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Unread 07-22-2022, 05:05 PM   #1
Jenney
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Changing color: Carrera shower floor

SOS: Just renovated -Wondering if any one had this experience and thoughts on what could cause this ? Marble shower tiles - originally predominantly white ( see photo ) - are just darkening and turning dark grey all around the edges of the shower stall and at the drain. The tiler, maufacturer, retailer does not know why. Just trying to get a straight answer. This was the most expensive part of the bathroom reno and imho should not look blotchy. Tiler has come back to clean it - not grout haze. Thought the job was finished a month ago/ tried cleaning it today. She is suggesting enhancer - which I think will only make the blotchiness more prominent. Used grout that did not need sealer additive ( Laticrete Permacolor Grout )and the final job was not sealed - per the tiler and maufacturer. I would just like to understand what is going on here and what the options may be. Thank you in advance for any thoughts you may have.
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Unread 07-22-2022, 05:51 PM   #2
Davy
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Hi Jenney, welcome. White marble turning dark is usually caused from moisture. Do you have any details on how this shower was installed? Was it tiled over a traditional pan liner and mud bed?
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Unread 07-25-2022, 12:10 PM   #3
Jenney
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Hi Davy - TY so much - glad I found this site : ) Trying to figure out exactly how this was constructed and will get back to you. I know that Schluter was used - thought not sure what parts. Have been told by two people that Schluter with marble shower tile is a bad idea. Any thoughts on that ? Anyhow, I have decided to not use the shower and - day three - it does seem to be drying out a bit and some areas are back to the original color. My very uneducated guess is that water is seeping in from the perimeter and around the drain as that is where the color change is happening. Tiler is apparently coming on Friday - but not going to let her do anything until I fully understand what is actually going on here. She is talking about Enhancer ( ? ) which I highly suspect will only worsen the problem. Right now I am thinking that I am going to let it dry until it is back to original color ( if that works ) - and maybe (?) an epoxy caulk should be used around perimieter and around drain / tiles should be sealed twice. Any thoughts on that ? Thx again for your help with this : ) Jenney
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Unread 07-26-2022, 12:01 AM   #4
Tool Guy - Kg
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Hi Jenney,

Quick answer:
Unfortunately, this isn’t an uncommon problem. Stone tile in a shower is susceptible to this issue, especially on the floor and the bottom row of wall tiles. More so with showers built with a surface waterproofer (vs. traditionally built showers with porous mud bases that have waterproofing under the mud pan and behind the wall substrate).

Moisture issues:
The moisture can get in through the face of the tile, through the grout and into the edges of the tile, or through the grout and into the bottom of the tile. That means that changing your caulk by the drain or at the perimeter won’t do anything to improve your situation. By the way, while you can get epoxy grout, epoxy caulk isn’t a thing. The whole reason you have caulk is to have a material that flexes/deforms between two different materials or at a change of planes (like wall-to-floor, or wall-to-wall) where slight differential movement between the two won’t cause an unsightly crack.

General thoughts on sealer:
Sealer is probably the most misunderstood product when it comes to tile. Sealer is meant to clog the pores of tile enough so that if you spill a potentially staining liquid on the tile, you’ve bought yourself a few minutes to clean it off before it gets past the sealer to cause a permanent stain. Sealer is not meant to keep moisture out because it’s not capable of doing so to a high degree. You may then say, well…why not use it? What can it hurt? Won’t it do some good? While most modern sealers are breathable and will allow moisture to evaporate that’s gets into the tile or grout, they tend to slow down the process enough where it causes more harm than good. You think it’s taking a long time to dry this unsealed shower out now? Wait until you seal it and moisture gets trapped again…it’s going to take even longer to dry.

Contradictions in applications:
Depending on the tile, the application, and the sealer itself, the “rules” of sealing can also seem contradictory. For instance, there is a such thing as 6-sided sealing of tile to try preventing this moisture-darkening problem, but you need to be highly aware of incompatibility issues that make the thinset mortar not stick. And it’s not guaranteed to work…it might make the moisture problem worse by slowing down the evaporation of moisture that gets in. And it’s nearly impossible to do on tiny mosaic tiles without them falling off the mesh netting. And it’s a moot point for you, as your shower is already built.

Different types of sealer…generally, there are two:
1) an impregnating sealer that, once cured, leaves the stone indistinguishable from an unsealed stone….and
2) an enhancing sealer which generally darkens the natural stone to the color it changes to when you wet it with water. This enhancing sealer would mask your problem by darkening all of the tiles. However, I can’t see how matte or polished your tiles are. A polished marble face doesn’t usually like to absorb sealer. I wouldn’t use any sealer on almost any shower, but if you try this…please do a test before committing to the whole thing because you cannot realistically reverse the process.

Onto the next topic:
A surface waterproofing membrane under natural stone tile in a shower may contribute to more tile-darkening issues like you have than a traditionally built shower that has a porous “mud” base, but…
…natural stone tile in a shower is a gamble. There are plenty of pros that absolutely will not install natural stone in any shower, irrespective of what method of waterproofing is used, because of the very problem you’re having. No matter how pretty the tile looks in the tile showroom and no matter how much the salesperson claims that they “have never heard of a problem like this”, a certain percentage of pros will not engage in installing it. The problem you’re having is not predictable…sometimes it’s a problem and sometimes it’s not.

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Unread 07-26-2022, 10:12 AM   #5
John Bridge
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Hi Jenney,

I might have a cure if the water flows freely to the drain and doesn't pool up anywhere. It's possible to tile over the marble floor with porcelain tiles. The Schluter drain will actually adjust upward.

I would not try the enhancer. Most of them on the market cannot be undone if you don't like the result.
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Unread 08-23-2022, 02:31 PM   #6
tstex
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Your marble tile prob came in a certain amt of sqft/group.

Ask you installer to give you a sqft of the exact some marble tile, then wet it in the consistency of a shower, then place it on a shower bench or somewhere else. Essentially, you are trying to duplication the same issue on the sample as your current shower floor. then if you want to do any testing, you have something that didn't damage your shower floor if the testing goes bad.

as stated from experienced forum members, marble flooring just might not be the way to go...let us know how it turns out for you? good luck
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