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Unread 01-04-2017, 10:51 AM   #1
Al74
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New Ugly Shower

Had shower installed only months ago, now looking ugly. Looks like slate is bleeding color running down wall. Contractor trying to blame it on rust in water.Name:  20170103_091830.jpg
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Unread 01-04-2017, 11:10 AM   #2
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Sure looks like rust. If it were the slate, I'd imagine it would show beneath all the slate pieces in the area. I suppose it could be some stray steel in the mosaic, but can't say I've seen such.

Best guess is you have something producing rust at that point in the wall itself. Can you describe how shower was constructed? Construction progress photos would be even mo' betta.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 04:54 PM   #3
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Size:  28.8 KBThere is another spot where it looks like the color has bled into the grout or rust has spread or whatever, it's not as big or bad. It is higher on the wall and probably doesn't get as much water splashed on it. There is no drip and water that get's on it is just what is splashed off person taking shower. Lived in house 22 yrs never have had rusty water show up in toilet bowls or tanks, sinks, tubs, anywhere.
Don't have progress pictures. All new down to studs. Old shower torn out plumbling rerouted.
Thought they sealled all seams and screws in backerboard.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 05:38 PM   #4
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Hmmmm, that's a puzzle, Alan. If you have some mosaic scraps, you could dunk them and see if the stone produces similar. "Slate" covers a lot of ground in the stone world, could be high iron content in the stone itself, I suppose..

Other thought would be drywall screws used on backer which have a high carbon content and will rust quickly in the alkaline environment the backer presents.

Perhaps you remember seeing if plastic or building paper used behind backer against studs? I'm fishing for construction details. New from studs really doesn't tell us much. There's more than a few ways to build showers well and unfortunately many more to do them wrong.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 05:52 PM   #5
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I don't remember any plastic or paper between the backer board and the studs, but not sure. They sealled the backerboard seams and covered screws with something pink that I guess was suppose to waterproof them. I'm sorry I don't know more about construction, but that's why I hired a contractor. The grout was suppose to be stufff that wouldn't stain and didn't need sealling, so they didn't seal anything if that would make a difference.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 08:31 PM   #6
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Alan, that pink stuff was probably RedGard and the whole surface should have been covered per Custom's recommended practice. Why installers spot it the way you described is a mystery. Perhaps they can't read. Better than nothing I suppose, but isn't doing the job it was intended to do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG5GIqcYkSs

If you want to experiment I'd test the stone first, but I don't think I'd let the contractor off the hook just yet.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 08:42 PM   #7
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I've installed Chinese slate that had rust on the surface. We installed it on several balconies and once it got rained on, the rust would bleed into the grout joints. Is it possible that's what is happening in your shower?

I would scratch the surface on a few of the slate pieces to see if the rusty color will come off.
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Unread 01-04-2017, 10:05 PM   #8
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I installed multi color slate in a tub surround at one of my previous houses, I had a spot where the grout did the same thing. I agree with the high mineral content theory.
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Unread 01-05-2017, 09:13 AM   #9
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Who/How would I test the stone? I'd like to get a neutral oppinion. I think the contractor has already made up his mind that rust in my water is the cause just by looking at these same pictures even though there is no other rust showing up in this 45yr old house. Why would the supplier not agree with him as that gets them both off the hook?
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Unread 01-05-2017, 09:19 AM   #10
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I think it could also potentially be the fasteners. I have been on similar complaints where phosphate screws were used.
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Unread 01-05-2017, 09:39 AM   #11
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Alan, as far as a neutral opinion, I suppose you could hire another contractor or Dave Gobis, assuming you don't want to do the sleuthing yourself.

Here's something that might be informative. If you can get your hands on a strong neodymium magnet you could skate it over obvious points of discoloration. If there are screws in close proximity, it will find them. If that proves fruitless, I'd turn to trying to duplicate with tile samples.

I agree with you, that doesn't look like a rusty water problem, it wouldn't be localized like it is. My guess is your contractor knows that, but may wish to shift responsibility, which is unfortunately all too common. Do you know who his supplier was for the tile?
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Unread 01-05-2017, 10:19 AM   #12
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Supplier was Interceramic. I talked to them, they said that the contractor would have to contact his sales rep to initiate a process of investigation. I am just trying to maybe get my 2nd opinion first and learn as much as I can so I can recognize a line of bs should they give me one. I don't have any left over scraps of material to test, not sure how to test the stuff on the wall. After a shower once the wife decided to wipe the wall dry to maybe keep the stain from increasing. They grey tile below the red one flaked off very easily. Squish between your fingers it would just dissolve Name:  20161217_104520.jpg
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Unread 01-05-2017, 10:55 AM   #13
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IMO,it's iron oxide,within the slate layers. Like Davy,I too have seen it on the surface,and layers of certain slate products. Ive never seen it personally,the effects of such in a shower surrounding.

All that being said,I've never been fond of slate,from a wear n tear perspective(soft layered material being exposed to elements). I do like how the surface looks,when reflecting multiple colors/shades etc.
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Unread 01-05-2017, 11:00 AM   #14
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I think the possibilities have been described as best we can without being there. I can send you a magnet if you like. Fairly easy to source locally too, I imagine. Where are you?

Your description of flaking stone would seem to indicate an issue with the slate itself. By it's nature, I wouldn't describe slate as highly stable and depending on it's origin it can range into the not suitable for the installation category. With stone in general, you get what you get sometimes.

Interceramic is interested is selling goods and vetting the products they distribute would seem like a given, but I doubt it's done in many cases.

FWIW, many pros here would advocate not using natural stone in a shower. The little bit in that mosaic may prove to be the hair that broke the back of your shower camel.
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Unread 01-05-2017, 11:36 AM   #15
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I'm in Humble Tx. I can find a magnet. Like I said I don't know construction or materials. We thought we were getting a tile shower didn' t know there was slate in it until the problem arose. I thought it was just decorative tiles - that the contractor talked us into I might add. We had something differnt in mind and he sold us on this look. I do appreciate all the helpful advice.
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