Help with caulking bathtub/shower! Leaking in corner of bathtub!

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Old 01-22-14, 05:28 PM
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Help with caulking bathtub/shower! Leaking in corner of bathtub!

I have the exactly the same issue as the original poster.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/de...r-bathtub.html

It doesn't happen after every shower, and when it happens, the moist grout is not obvious until a few minutes after the shower. I also notice that there doesn't seem to be an issue when I always sit in the bathtub while taking the shower, although I don't have a lot of data points to support this. I also went down to the crawl space while someone is taking shower just to make sure there is no leak from the drain or supply.

It seems that the original poster is not so active these days, so it might be difficult to get update from him.

Following the advice of chandler, I will check the control valve by removing the cover plate.
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 01-23-14 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 01-23-14, 09:38 AM
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Size:  21.1 KBI did some simple test last night following Chandler's advice. After removing the cover plate of the control handle, I turned on shower for a while and didn't see water dripping down. The hole was very small, so it was difficult to see a lot.

I am attaching another picture here. After my wife had a shower, I pushed a piece of tissue paper against the cracked grout as indicated in the photo, and found moisture on the tissue. The grout looks and feels dry. I also circled the area where it would start to change color due to moisture. In this picture, it is dry based on tissue paper test.

Any suggestions will be appreciated. If it is better to ask this question in the dedicated plumbing session, please let me know. I am just trying to follow the old thread so that other people may get related information from one thread.

Thank you very much!
 
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Old 01-23-14, 01:44 PM
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The fact that you point to a crack along the edge of the shower base that touches tile indicates that grout has been used to fill the gap. Flexible caulk that matches the color of the grout is the correct product that should bridge this gap. Now, seeing that there is a crack there, there probably is also a crack under where the shower door trim is located. Therefore, make sure that the metal trim is completely sealed with a clear kitchen and bath caulk. Pay particular attention to the seams that fall inside the metal where the vertical and horizontal pieces meet. Then re-caulk the shower base/tile transition and any corners going up the wall there tile meets tile.
 
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Old 01-23-14, 02:30 PM
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Thanks a lot for the suggestion. If I understand it correctly, I should check for cracks under the door trim, especially the corner indicated by a question mark in the attached photo. I used white RTV silicone to seal the door trim along the white lines, and will double check if there is any segment that is not covered. For "re-caulk the shower base/tile transition and any corners going up the wall there tile meets tile", do I use kitchen and bath caulk or "flexible caulk" you mentioned. As far as I can tell, the caulk in the cracked region is the same as those used for the vertical tiles. It's probably not the flexible one as you pointed out. Do I need the flexible caulk for all the vertical tiles as well?

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Old 01-23-14, 02:51 PM
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Where ever there is a plane change - in a corner tile to tile, where the tile meets the base, or where you may have an alcove or built in bench - those areas need a caulk as opposed to grout. The different planes will move (expand and contract) in different directions. Grout is a rigid material (cement) and does not move. Instead, it cracks and water can enter.

The tiles that area on the wall - next to each other "in the same physical plane" should have grout between them.

The companies that make grout, also make a color matching caulk that you can use in the same shower. It looks just like grout, but is flexible to allow movement without cracking. If water gets past this barrier that is cracked, it can travel behind the tile and would exit at the floor area indicated by your dark circle. Look for color matching caulk in the tile section of the box stores or visit a tile shop for a color match as they usually carry a larger selection.
 
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Old 02-05-14, 02:06 PM
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I have been monitoring this problem for a few more days and would like to update it and hopefully get some suggestions on how to proceed.

It seems that there are tiny cracks in region A. This part was sealed with silicone (I am not 100% positive, though), but probably due to the crack in the underlying grout, it started to crack as well. This is probably where water gets in. When I take the shower while sitting in the bathtub (the shower head has a flexible extension) and prevent splashing onto region A, I don't see water leaking to region B. The way I check is to push a piece of tissue paper against the cracked grout in region B, and tissue paper can absorb water from inside the crack. The tissue paper also shows how far water has traveled downward. The tissue paper temporarily stops water from reaching the floor depending on the amount of water. I don't see grout changing color in region C as along as water stays in region B.

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I hope this explanation is correct, and if that is the case, it seems I have a couple of options.

1. Redo the grout in region A
Remove the grout and sealing in region A. Replace with flexible grout as suggested by czizzi. It doesn't sound like a lot of work, but I am a little worried that I might damage the tile on the wall in the process.

2. Cover region A with a strong sealer
When region A is dry, apply another layer of silicone or whatever that can seal it and make it impermeable to water. I know it won't look nice, but if it seals well, I don't mind the bad looking.

A related idea is to protect region A with some kind of cover. Something that serves as "clothing" to protect region A. If this is easy to find, it can also prove if region A is the source of the problem.

Thank you all again and I am looking forward to your suggestions.
 
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Old 02-05-14, 02:38 PM
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Your leak could be higher - and the areas you are focusing on is where the water is exiting.
 
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Old 02-05-14, 04:43 PM
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tribe_fan, thanks for the reply.

Are you suggesting water leaks through the tiles somewhere up above where the grout is cracked? Or, leakage is from the pipe inside the wall. Previously, I removed the cover plate of the control valve and turned on shower, and didn't see obvious water leakage from the pipe.

If I keep region A dry in a shower, it seems that region B is also dry. Do you think region A is also the exit for water?
 
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Old 02-05-14, 04:57 PM
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Refer back to your original drawings where you indicated all the areas to caulk. This includes the metal to metal transitions on the door frames. But KEY is that you seal region A completely, That and the areas around the door trim are where the water is getting in. You don't necessarily need to dig out all the caulking. Use a clear caulk so that you can apply and it will look OK even if you get some messy spots.
 
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