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Shower Grout Cracking in Newly Installed Shower

6 years ago

We had a bathroom renovation done back in October/November 2016 and since then we have experienced problems with it. We have had 3 leaks through our kitchen ceiling! One over Christmas, one in March and then again yesterday, 22nd May.

The problem is the shower. I can see when removing the shower base cover that the water is getting in behind the tiles and running down the wall.

The shower is only leaking when turned on and I am very sure that it is not a continuous leak from the power shower but a slow leak through the porous grout. Our plumber says that sealing behind the tiles will not resolve the issue but cause a 'dam' effect where the water builds up behind the tile.

The grout is also cracking. Admittedly, we live in an old house, approximately 200 years old, so there could well be movement. However, I would like to ask your opinions as our plumber claims that the problem is not due to his workmanship but rather 'some other issue'. He has said that is could be due to us opening and closing a door on the same wall. It is slightly stiff, however, as only me and my partner inhabit the house we basically never close the door just push it to. I can honestly say that since the last time that he re-grouted (March) it has probably fullly closed and opened less than 10 times when we had visitors. I really cannot see this being the problem due to such infrequent use.

I cannot fault the fact that the plumber has come back out to us each time, however, I feel that he has patched things up rather than resolving the issue. The first time he removed the bottom three rows of tiles and re-tiled and grouted and the next time he removed the old grout and re-grouted.

He has never removed the shower tray, only taken the lower part of the tiling off and re-tiled. There cracks are along a flat wall, not at a change of plane or corner. It is the bottom third of the shower cubical. It is on an internal, plasterboard and plastered wall. The tiles are bevelled metro tiles. The plumber has tried to say that the shape of the tile is funneling water behind the grout. And, that grout is completely waterproof. Something I know not to be true.

I have had my father inspect the work. He is a building site manager and a carpenter by trade but has fitted his fair share of bathrooms when self employed. He is not happy with the standard of work carried out but has told me to seek independent, professional services so I thought I would come here first for some initial advice. In his opinion the back of the tiles and the shower tray has not been correctly sealed. He believes that the tray should be masticked to the wall and the back of the tiles should be tanked.

I have discussed these items with the plumber and he has told me that none of these things will make any difference at all. It will only lead to a build up of water behind the tile? He says he has installed an upstand and this should do the job fine. I don't feel that he is giving me the right information and this is where I need help.

I have also been researching and believe that the grout used is not correct. That he should have used a flexible grout to allow some for movement knowing that the house is older.

I will try to post some images to give you a better idea.

I would be very grateful for any information anyone is willing to offer.



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