Is grout always likely to develop mold?

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Old 02-29-08, 07:07 AM
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Is grout always likely to develop mold?

The bathrooms in our house are 30 years dated and have the small white tile around showers and tub. When we bought it, the grout lines near interface of tub and bottom of shower had streaks of black mold in the white grout. Nothing seems to get it out (have tried everything on market). I scraped out grout and regrouted when we moved in. Worked for a while, but mold came back. Does this indicate moisture behind the tiles or is mold inherent in grouted bathrooms. We will be remodeling both and I would like to come back with large tile, but I hesitate to use anything that requires grouting. I want something low maintenance and won't require scrubbing everytime you use it. Can you mold proof grout now where you couldn't back when? Any thoughts on grout and mold?
 
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Old 02-29-08, 09:06 AM
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Yes, that mold could indeed be indicative of mold behind the wall. You'll know for sure when you tear out the old tile.

As for "mold-proof" Do you have an exhaust fan? Is the cfm rating high enough for the size of the room? Do you wipe out the excess water when you've finished? Spray once a week with a bleach- containing cleaner?

The tub/shower surrounds are probably easier to keep mold from forming, but unless you're doing all of the above, mold will still form on the joints.

I'm a proponent of ceramic tile as opposed to the surrounds. I use a grout that had a mold inhibiting additive. I seal the grout after it's cured, and I do all those thing I mentioned in the second paragraph, but I've still had mold occur on the caulk joints. (Even though the caulk says mold-inhibiting, too!)

Let us know what you find when you pull the tile off.
 
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Old 02-29-08, 12:37 PM
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Thanks. There are no vents in either bathroom. Will definitely put them in when we remodel. We do use the spray but not all the time and we certainly don't wipe down after each use. We are not slobs, but we lead a life style that requires as little maintenance as possible. I love tile, I just don't like moldy looking grout. We live in south Louisiana, so rain and dampness are prevalent. We have used the mold resistant caulk and the stuff you put in external paint and we always get mold eventually whether it is outside or inside. Is there a certain size or kind of tile that you could use a very tiny tile spacing/grout line??
 
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Old 02-29-08, 12:43 PM
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I usually use an eighth inch...not sure if you can use smaller- but the bigger the tiles, the less grout joints you'll have, that's for sure!

Yes, the paint and vinyl siding mold, too! We're in Virginia, gets really muggy here in summer, too.
 
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Old 02-29-08, 01:31 PM
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There is nothing in the makeup of grouts that will create mold. Unfortunately some grouts have the ability to harbour mold but they can never cause mold. Maintenance programs (or the lack of them) and lifestyle is what causes mold in bathrooms. Soaps, body tissue, mosture, heat, lack of ventilation, lack of sunlight is what promotes mold growth .

We have a basement shower that during the summer will grow some mold near the ceiling of the shower from time to time . I keep a spray bottle of chlorine bleach and water 50/50 on standby to control it.
 
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Old 02-29-08, 07:52 PM
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I know grout doesn't create mold, but around here in Louisiana, I haven't seen many bathrooms with tile and grout that doesn't have some kind of visible mold. But I don't know what the alternatives are. The acrylic surrounds are cheap looking (at least the ones I've seen) and solid slabs are expensive. So that leaves tile. I just want to do as much homework as possible and pick out something that looks good but is low maintenance.
 
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Old 02-29-08, 09:18 PM
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......and therein lies the problem. "LOW MAINTENANCE."

Low maintenance is exactly what allows mold to thrive.
 
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Old 03-01-08, 06:13 AM
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Whats behind the tile, drywall maybe? If this is the case, and the drywall is wet(very likely after 30 years) then this could be the problem. I agree with everyone else also. No maintenance the tile and grout will look like crap.
 
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Old 03-01-08, 08:05 AM
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When we rip everything out this summer, I will find out what is going on behind the tile. I don't want "no maintenance", just low, something to fit our lifestyle. Usually a once a week good scrubbing, but in between, the tiles will not get much attention. I know we wouldn't wipe them down after every use. So what I am hearing is we need to develop better habits or don't go with tile.
 
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Old 03-02-08, 11:46 AM
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What I love about these forums is I am always learning something.

Saturation of the interstitial portion
will also cause mold interstitially
infiltration to the interstitial portion
I had no idea what that word was or what it meant and in all of my learning about mold I never once saw that word used in relation to mold existence or remediation. So I had to look it up. For those that also never heard that word here is the definition from Webster's:



Main Entry: in·ter·sti·tial
Pronunciation: \ˌin-tər-ˈsti-shəl\
Function: adjective
Date: 1646
1: relating to or situated in the interstices
2 a: situated within but not restricted to or characteristic of a particular organ or tissue —used especially of fibrous tissue b: affecting the interstitial tissues of an organ or part
3: being or relating to a crystalline compound in which usually small atoms or ions of a nonmetal occupy holes between the larger metal atoms or ions in the crystal lattice
— in·ter·sti·tial·ly \-shə-lē\ adverb
 
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Old 03-03-08, 05:36 AM
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Being a chemical engineer, I once upon a time had to know what interstitial meant. Never thought I would hear the term in relation to my bathroom.

Since grout is inherently porous, even though sealed, I don't see any way you can permanently seal off the water source from migrating to and through the grout.

I have 1500 sf of porcelain tile on my floors. The grout was thoroughly sealed not 6 months ago new installation and I can still see that when any liquids get on it, that some is absorbed.

I still love tile and will probably put it up in the new bathroom remodel. I just thought there might be something else as beautiful, but low maintenance too
 
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Old 03-03-08, 08:46 AM
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Most of the sealers aren't really sealing anything. They are however beneficial when it comes time to clean so they say. The majority of today's sealers are vapor transmissive so as to allow moisture vapor to evaporate through them from below.

I have never understood how it is the sealer knows to let moisture out but not let it in. I'm sure there must be a sophisticated scientific explanation for this phenom but frankly I don't think I'm interested.
 
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Old 03-03-08, 05:55 PM
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Hey what happened to that reply with all the big words from Katy. It done dissappeared. Things r disappearing like crazy on this forum lately.

This forum requires that you wait 180 seconds between posts. Please try again in 28 seconds.
Darn this thing got me again
 
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Old 03-04-08, 02:08 PM
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Hey you're right! Now there is no need for my post from Webster's Dictionary.
 
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Old 03-04-08, 02:31 PM
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Is grout always likely to develop mold?

Grout can hold more moisture than ceramic tile.

Mold spores are everywhere, so mold will start there first since mold needs moisture.

After it starts, it goes wherever there is moisture and whereever it wants until the mold is killed. The spores just wait for good conditions later.

If you are in LA and it is 30 years old, you should not be surprised what you find when you strip the walls. There is plenty of humidity everywhere. - Based on seeing a few hundred homes stripped after Katrina (not necessarily flooded homes, since they were in the minority in LA and MS).

Dick
 
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Old 03-08-08, 07:04 AM
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So it seems like it is unanimous that grout will and does hold moisture and mold. So does anyone have any recommendations for a shower and bathtub wall surface that is nice looking, holds up well and is impervious to moisture and mold (without me having to wipedown or scrub after every use?)
 
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Old 03-09-08, 03:03 PM
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Grout and Mildew

You can add an acrylic add mix to the grout instead of water.
Also you can use an epoxy grout.
The new epoxy grouts are not difficult to use.
Years ago I use to not bid on jobs that required epoxy grout.
They were such a pain. you needed hot water to clean, ect.
The new ones are cool and stop water migration.

A. J. Ventura
 
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Old 04-09-08, 07:05 PM
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Epoxy Grout and Maintenance

I just had new bathroom put in basement on cement slab floor. Ceramic tile used on shower surround and floor. Installer said there is no need to use any sealer on the epoxy grout. Will it ever need any care, other than damp mopping floor?
 
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Old 04-09-08, 07:46 PM
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He's correct.
 
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