Ceramic tile grout cracked in bathroom tiled windowsill

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Old 05-25-19, 03:10 PM
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Unhappy Ceramic tile grout cracked in bathroom tiled windowsill

I hope this is the right forum for this, my problem doesn't fit into any standard category.

The windowsill of the bathroom window was allowing water to flow from the sill down both the outside and inside walls on that side of the house. First we put ceramic tiles on top of the sill and used silicon grout to paste them down and fill cracks between them. That didn't work, water still flowed down walls. So after some additional research we added a "vapor barrier" - a piece of heavy plastic glued down to the sill with Loctite Power Grip Adhesive. Then we replaced the tiles, again using Sanded Ceramic Tile Caulk to glue the tiles to the plastic and fill in the cracks. After that cured I applied 3 coats of Aqua Mix Sealers Choice Gold. So a week or so later the sill looks like this:

No leaks noted so far but this can't be good. Is there anything I can stuff in those cracks that will not just flake off as soon as it dries? Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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Last edited by PJmax; 05-25-19 at 03:58 PM. Reason: spaced/resized pictures
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Old 05-25-19, 04:42 PM
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That is not a good place for grout. Rigid grout against wood which expands and contracts with changing humidity is guaranteed to show a crack. Notice that the grout isn't really cracked but there is a crack visible where it meets the wood. At the minimum you can caulk the crack. A better fix would be to remove the grout at the edge and replace with caulk. If your grout is not pure white there are caulks specially dyed to match grout colors.
 
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Old 05-26-19, 02:50 AM
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I agree, I'd scratch out some of the grout and then caulk it. ..... I just reread your post and see you used caulking. I'd cut out the caulk and recaulk. Is this window in a shower?

btw - welcome to the forums Kitty!
 
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Old 05-26-19, 08:47 AM
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The windowsill of the bathroom window was allowing water to flow from the sill down both the outside and inside walls on that side of the house
So where is the water coming from? Condensation off the window?
 
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Old 05-26-19, 09:02 AM
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Number one, get rid of all the wood trim and any wood jamb that's under it. If you need to pad the rough opening out for tile, use cement board if this is a wet location.

Once the cement board is installed, use bullnose tile as both the stop and as the casing. Or if you prefer, use Schlueter edge as your corner trim. Use a matching grout caulk against the window. Then keep water off the window as much as possible. Windows aren't made or tested to be water tight from the inside.

If this is a water leak that is originating from the outside, you obviously need to fix that on the OUTSIDE first before you have any hope of keeping the inside trim dry. No reason you should HAVE to use tile unless this window is in a shower.
 
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Old 05-27-19, 03:03 PM
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Thanks for your prompt reply. I'm a little confused: you say "Notice that the grout isn't really cracked but there is a crack visible where it meets the wood. At the minimum you can caulk the crack. A better fix would be to remove the grout at the edge and replace with caulk." It is caulk; I realize now when I reread my own post I used "grout" in the title. My bad! We used Sanded Ceramic Tile Caulk on the windowsill. So should I scrape out the caulk that's between the tiles and the wooden window frame and replace it? Is there a better caulk than Ceramic Tile Caulk? I don't see any other brand name on the tube, but I'm sure there must be other brands.
 
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Old 05-27-19, 03:13 PM
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XSleeper: Thank you for your reply. I'm sure that's good advice, but I don't know if we're up to doing that much work with it this year. But I'm going to save your reply in the "Stuff we have to do to the house" file and hope we can either DIY or hire someone to do it soon.
 

Last edited by Kitty Martyr; 05-27-19 at 03:14 PM. Reason: Direct reply to specific person
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Old 05-27-19, 03:31 PM
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Marq1: We're assuming the water was coming through the sill itself; the wood was cracked and worn, there were actual holes in it.
 
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Old 05-27-19, 03:55 PM
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marksr: Yes, the window is just above the bathtub.
 
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Old 05-28-19, 02:58 AM
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Does the tub also include a shower?

Since the only tile involved is the sill itself you don't need to use a sanded caulk. It's main purpose is to blend in with the grout on the rest of the tile [used mostly in corners] I'd probably use a polyurethane caulk.
 
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Old 05-28-19, 03:33 PM
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The vapor barrier was not a good idea in this repair. It basically defeated the bond anything would have between the substrate and the tile. I agree with X on this one, that the wood trim has no place in a shower. Best repair would be to get a continous piece of marble to span the entire area and overhang the wall tile by around 3/4".

To prep for this, you would first remove all that you have done, including your vapor barrier (that usually goes up prior to anything else and is cascaded behind the wall tile so any water can't get past it. What you did was purely cosmetic and did nothing to waterproof. In your instance, without tearing out any of the wall tile, I would add a strip of 1/4" cement board that is set in "thinset" not caulk or grout. Once the cement board is down, I would caulk the hell out of it with OSQual caulking. This stuff is super sticky and will last. Concentrate on where the cement board meets the window and where it meets the tile both on the edges and the front lip. Leave the main body of the cement board clear of the caulking. Then using thinset mortar (mixed from a bag, not premixed) and set the marble threshold and give it a slight tilt so water wll run toward the shower and not the window. Once set up, caulk against the window to marble joint, the marble to tile joint and the underside of the marble where it meets the wall tile. Use blue tape too control your caulk lines otherwise you will make a mess. OSQuad requires mineral spirits to clean up, it is not water soluble.
 
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