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Unread 12-02-2019, 01:08 PM   #1
frede162
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Need help with grout issue

6 months after my house was built the grout is cracking/falling out in both bathrooms....pan and corners. The house is up on pilings 7ft. I know little about tiling. Spent hrs reading here, but not sure how bad the issue is. To the builders credit he said he'd look at it. Don't want to talk bad...just want to know if the job was done right so I know what to ask for.

From what I read here seems tile wasn't done correctly. First, I visited the Durock site and their IS states "prefill and tape joints" which was not done. Second, the corners were filled with grout not caulk to allow for expansion. Third, the Durock should have been painted with a water proof coating as there was no vapor barrier installed, or if a vapor barrier WAS installed the coating would (may not?) not be required. Fourth, only my observation, but the tile in the corners seems to be installed behind the adjoining tile (pls see photo) so the grout applied there was applied to the glazed (slick) part of the tile which could NEVER stick....am I correct?

I would be appreciative if you guys would have a look and tell me how bad it is and how much needs to be done to fix it.....be it a complete tear our, sanded caulk or something this non-expert would know about. Thank you very very much!
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Unread 12-02-2019, 01:48 PM   #2
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Some visible issues as I'm sure you've guessed.

1. "Flexible Sealant" aka 100% silicone caulk should have been used at inside corners and floor-to-wall junction. Normal differential movement, not necessarily movement in foundation. Dig out grout and replace with caulk.

2. Workmanship on the ACE side of things. Big gap at floor to wall intersection and sloppy grout application. Kinda subjective dependant on expectations.

3. There would appear to be a errant attempt at waterproofing on the floor. I see what looks like a traditional clamping drain and liner, coupled with what looks like Kerdi membrane. What might seem like a belt and suspenders approach is actually an invitation to your own personal swamp generated by two waterproof layers separated by a porous mortar layer. Commonly known as "moisture sandwich". Would cause me to question what's behind tile backer on walls.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 02:07 PM   #3
jim mclaughlin
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All of what Peter has said ....Any pictures of curb? From what I think I see that may ultimately be your main concern.

I believe I see cement board ...which was more than likely nailed / screwed through.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 02:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter
...two waterproof layers separated by a porous mortar layer.
And with all those grout cracks that mortar layer is almost certainly collecting water. Wonder if there's a pre slope and if the weep holes are open.

I see the cement board on top of the curb, too, Jim. Since there's no mud there must be CBU on the inside of the curb as well, both nailed or screwed.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 03:02 PM   #5
speed51133
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as mentioned, the basic construction of the shower looks like a hodgepodge of various products that are not supposed to be matched together.

That drain does not go with that foam pan. The gray liner does not go with that pan. I do not see how those two were tied together.

I do not mean that they are simply different manufacturers and you should stick with one, but they are actually designed specifically NOT to be compatible with one another.

Whoever build the shower either had no idea what they were doing, or had no idea what they were doing. I also see a bucket of drywall mud there. MAYBE used only to sit on or mix things, but I would not be surprised if actual drywall mud was used in the shower construction....

That is all besides the point of what you came here about. I would say you have way more problems to deal with and grout is not even one of them.

You have some good pictures for proof, do you have more? I would contact the builder ASAP and bring this all up (ALL, not just cracked grout). Was a flood test performed? Was this work done with permits?
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Unread 12-02-2019, 03:19 PM   #6
frede162
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Here's curb photos. Sounds like I have very big problems. Upsetting as this is new beach house....a 20 yr dream. Stinks because we were scammed out of $15k by a builder in '16. This time we interviewed 5 builders, narrowed it to 3 and visited 4 references each in homes built by each.

It looks I need to "ask" the builder to rip out both showers and tell him how to install correctly. Is that the consensus?
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Unread 12-02-2019, 03:56 PM   #7
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The builder will say a 5 dollar tube of caulk is the fix.

The problem is mostly how the shower was constructed. How often is it used? Again, was a flood test performed?

This was build 6 years ago???
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Unread 12-02-2019, 04:47 PM   #8
frede162
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Thanks to everyone for the replies I am digesting.

Mike, I have all permits signed off by the town.

I work in video prod...I shot video of the build start to finish and builder had no issue with it. I have video of him doing the tile work! Honestly, I believe he thought he was doing good tile work.....maybe tried doing himself instead of using sub? My wife and I both feel he's a good man. That said, I did pay for two correctly built showers. Unfortunately it sounds like I'm going to have to have a difficult conversation with him.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 04:52 PM   #9
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Mike,

The house was completed 6 months ago. It's under warranty. I sincerely hope caulk is not the suggested fix.

I was there a lot during the build but didn't see a flood test.

The showers will be used heavily 6-7 months out of the year.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 05:19 PM   #10
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Fred,

In one of your photos above you show a corner were two pieces of cement board meet, and that joint did not have mesh tape and mortar applied per the cement board manufacturer's installation instructions. In another photo the horizontal seams where one cement board is place above another also are not taped and mortared per manufacturer specifications (though maybe they did those when they got close with tile). What we cannot see is if any plastic sheeting was installed behind the cement board on the walls, but we can see that no type of water proofing was applied to the face of the cement board. Cement board, tile, and grout are not water proof and, with that electrical breaker panel behind the shower wall, I'd sure want water proofing somewhere.

In another photo you show where cement board was applied to the top of the curb, over the rubber membrane. Since nothing will stick to that membrane the only way to hold that piece of cement board in place is with nails or screws - which punctures the membrane. I reasonably guess the same holds true on the inside of the curb, which likely violates local building codes and manufacturer instructions. I'm certain the tiler's logic for the top of the curb is that it's covered with a solid surface material from end to end, but he cannot say the same for the inside of the curb.

The shower floor itself is also wrong, but we can't determine exactly how it was built. However, we can see rubber liner (which is fine if it is over a "mud" bed; a cement like, but porous to water, layer that is sloped to the drain - like a shallow bowl), a clamping drain assembly - correct for use with a rubber liner. We can't see what is on top of the rubber liner, but we can see Kerdi membrane on top of whatever is on top of the rubber liner. The liner is water proof, as is the Kerdi membrane. Also not right, as it can create a moisture sandwich as mentioned above, but doesn't necessarily spell catastrophe IF the liner was slopped to the drain, and if the weep holes in the drain are not clogged. Given what we can see I wouldn't be confident about the slopped liner or clear weep holes.

Sorry, it is a lot to digest given such a new build. All this can be corrected, of course, but not without pain.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 05:33 PM   #11
Lazarus
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Good evaluation, Dan. This is wrong on SO many levels, it hurts. Kerdi plus rubber liner plus cement board on curb plus PVC/FHA drain on Kerdi with ? for a preslope? A complete tear-out as far as I'm concerned....or maybe 5 or 6 tubes of caulking everywhere????
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Unread 12-02-2019, 07:04 PM   #12
frede162
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Thanks everyone for your input. I don't know where to start. I only partly understand what is wrong here. Pre-filling and taping the seams on the rock makes sense but how to correctly build and waterproof the pan/curb is not clear to me.

Should the rubber liner have been put down on sub-floor, then a mortar bed with the Durock down to the bed....the the seam filled with calk after tiling?

OR,

Should the orange base material have been laid on the sub-floor and the same material used for the walls in place of the Durock?
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Unread 12-02-2019, 07:33 PM   #13
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There are many ways to properly do it. What you have there is not even close to one of them.

With that drain and the rubber sheet... a sloped mortar bed is first constructed. Then the rubber sheet. Then another sloper mortar bed. This final mortar also forms the curb and encapsulates the rubber sheet in the curb. Then the durock is attached to walls. Seams all taped and thinset mortared. Then waterproofing applied on all the durock. Then tile.

The other way is with a different drain and all kerdi orange membrane.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 07:58 PM   #14
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Welcome, Fred.

Let me first assure you that it is not the mission of this website to disparage the work of others, but only to help our visitors do their ceramic tile work in a workmanlike manner according to industry standards. Or, if they're paying someone else to do the work, to ensure that work is done properly and that they're getting something very close to what they're paying for.


The folks that have been helping you here thus far have not in any way exaggerated the extent of your problems with this shower construction. I can see no way to correct what I see here without first tearing out what you have and starting over. Then you can either do the replacement correctly yourself with help from our all-volunteer army of helpers, or, if you are willing to let your building contractor try it all again, we'll be happy to help him also if you can get him to register here.

Whatever you decide, please don't let anyone tell you what you have can be repaired or corrected without major surgery.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-02-2019, 08:47 PM   #15
frede162
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CX,

Thank you for the welcome and for the eval. I remember you from '04.....you helped with my floor tile install. I followed your instructions and that install is solid to this day. Seems my email was purged....prob for non-use. At any rate, John Bridge was the 1st place I thought of for help.

Unfor this issue is large....two bathrooms nearly identical but two. To complicate they're under NJ Home Warranty. I pretty much have to go through the builder. I could hire someone for $6k or learn how to do it myself at a cost. The last two options could void my warranty....not sure there. My preference is to do it myself as I would do it correct and I'd better control the dust.

I too have no interest in disparagement - just looking for properly done tile work and guidance on how to get there. I am going to start with the builder and give him a chance to make it right. I will keep you posted.
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