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Unread 07-06-2021, 06:32 AM   #1
Lou_MA
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Grout joint weeping moisture

Looking for any thoughts on cause and solution.

I’ve got a single grout joint that’s been weeping moisture over the past couple weeks. We’ve had a good amount of rain recently but this grout joint is several feet away from foundation walls and the weeping is isolated to that one joint. All the joints around it are dry.

Install is about 1 year old, over a basement slab. I didn’t do a calcium chloride test on slab but did tape down several squares of plastic for 24 hours...no moisture collected under plastic.

Prep was 2 coats Hydroban, then 12 x 24 porcelain set with Laticrete Tri-lite and grouted with Mapei FlexColor CQ. Grout is still hard, color is still good.
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Unread 07-06-2021, 07:19 AM   #2
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Hey Lou,

Looks like a small (seeping) leak. No plumbing anywhere near? Can it be coming from the room above?
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Unread 07-06-2021, 01:22 PM   #3
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John - no plumbing above or below. The nearest plumbing would be forced hot water baseboard heat above 2’ away. And the seepage is isolated, there’s no trail back to the baseboard or anything else.
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Unread 07-06-2021, 09:19 PM   #4
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Lou, do you have access to a non-destructive moisture meter? You could map the moisture under the floor and that would likely point you to the source.
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Unread 07-14-2021, 10:16 AM   #5
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Any feedback on what was causing this? My curiosity has to know the reasoning.
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Unread 07-14-2021, 06:03 PM   #6
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Bubba - I don’t have ready access to one but am calling around to see if anyone I know does.

Justin - I dug the grout out of that one joint. Left it overnight and came down to find that water had pooled in it. But it was below the surface of the tile, it wasn’t as if water filled and overflowed out of the joint.
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Unread 07-16-2021, 02:03 PM   #7
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How in the world did water pool through two coats of hydro. One question turns into another.
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Unread 07-16-2021, 03:34 PM   #8
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Has me stumped. Grasping at straws here...

I’m usually paranoid about knife depth when cleaning thinset from joints but maybe I sliced the Hydroban?

Also, hydroban was only applied to within a few inches of the walls. Maybe water is coming up along the perimeter of the room and making its way under the tile to that one grout joint?

It’s very odd that it’s just one grout joint...
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Unread 07-16-2021, 05:21 PM   #9
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I've only seen one basement around my parts, and here they nailed PT 2x4's around perimeter about 4 inches away from walls, caulked and painted them-and the channel they create which drains to a 2' lower section under the stairs to which a pump is connected.

I say that to say someone knew alot of water is brought in from the walls around the basement.
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Unread 07-20-2021, 10:37 AM   #10
Sharon @ LATICRETE
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The source of the moisture would need to be addressed. From the info we can see, it is likely hydrostatic pressure that is building up under his basement slab, and is being exposed now due to recent heavy rains.

They may need to live with it, or if they desire could get an expert in their to determine if a sump pump is needed, or they may be able to remove the flooring and install a moisture mitigation layer prior to installing new tile to remedy that MVER in the future.

But, for this one; they may have to just wait it out, and unfortunately there is no magic fix or product that would truly remedy that much moisture build up until it is fixed by engineering means. Anything other then that would be putting a band aid on it, and it will likely occur again over time.

Here is our TDS 166 which may help explain this better.
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Unread 07-20-2021, 07:46 PM   #11
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Thanks Sharon, interesting article.
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Unread 10-16-2021, 06:38 PM   #12
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Here it is a couple months later and this darn joint is still weeping. Cleaned out the gutters, added gutter extensions, slightly re-graded the slope away from the foundation, and added several inches of mulch around foundation perimeter to help absorb rainfall.

Interestingly enough, it seems like it’s just *somewhere* along the 12” side. I cut out the grout at the intersecting joints, circled in red, and it’s dry.

I also cut out some random joints a few feet away in different directions and they’re all dry.

Question - does efflorescence ever, I guess, finish efflorescing? In other words, if I leave this be, will it eventually stop? I know a damp joint isn’t great either, but avoiding a pile of salt would be a slight improvement.
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Unread 10-16-2021, 06:50 PM   #13
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Depends on where the water is coming from...it's basically dissolved salts that get deposited when the water evaporates...if the incoming water has salt in it, it will just keep happening.

You might check the grading of the soil around the perimeter of the exterior foundation...ideally, it will slope away from the house for at least 6', and not pool there. A French drain might be an aid, too.

Where does the water line come into the house? Could it be running under that area? A pinhole leak could keep that area damp, and come up in that one spot.

Hydroban nor most any membrane like it, doesn't handle hydrostatic pressure underneath it well.
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Unread 01-01-2022, 10:10 AM   #14
Lou_MA
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Happy new year everyone. Still dealing with this same issue.

Question for folks smarter than me. Is “hydrostatic pressure” and “moisture emissions” the same concept?

Would it make a difference in diagnosing or addressing the continued salt deposits I’m seeing?
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Unread 01-01-2022, 10:59 AM   #15
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No. Hydrostatic pressure and moisture vapor emissions are very different animals, but it's my understanding that either could result in the salt deposits you're seeing if the MVER is high enough.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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