 cfm. After the spray foam lift we did a whole house assessment which included measuring the exhaust fans. That fan measured at just over 80 cfm. It was the biggest fan we could do with a 4" duct. EDIT: the run itself is just under 6' long. It goes straight out about 12-16", makes a 90deg turn and goes vertical to the outlet.

A new fan means disturbing the spray foam, next duct (straight pipe next time), new roof outlet etc. It will happen, just not now.

All things we assumed a home inspection would've caught. I would've done better doing it myself. He was "certified" and everything. Just goes to show you have trade has people who don't care and/or don't know what they are doing.
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:23 PM   #37
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80cfm is the bare minimum if you have one, single shower head and a smaller bathroom.

I still think the bigger the better, but that is just me.

I bet if you are using lots of the natural bar soaps and products in the shower, it is what is fueling the mold/bacteria. Doesn't mean you can't use it, but you have to clean more diligently and scrub the buildup off.....

EDIT
I just looked up a lush shower bar ingredients. See below. Basically you are dumping a sugary salad dressing in the shower. No wonder you have that funk in there!

Water (Aqua) Propylene Glycol Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao) Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) Organic Castor Oil (Ricinus Communis) Sodium Hydroxide Pear Puree (Pyrus Communis) Fragrance Glycerine Synthetic Fluorphlogopite Cardamom Oil (Elettaria Cardamomum) Brazilian Orange Oil (Citrus Sinensis) Sandalwood Oil (Santalum Austro-Caledonicum Vieill) Murumuru Butter (Astrocaryum Murumuru) Almond Oil (Prunus Dulcis) Organic Agave Syrup (Agave Tequilana) Citric Acid Titanium Dioxide Sodium Bicarbonate Tin Oxide Silica Citronellol Coumarin Eugenol *Limonene Red 27 Yellow 8 Iron Oxides Fair Trade Whole Organic Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllus)
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Old 12-03-2018, 04:54 PM   #38
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Neil, I don't see the size of your bathroom listed anywhere in the thread, but if you have an eight-foot ceiling, the usual recommendation is a minimum of one CFM exhaust for each square foot of your bathroom floor. I personally like more than the industry recommended 8 air changes per hour so long as it doesn't result in excessive noise.

I recommend you buy the quietest fan you can get because you're more likely to use it effective and controlling it with a timer makes a big difference, too.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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