water being wicked from behind shower tile??

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  #1  
Old 04-14-19, 09:02 PM
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water being wicked from behind shower tile??

Hi all, I have a sad story to share... I am a DIYer, but last year my wife and I decided to hire a professional to redo the main bathroom in our house, because we thought it'd be nice to have a pro result (unlike, for example, the kitchen that I re-did, which looks pretty good to most people but I can easily point to 10 things that aren't 100% right).

So this pro finished the job about 11 months ago, and I can easily point to a dozen things that aren't 100% right and *obviously* wrong. Most of it is aesthetic (e.g. major lippage in floor tile and wall tile), but over the past several weeks I've been seeing something more troubling... The photo below shows the section of wall right next to the shower. Over the past month or so, I could see bubbles forming underneath the paint, clearly a water issue. I thought the issue was related to water which was dripping over the edge of the tub right there, so I though OK I'll just install some kind of guard in order to keep the water inside the tub. So I scraped all the failed paint away and installed the guard. One day later, I snapped this photo right after the shower was used, and it can be clearly seen that the wall is wet again! But the guard was effective, too, so the water must be traveling behind the tile from inside the shower to that wall right outside the shower.

I'm here to ask for advice about this situation. What does this look like to you, and what does a solution look like?

Thanks in advance for your input.

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  #2  
Old 04-15-19, 02:39 AM
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That's a lot of moisture. Do you know if he installed a vapor barrier behind the cement board or applied RedGard over it? What does the wall behind the faucet and shower head look like?
 
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Old 04-15-19, 04:54 AM
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I see the guard which will help stop water running across the top of the tub but it doesn't do anything for splashed water if the shower curtain isn't tucked all the way in the corner. I would try something taller and see if that helps.

 
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Old 04-15-19, 06:28 AM
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That's a lot of moisture. Do you know if he installed a vapor barrier behind the cement board or applied RedGard over it? What does the wall behind the faucet and shower head look like?
Mark, thanks very much for the reply. The contractor used a product called WEDI Board, not cement board. The photo below shows the WEDI board already installed on the 5' side of the tub; I took that photo before it went up on the wet wall side. You can also see here that the WEDI board butts up to the sheetrock. Besides what you see here, the only other application that the WEDI board received was some blue colored paste that the contractor applied over the fasteners that hold the WEDI board up to the studs (they look like big washers).

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Old 04-15-19, 06:43 AM
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I think the shape of your tub flange kind of lends itself to this problem if the tile isn't caulked to the tub. I would remove the valve handle and plate and see if water has been getting in... or around the tub spout. If not it's probably all coming from uncaulked tub edge.
 
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Old 04-15-19, 07:07 AM
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I think the shape of your tub flange kind of lends itself to this problem if the tile isn't caulked to the tub. I would remove the valve handle and plate and see if water has been getting in... or around the tub spout. If not it's probably all coming from uncaulked tub edge.
XSleeper, thanks for the reply. The tub spout is actually on the list of things that are not 100% satisfactory... see photo below, gap between spout and tile. As I mentioned in my original post, that list of deficiencies has been on my mind for the past ~11 months, since this guy left the scene. Most people that I've whined to about it have told me to learn to live with what I've got, but this moisture issue belongs in a more crucial category...I think of this as a possible structural risk rather than just aesthetic. And I'm starting to wonder what recourse I might possibly have with this contractor...

On the other hand, if the solution is as simple as running a bead of caulk along the tile/tub joint, then maybe that's my best course of action. Will try it now. Currently, the only material in that joint is the same sanded grout that was used on the tiles.


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  #7  
Old 04-15-19, 08:51 AM
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The tub spout needs to be unscrewed to check behind it... the penetration behind the spout through the tile (the water line to tile joint) is what should be sealed. It usually looks best to leave the spout itself uncaulked.

The box stores have sanded grout caulk to match your grout color. It's in the same aisle as the grout. The entire tub perimeter as well as any inside corners should be caulked. If you know the brand name and color of your grout, they should make color matched caulk.
 
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Old 04-15-19, 09:12 AM
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... the penetration behind the spout through the tile (the water line to tile joint) is what should be sealed. It usually looks best to leave the spout itself uncaulked.

The box stores have sanded grout caulk to match your grout color...
XSleeper, thanks again, I really appreciate your advice, but I'm having trouble understanding your instructions where you say "the water line to tile joint is what should be sealed"... sorry to be thick headed, but is there another way to describe that?? Fortunately, I have a few tubes of caulk left over from the job that are already exactly the color of the grout we used (but unsanded).
 
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Old 04-15-19, 09:13 AM
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A question, if you put a level across the top edge of the tub is it sloped toward the the wall with the leak?

Does you "guard" at the edge of the tub seal into the corner or can water run past if tub is un-level?
 
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Old 04-15-19, 09:19 AM
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To answer: unscrew the tub spout. Look at the wall. If there is a gap between the pipe and the tile, (i.e. you can see right into the wall) that gap needs to be sealed with sealant. That way you don't care if water gets around the edges of the tub spout because it can't leak if you have sealed the tile edges to the pipe.
 
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Old 04-15-19, 09:20 AM
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A question, if you put a level across the top edge of the tub is it sloped toward the the wall with the leak?

Does you "guard" at the edge of the tub seal into the corner or can water run past if tub is un-level?
It's almost perfectly level, see photo below. The guard that i installed is a piece of leftover marble that i cut to length, and i used pure silicone to adhere it to the tub (on both sides of contact), so I'm fairly certain that it's a good seal.

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