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Unread 02-03-2010, 06:48 AM   #1
staceyneil
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Help solve MYSTERY? Marble tile shower floor always "wet" in some areas?

Hi there.

We just spent a lot of money on a beautiful custom tiled shower. The floor is calacatta gold marble mosaic. It was a huge splurge for us!

The first time the floor got wet, we noticed that the whole thing darkened as the porous marble and grout soaked up water. Then it dried and lightened to it's normal color again. Perfectly normal, we thought...

Now, after about 10 showers have been taken in it, there are spots that NEVER lighten. They remain "wet" looking, which shows as dark blotching against the rest of the dried, lightened floor. I have attached photos that show the tile more than 48 hours after the last shower.

other possible clues.....
- The shower base is a traditional mud base (built by one of your expert forum members!) which used a paint-on rubber membrane for waterproofing. (Sorry I don't know the right terminology...)
-The tile was at first unsealed, but after two showers (and after it was properly dried out of course) it was sealed using Miracle Porous Plus and Miracle 511. The proper drying time was allowed before using the shower again. At that time it looked fine... it wasn't until about 7 or 8 showers had been taken that this issue showed up.

Does anyone have any idea what is causing this? Or what we can do about it? It is so sad to see the beautiful shower floor (which was our big splurge!) looking like this

Thanks.....
Attached Images
  
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Unread 02-03-2010, 06:55 AM   #2
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It looks like there are two areas remaining wet, around the drain and against part of the back wall (in the pic). The wall area I'm unsure of why it stays wet, but the area around the drain, given the use of the liquid membrane, is staying wet due to the dry pack used to fill the divot. My best guess, anyway.
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Unread 02-03-2010, 07:25 AM   #3
staceyneil
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is there a cure?

Thanks Casey.

There are three spots, actually: around the drain, along the far wall, and to the left (in the picture) of the drain, which is directly under the showerhead.

If your theory is right, what does it mean? Is it OK or a cause for concern? Is there anything we can do to make it look better?

This floor is really the "showpiece" of the whole darn bathroom, and its a real bummer that it doesn't look right now...
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Unread 02-03-2010, 07:31 AM   #4
staceyneil
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Oh, crap.

Oh no! I just read another thread on this forum titled "permanent wet spot on shower tile floor" and one responder said, " If you don't correct the problem it will mold and mildew like crazy"

Is that true?!? The entire reason we had to do this bathroom reno was because we had a huge mold issue under the floor and it was making me very sick..... oh, no......

I am REALLY hoping someone says, "oh, this is nothing, and the easy fix is XYZ..."
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Last edited by staceyneil; 02-03-2010 at 07:42 AM.
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Unread 02-03-2010, 01:10 PM   #5
Edthedawg
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Stacey,

Sorry to hear (and see) your plight. You say this was a paint-on pan liner? Didja happen to see the pre-slope that was used for it? I'd be willing to put money on insufficient liner slope in a couple areas causing what you're seeing now.

And sorry but no - that doesn't have a cheap, easy, XYZ kinda fix.
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Unread 02-03-2010, 01:18 PM   #6
Houston Remodeler
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scratching my head

I'll throw this against the wall and y'all tell me if it sticks;

What about a layer of kerdi, kerdi fix to the wall, a drain extension, new floor tile?
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Unread 02-03-2010, 07:09 PM   #7
staceyneil
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Thanks...

Thanks guys.
Our tile guys was very meticulous; the shower was done with diligent pre-slope all the way around. It was waterproofed with Ultraset on the floor and up about 10-12" on the walls. The walls were waterproofed with laticrete 92-35.
We have a fan running on the center dark spot now, trying to see if drying it out might diagnose clogged weep holes, which I understand is a relatively easy fix. However, that wouldn't really explain the dark spots along the walls, would it?
I know our installer will stand behind his work and fix it, but, we need to figure out what the cause is first!
Any other ideas out there?
Stacey
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Unread 02-03-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
ob1kanobee
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It doesn't appear that there is enough slope on that shower floor from the pictures but hard to tell from a picture........

Does that drain have weep holes? Looks like a Schluter Drain to me.......maybe they are clogged? (if there are any)
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Unread 02-04-2010, 06:23 AM   #9
staceyneil
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Drain type

The drain is a Kohler drain. Can you tell from the specs whether there are weep holes or not? Here's the link... looks like the best drawings and exploded view are in "Installation and Care Guide with Service Parts" PDF...

http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatal...?item=13190702
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Unread 02-04-2010, 06:34 AM   #10
Davy
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Yes, that drain has weep holes. Even the small grooves near the bolts are weep holes.

Some stones will show moisture more than others. I would think if the weepholes were clogged, the moisture would be showing even more than it is. If it bothers you, let it dry out completely, might take several weeks and seal it with HMK S-34. This is a silicone sealer that seems to keep the moisture from showing.

I had a problem with some limestone a few years ago, almost had to rip out a whole shower because of this same reason. The S-34 was the only sealer that I could find that would not let the moisture show but yet still breathes.
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Unread 02-04-2010, 06:48 AM   #11
staceyneil
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Thanks Davy

Thank you Davy.

Can you explain why the dark spots would only be showing in these specific areas? The majority of the marble in the shower (which does absorb water and get darker when showering) dries out within an hour after showering, except in those areas. That's what I don't understand.... (edited to add: it was all sealed with Miracle Porous Plus and Miracle 511 in some areas when I ran out of Porous Plus...)

I would like to know whether there's an underlying problem that needs to be addressed before we go though that suggestion of a long dry period and then sealing. We have been without this bathroom since last March, and it will just break my heart to have to discontinue showering there for another month, especially if the problem doesn't get remedied just by drying/sealing...

I did put a level on the floor after ob1kanobee's suggestion. Most of the shower floor seems to have great pitch (the bubble in the level is all the way to the end of the little capsule). But at the back wall dark spot, the floor seems to flatten a bit near the wall. In other words, it has a nice pitch from the drain to about 4-5" from the wall, and then the pitch gets very shallow right there. The bubble in the level isn't completely within the marks, but about 2/3 within them. Could that cause a problem do you think? Is there any way to tell for certain whether its causing a problem? What would the fix be if it were?

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Unread 02-04-2010, 06:54 AM   #12
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what does your installer think?
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Unread 02-04-2010, 06:54 AM   #13
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I'm thinking maybe insufficient slope at the two spots against the wall, so those areas are so flat that the water doesn't run downhill to the drain. I do think, assuming the divot method was used, that even without clooged weep holes that the drypack used to fill the divot remains moist and keeps the porous stone wetter longer than the rest of the floor.
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Unread 02-04-2010, 07:17 AM   #14
staceyneil
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I'm not experienced enough to know whether what I'm seeing on my level is OK pitch in those areas, or not. But if they're not OK, is fixing them -increasing the slope there- a huge ordeal? Seems like it would have to raise the entire edge all the way around in order to make the horizontal joint between wall and floor consistent... ugh that sounds major.

Casey--- Are you saying that the dark area around the drain, at least, is inevitable and cannot be remedied, even if we get rid of the outer problem zones? That the dry pack will always hold water? Won't that get nasty/moldy over time? I just don't get it.... people use marble mosaic tile for shower floors all the time, and in all my research about materials I never heard about this constant dark spot. Can some other material be used to ensure better drainage?

Scott- my installer is puzzled as well. He asked me to keep a fan running last night and today to see if we can dry out the middle, at least, and see if that helps diagnose clogged weep holes. He hasn't seen it in person yet, though, just through the photos you guys have seen.

Argh.
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Unread 02-04-2010, 07:34 AM   #15
Brian in San Diego
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Reading this brings home a point that I think many overlook. You are dealing with a natural (not man-made) stone. Each stone is not necessarily going to be the same as the piece next to it even if they are 1x1 pieces. Perhaps one could get reasonable results from stone but I think there are variables over which no installer can have control. A ceramic or porcelain will have much more predictable results as they are made by machines to certain degrees of uniformity with regard to chemical composition, size, firing, etc. No such "standards" are in place for natural stone.

When I joined this forum early on I commented on a limestone shower that Davy built. My immediate thought was that even though it was really beautiful I was concerned what it was going to take to maintain it. Too many variables for my taste.

Hopefully you will find a solution that is acceptable.
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