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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:09 PM   #1
gonathan85
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Grout Repair -- Found Water Trapped Under Marble Floor

Hello Forum!

We are renting a house from a family member. The bathroom and shower were remodeled/replaced 5 years ago. A marble tiled shower was installed over a new section of foundation and subfloor. The foundation and subfloor were replaced due to bad water damage from the previous shower.

When my wife and I moved in to this house, we noticed that the grout line where the shower walls meet the shower floor (perimeter of floor) had cracks in it. I requested that the homeowner have a tile person come out and look at it. No one came. Now, 3 years later, I finally decided to repair this grout line myself.

By this time, small sections of the grout line were missing, and the cracks had spread. The "interior" grout lines on the floor appear to all be in good condition. I'm guessing that the newer foundation/walls/subfloor settled over the last 5 years, and the grout wasn't flexible enough to move with the house, but cracked and separated instead. Sigh.

Using my dremel tool, and a grout bit, I carefully cut out as much of the grout around the edge of the floor/wall as I could. As I worked, I noticed what appeared to be moisture seeping below where the grout once was. Showering for 3 years with the grout in rough condition, I wasn't surprised to see this.

My goal was to use "siliconized caulking" designed for tile/stone to replace this grout line. I don't want to make this problem worse. I've been using paper towels stuffed down into the crack (see pictures) to try to "wick up" the moisture. 12 hours and many soaked paper towels later, I'm still getting soaked paper towels. (see pictures below)

What I want to know is...

1. Am I doing this right? Example: Attempt to dry moisture trapped under floor, replace grout line with siliconized caulk (Polyblend Sanded Ceramic Tile Caulk).

2. Is there a better way to try to dry up this moisture trapped under the tile?

3. Is the ceramic tile caulk the correct material to use to replace the cut-out grout line at this location in the shower?

4. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:09 PM   #2
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EDIT: The forum won't allow me to post pictures....
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:10 PM   #3
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Picture Attachment Attempt haha
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:15 PM   #4
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Nathan,

Welcome to the forum.

1- No. I'd never use a latex caulk in a wet area. It will mold in short order. Do use a 100% silicone. You can get grout matching silicone from the grout manufacturer or our buds at www.ColorRiteInc.com. Read the Silicone Caulking Tutorial a really cool guy wrote then tackle your project.

2- The water collection is normal for the type of waterproofing you have.Dig out the grout and caulk as you planned.

3- See #1

4- If you can take off the escutcheon plate and take a picture of the cross section of the wall that will help us too.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:23 PM   #5
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Welcome, Nathan.

How did you determine that the water at the perimeter of the shower is coming from the floor?

I'm gonna suggest instead that it may be coming from the walls due to insufficient mortar coverage behind the wall tiles.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:30 PM   #6
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Could also be from the use of an improper backer, such as sheetrock, and water that was being held within the wall is being released.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:32 PM   #7
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It is not at all unusual for grout to crack at the floor/wall or wall/wall junctions. Industry standards call for all changes of plane to be made with an expansion joint, and the more common way to do this is with caulk. If the tile is fairly thick, you can make that joint more reliable by using caulking (filler)rod (a rope of foam) behind the caulk (comes in various diameters to match your joint diameter and depth). This makes the caulk form more of an hour-glass shape instead of a rectangle and puts less stress on the adhesion to the tile, making it easier for it to stretch when things move without tearing away from the tile. It also lets you use less caulk and the foam is cheaper.

Keep in mind that neither the tile nor the grout is considered waterproof - moisture can and often does penetrate to behind. In most cases when industry standards are followed, most of that evaporates in between showers, but that may not always be the case.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 12:33 PM   #8
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I'm betting on the more common - non existent or clogged weep holes.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 01:56 PM   #9
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Paul, if the problem was with water collecting in the shower pan up to that level, seems we'd be seeing some evidence at the drain area, non?
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Unread 11-30-2014, 02:17 PM   #10
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Depends on how far down he found the water I guess.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 04:28 PM   #11
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Wow I am humbled and thankful for all the responses that I have received! I genuinely mean this - thank you.

Here is a picture with the escutcheon plate removed to help give you (and me ) an idea of how this shower was installed. If you need a different view, or a better picture, please just ask. I just realized that this will show you how thick the marble tile is = 3/8" ...just measured :thumbsup: .
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Unread 11-30-2014, 04:43 PM   #12
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I didn't find "standing" or even "pooling" water. What I found during the grout removal process was that in some areas, after the dremel bit passed through the solid grout, the remaining ground-up & powederized grout seemed to form a paste. This lead me to believe that there was moisture remaining below the grout after removal.

This was only in some areas in the wall/floor junction. Interestingly enough, these moist areas were where most of the grout was cracked and/or missing. These are also the areas that the paper towel wicking method I am using now seems to soak up the most water the fastest.

Edit: I googled weep holes to get an idea of what you guys were talking about. How can I check if they are filled-in or blocked?
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Unread 11-30-2014, 05:51 PM   #13
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Nathan,

What you have is a traditionally mudded shower with a vinyl liner pan. The moisture held in the upper mud layer is normal. Standing water a long time after a shower would be worrisome though.

Caulk away and have no worries.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 05:53 PM   #14
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The more common location for weep holes are through the clamping drain from the mudbed (most designs that use a surface applied membrane do not have or need weep holes). It's hard to tell if they are clogged unless you can actually see moisture dripping out of them in the drain after a shower. A common side effect of clogged weepholes is evidence of the tile and/or grout remaining wet starting at the drain, and creeping outwards towards the walls. If it is a heavily used shower, it could literally end up with a lake underneath the tile and everything would stay wet all of the time. To reach that situation can take months to years, depending on use and if the weepholes are fully, or only partially blocked. Ideally, it never happens if installed with care.

Some people advocate weep holes along the floor/wall junction, too. From your picture, it appears that they did a mudded wall - often the best way to get a perfectly flat/plumb wall, but not done all that much anymore because of the time and skill level required. Industry standards in a wet area like a shower require 100% thinset coverage on all edges and nearly that on the remainder of the tile to prevent voids or pockets where moisture can accumulate. If your tile on the wall has any voids, that can allow more moisture than normal to accumulate there. If that was the case, though, you'd often be able to see blotchy coloration on the natural stone tiles where they are wetter and dryer based on whether they are in contact with the setting bed or there is a void.

My preferred shower construction avoids drains with weepholes and walls that can absorb moisture by making it with a surface applied membrane. That way, there is very little that can get wet since the surface membrane stops anything from penetrating into the walls.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 06:46 PM   #15
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Jim I appreciate your time educating me on this. Next time I use the shower, I'll try to make sure and see if the weep holes are working as designed. I found where they enter the drain assembly by removing the drain screen cover.

Paul, if I'm not mistaken, you're saying I should return the tube of caulking that I have, purchase silicone caulking, and continue with the repair? I don't need to spend any extra time waiting for the layer under the tile to dry?

Thanks again for linking your silicone caulking guide .
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