Waterproofing grout in shower


  #1  
Old 01-15-07, 06:21 PM
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Waterproofing grout in shower

I have a tiled shower in my house that's been giving me constant headaches due to water getting through small cracks in the grout and causing a lot of problems. What is the best way to completely waterproof the grout? I've read that there are acrylic grout additives that can be added to further waterproof grout, but the directions for the Polyblend grout I've been using specific states not to mix with any additives. Should I switch to a non-polymer grout and mix in the acrylic additive instead? Would this help in preventing the grout from future cracks? In addition, I've been using Tilelab water-based sealer to seal the grout. Would a solvent based pentrant be more effective?

Thanks for any advice in advance.
 
  #2  
Old 01-16-07, 07:21 AM
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McPhreak

If you are having water problems in your shower, grout or anything you do to the grout is not going to solve them. A properly built shower wont have water problems because there are cracks in the grout. Tile and grout are not what waterproofs a shower. If you want a waterproof shower, there are solutions for that but all of them are done underneath the tile and grout, not over. Can you give us some details on the construction of your shower and what water problems you are having? What is behind the tile, - sheetrock, cement board? Was a vapor barrier used on the walls? Where are the cracks in the grout, on the shower floor, shower walls? Where is the water leaking from, the walls, the shower pan? How old is this shower?
 
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Old 01-16-07, 03:40 PM
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The entire house is about 2 years old. The shower is tiled along the floor and walls. The water seems to be seeping in from a small step (tiled) that is underneath the swinging shower door (i.e. what you step over when you walk into the shower). Underneath the tile here is simply a wooden beam which forms that step. After showering, I've noticed that the grout between the tiles on both the inside and outside of this step is wet. The cracks in the grout are on this step as well as where the step meets the shower floor (should be caulked, I know.). After 2 years, the drywall outside of the shower where it comes into contact with the grout from the step has some water damage. Other than that, I don't have much extra info about what's underneath the tile.

Thanks for any advice you might have.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 01-16-07 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Quote removed. It is not necessary to quote an entire post in order to reply.
  #4  
Old 01-17-07, 08:27 AM
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Is the entire shower floor tiled, or is there a prefab shower pan in the shower?
 
  #5  
Old 01-17-07, 06:13 PM
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Entire floor is tiled.
 
  #6  
Old 01-21-07, 08:17 AM
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McPhreak

Is sounds like your shower was not built right. There should be a pvc or cpe liner that extends over that curb. That way, when water finds its way through the grout and tile (which it always will) the liner directs the water back into the pan. Check out the pictures and info at this link to see what Im talking about.

http://www.ontariotile.com/showerliner.html
 
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Old 01-29-07, 09:00 AM
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Thanks for the link Heresjohnny. There's definitely no liner under the tile on the curb (don't know about the shower floor though). I was incorrect about the curb in my last post. The wood piece on top is actually there to level the top of the curb. sitting underneath the wood "cap" is some sort of board (greenboard I think). Underneath that, I don't have a clue.

Is my shower fubar'd and is there any relatively "quick fix" for sealing the curb or do I need to have my shower completely redone?
 
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Old 01-29-07, 12:46 PM
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Is this shower on a concrete slab, or is it on a framed floor with basement, crawl space or living space under it?

If theres a pan liner on the floor it should also go over the curb. Its possible that the greenboard you refer to on the curb was nailed over the pan liner. If this is the case the contractor nailed through the liner which is not good. Is the curb the only place the shower is leaking?
 
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Old 01-29-07, 03:09 PM
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The shower is on the second floor. The only reason why I know it's leaking is because there's a nice little stain in the ceiling of my kitchen that would drip water every time my roommate took a shower. Since there were cracks in the grout, previously, I simply regrouted the tiles and that seemed to stop the leak for about 8 months or so until I noticed more extensive water damage.

I'm pretty sure the leak is coming from the corners where the curb meets the wall and floor of the shower. When I removed the tiles on the curb, there's just a big gaping hole in the corner.

I will try and get some pics up tonight so you can get a better idea of what's going on. Thanks for your help.
 
  #10  
Old 01-29-07, 03:32 PM
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Pics will be helpful.
 
  #11  
Old 01-29-07, 04:45 PM
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Ok, here we go. I just took some more pics and while I was snapping the pictures, I did notice that there is what I think to be a liner underneath the greenboard/cementboard(?) See red arrow:

http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/5981/img3871ml3.jpg

It is very plastic feeling. However, they might have punctured the liner with nails which you can see at the green arrows. These nails are to secure a metal corner piece you see in the pic.

Here is the opposite side:

http://img409.imageshack.us/img409/7513/img3872nu5.jpg

You can see the wooden "cap" I was talking about in my previous post used to level the curb. Again, they used nails or screws to secure this wooden piece in place. I believe the majority of my troubles is coming from the gaping hole where the green arrow is in the pic.

Here is a pic of outside the shower. You can see the damage it has caused to the walls near the shower.

http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/5883/img3874qq5.jpg

If you need more pics, please let me know. Thanks for your help!
 
  #12  
Old 01-29-07, 06:35 PM
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I can get the first two pics but the third one doesnt come up. Id start out by removing the door and framing thats sitting on the curb. Remove everthing on that curb that is covering the liner (wood, drywall) and then come back here with pics of that. I suspect that the liner over the curb has several problems, one of them being many holes in the liner. Once the wood under the liner gets wet, it swells and the result is cracked grout and loose or cracked tile. The liner should go all the way over the curb and should be tacked to the curb on the outside wall of the curb. There should be prefolded corner pieces of the same pan liner material at the top of the curb where the curb meets the walls on the inside of the shower. Instead of the drywall and wood on the curb, the curb should have been covered with lath and then mudded with fat mud (masons mix). After you remove everything from the curb we'll be able to tell what your dealing with for sure. When you see this kind of work it starts to make you wonder what else they did wrong. Since they used greenboard or drywall on the curb, they probably used the same on the walls instead of cement board.
 
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Old 01-29-07, 07:01 PM
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Yeah, I quickly learned that the guy who tiled my house sucks. I have a couple cracked tiles on the floor in my other bathroom due to him trying to place tile right onto a seam between two pieces of plywood. But that's another story...

I think the 3rd pic finally works now. Try it again. It's just a shot of the wall on the outside of the shower.

I'm very hesitant about removing everything on the curb. As you can probably tell, I'm not very experienced in bathroom tiling and I'm afraid I won't be able to put things back together again correctly. I can lay a few tiles and grout and caulk, but that's about the extent of it. So you think it would it be a better idea to hire someone to correct this problem? If so, what do you imagine the cost would be for this sort of job?
 
  #14  
Old 01-30-07, 02:22 PM
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You'll need to get everything off that curb to see how that liner was installed and where its leaking. You may need to take some tile off the walls where the walls meet the curb as well. Maybe it can be patched, and maybe not. If you're not up for the task then you'll have to hire someone to do it. Make sure that the person you hire knows and understands how a shower should be constructed. Hiring a "handyman" may make things worse. As for cost, it really depends on what the installer you hire finds wrong, and what he has to do to fix it. Its pretty much impossible for me to say.
 
  #15  
Old 01-30-07, 02:50 PM
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You want to do it for me? Jersey's not too far away from Maryland.

Thanks for all your help. You've taught me quite a bit about shower tiling and hopefully this story ends on a positive note. We'll see how things work out from here.
 
  #16  
Old 01-30-07, 04:41 PM
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Keep us posted as to how this turns out. If your uncomfortable with any of the issues with the person that works on this for you, come back and ask more questions. Good luck.

I have a nephew that lives in Maryland. When I go down there to visit him I bring my golf clubs and leave my tools at home.
 
 

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