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pamdavis01

Help with grout lines and tile cracks in ceramic tiled shower

Pam Davis
2 years ago

Just bought a 1920's Pier and Beam house and the bath and kitchen was fully remodeled a few years ago. I did find out the house foundation was repaired a couple of months before I moved in. Now that I have lived here a couple of months I see all kinds of vertical cracks around windows/doors etc.


My biggest concern is the shower. I see cracks in the grout and all the way up the wall. I am thinking since the house has been settling that will cause all of these cracks in this house. But to avoid any damage with water getting behind the walls in the shower I need to act fast.


Is this something I can do to repair the grout? Help is hard to get now and so expensive, but I want to do what is necessary to keep this from getting worse.


I did drop the additional shower wand and it chipped a couple of the tile pieces that would have to be professionally replaced (last pic)




, but any expert advice on what should be done with the worst of the cracks?


Thank you anyone out there that can help me, this is all so new to me!

Comments (21)

  • PRO
    Mint tile Minneapolis
    2 years ago

    dont have a dance party in there and fall thru the pan floor🤷‍♂️

    Pam Davis thanked Mint tile Minneapolis
  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
    2 years ago

    Well it's not a great job to start, and while we hesitate to comment from afar without onsite inspection, it appears that you don't have approved caulk at change of planes, but instead grout. Likely expansion and contraction issues. Use only silicone caulk at change of planes. Get a Pro Tile Contractor onsite to evaluate so you have the information you need to plan forward (before the residual issues get worse).

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  • Pam Davis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    dragonfly, wow, that is the best advice. Definitely expansion/contraction since many of the corner vertical areas have those cracks from the foundation repair done at this old pier and beam, so that makes sense.


    I will get the silicone caulk as my brother said he can at least seal it before it gets worse or allows water in..


    Do you know how to proceed to get a pro tile contractor in my area? I am finding it difficult to find good help and I am learning it is that way for everyone.


    thx so much for your expert opinions, it meant so MUCH to me!


    pam

  • jewelisfabulous
    2 years ago

    See if you have The Grout Doctor franchise in your area. They did a splendid job cleaning, regrouting, re-caulking (on plane changes), and sealing our master shower.

  • Pam Davis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Looked them up and we do! Any idea what something like this would cost? Or would they come out and give a free estimate?

  • Pam Davis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Jewelisfab thank U!

  • PRO
    Dragonfly Tile & Stone Works, Inc.
    2 years ago

    For future reference:

    LOOKING FOR A QUALIFIED TILE INSTALLER?

    14 QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK TO FIND A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR PROJECT.

    1. Do they have liability insurance and if they have employees, are they covered with Worker’s Compensation Insurance?

    · Make sure you can verify appropriate insurance coverage.

    2. Are they licensed (if required in your area)?

    · Verify. Some states do not require tile contractor’s to be licensed.

    3. How many years have they been working exclusively as tile installers?

    · It takes many years to become proficient as a dedicated, qualified tile professional. Five years or more would be an expected minimum.

    4. How was the installer trained? Do they participate in on-going professional industry training from organizations and or manufactures, and specifically what?

    · Installers who have completed an apprenticeship under a Qualified Tile Installer and participate in industry training are generally more likely to follow standards and recommendations and stay current with products, materials, and industry updates.

    5. Are they familiar with the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards and do they follow these industry recommendations?

    · The TCNA Handbook coupled with ANSI Standards are the industry recognized guidelines for the installation of tile for a wide range of applications. A qualified tile professional will be familiar with and know how to specify and use these reference tools.

    6. If wet areas (showers/baths) are to be included in the work performed, what approved system/methods will they use to assure a long-lasting installation?

    · Tile installations in wet areas require some very important preparation to avoid leaks and unwanted moisture problems. Hybrid or unapproved methods, and the use of materials inappropriate for this application can contribute to a very costly and unwanted result that too often requires complete removal and replacement by a qualified professional. A quality installation should last decades or longer.

    7. What manufacturer’s products do they use and do they comply with manufacturer’s instructions?

    · There are many manufacturers of quality tile setting materials. Most perform well with use of approved methods and adherence to manufacturer specifications. Qualified tile installers will be well-versed on the materials and systems they prefer and should be able to answer your questions about the process and materials and their associated warranties.

    8. Do they have a company website or social media page with photos of their work?

    · Professionals will have a public presence that is available to consumers so you can review their work and customer reviews. Lack of a traceable, legitimate, and committed business should be a deterrent to hiring.

    9. Can you speak with recent customers and see photos of those projects?

    · Qualified, experienced tile contractors will have a loyal client base that is happy to recommend them and share their experience.

    10. Do they have experience working with the type of tile you plan to use?

    · There are different methods, materials and considerations when installing various tile products… ceramic, porcelain, large format tile, handmade tile, natural stone, glass. Verify their experience and training with the tile product you have chosen.

    11. Talk to them about positives and challenges of past projects

    · Get to know the tile professional as part of your project team. Do they take pride in their work? If your General Contractor is hiring the tile installer, it may make sense to request meeting with the GC and tile installer in advance of the installation.

    12. What has been their greatest challenge as a tile installer?

    · Listen carefully to understand the installer’s limitations and ability to meet your expectations.

    13. Do they or their team belong to a professional organization like NTCA (National Tile Contractor’s Association)?

    · Industry involvement is one indication of a tile installation company’s commitment to their craft. It gives them access to education, technical information, and other resources to assist them in professionally serving you.

    14. Are they, or do they have Certified Tile Installer’s (Certified Tile Education Foundation, CTI) on their team? https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/find-certified-tile-installers

    · The certification of tile installers is an important step forward for the consumer. The industry has established a process to certify tile installers. Certification identifies an installer as being a dedicated and knowledgeable professional whose competence in installing tile has been verified to meet specific tile industry standards. Search Certified Tile Education Foundation for a CTI near you.

  • H B
    2 years ago

    Ok, I'm not a pro but I'll throw this out there as there are some responding to the OP's query -- I thought that grout isn't waterproof. The underlying waterproofing system in a shower is what is supposed to make it watertight. So -- how much of an issue is this situation, or is it that the home settling could have compromised the underlying waterproofing system?

    Pam Davis thanked H B
  • Pam Davis
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I am just blown away by the responses. Dragonfly I had NO IDEA that tile installers should have that kind of certification! I am printing this off to use in my selection process (I hope Grout Doctor by me has these minimum requirements on the list).

    I have only lived in this house for 2 months now and I am seeing the severe disadvantage I have of not knowing so many things about the house specifically how the system was treated behind the tile in that shower as HB pointed out. Since this house is a 1920 house, and had recent pier and beam leveling, which is clearly causing house movement, at seams or change of plane cracks I am seeing I am going to need some real professionals going forward on this as I am very suspicious now that it was installed correctly at all especially with Dragonfly's comment about noticing they didn't use approved silicon type of caulk. Get this: the homeowner was a general contractor who had his own workers for his business remodel projects and I was told by his realtor to mine "we can be assured he would spar no price on making sure the remodels of his own house were done correctly", and I blindly believed it, which I see was a HUGE mistake because I have had it pointed out he took lots of shortcuts on many things (sub par work) and so when dragonfly pointed that out about the shower grout incorrectly used, I was like 'of course here goes another thing I am finding out where sub-par work was done.

    I have now come away from all of this with a huge lesson learned... just becuase someone is in the remodel field and has a team of people (low paying hispanic workers is what I have learned) doesn't mean he cared about doing things correctly in his OWN HOUSE, he was driven more by cost rather than quality.

    Sorry for the rambling, this is a big lesson learned for me in this area, and I appreciate you both for the excellent advice. I absolutely believe you have to get true experts in this area and I wonder if I will have to eventually rip the whole dang thing down and have it redone.

  • H B
    2 years ago

    Don't beat yourself up -- any home would require fixes and maintenance... some parts of our (mid-70s built house) are built like a rock with top quality matierials, and other parts we are still scratching our heads (and trying to fix). Good luck with solutions!

    Pam Davis thanked H B
  • Pam Davis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    One last question, is there a way for the tile expert to know about the work of the system behind the shower without tearing everything out? Or removing one or two tiles could they tell then?

  • Nancy in Mich
    2 years ago

    No, you can’t see if waterproofing is there without tearing things out and likely damaging the waterproofing.

    I will echo HB’s caution to not beat yourself up. It is easy to get into a heap of trouble when buying a house. We bought this one knowing it had foundation work done that was warranted and the warranty transferred to us. Six years later, we learned that the front living room and foyer of the house, which was on a slab foundation, had a big crack down the middle of the slab and had fallen a good four to six inches. Yes, the foundation piers that had been put in were working fine and were guaranteed. But the foundation repair company had advised the homeowner that he needed 12 piers, and he only did six. The right side and front were supported, but left side was still sinking. The home owner had hidden this from us by putting in a false floor and putting thick carpet over it. It turns out that the front room was sunken 6 inches lower than the adjacent foyer when it was built in the 1970s. The owner used that six inches to put in a kind of floating floor with 2 x 4s, shimmed to level with wood shims, with a plywood subfloor on top.

    This was not a first house for us. It was my 4th house, and we hired an inspector who my friend had used and who was supposed to be picky. He did not notice that room seemed odd, with a 1 inch drop.

    It cost us six months of construction living and $40,000.

  • H B
    2 years ago

    I'll swerve off on a tangent here....Nancy, that is beyond horrible!!! Why on earth do people 'just need to fix something up' before they sell the house. It may sell the house on cosmetics in the short run, but I sure hope all those folks' ears (or worse) are burning as they get cursed out by subsequent owners trying to figure out and fix what the #%! was done to the house.... sister just discovered leaking windows with NO headers.... sigh. What are people doing.

  • Pam Davis
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Thanks HB and Nancy for the support, as it was getting scarey to me with it all, and now that I hear YOUR experience Nancy wow, that is crazy finding that out!!!! What a nightmare finding that out and to spend 40K is absolutely insane to me! I agree with HB WTH is it with people doing things that are so major and going to all the trouble to cover it up that is some serious bad KARMA coming back around to people like that. Just boggles my mind that people are like that!

  • Nancy in Mich
    2 years ago

    We have seen plenty of people do the bare minimum to do bathroom repairs in their own homes here, ignoring the advice of the regulars and the pros here. Not for resale, but for their own use! Some people are content with ”good enough.” Some are suspicious of rules and standards. Some run out of money and have no problem lying to buyers, like my guy did. If I were not so stressed out (health problems and struggling to keep up at work), I would have investigated trying to get some money back from our seller, who had lied in his state-mandated real estate disclosure form and had lied when he said the problem had been fixed. We went for the low stress ”do nothing” choice and let karma take care of it.


    You never do know what you are getting when buying a house whether it is old or new.. Those who build one or buy new tract homes sometimes have horror stories about things that were poorly done. My brother’s new house was built in winter and his subfloors were laid before the roof was done. His floors all squeeked from being sopping wet and mud-covered from all the workers tracking in mud and from being rained on. A friend getting a custom home built found a box of poop in the attic in their final walk-through! People can’t be trusted.

  • catbuilder
    2 years ago

    "is there a way for the tile expert to know about the work of the system behind the shower without tearing everything out?"

    Yes, take off the escutcheon of the shower valve so you can see what the wall assembly behind it looks like.

  • Mama Cita
    2 years ago

    @Pam Davis congrats on the new house, sorry you’re finding issues. I’m sure you didn’t realize how your comment about ”low paying hispanic workers” would be interpreted. Swap in ”Black workers” or ”Asian workers” and i think you’ll see the problem.

  • Nancy in Mich
    2 years ago

    Mama Cita, I had noticed that comment, too. Thank you for bringing it up. My advice for avoiding this kind of issue when writing is always to look at just why you are refering to a group of people. In this case, it is because the workers are unskilled non-professionals. Their ethnicity does not contribute to the writer’s complaints. Their low pay is associated with their lack of skills. So the writer could have said, ”low-paid general construction workers with no professional skills,” which better describes her issues with the job than telling us their ethnicity does.

  • Helen
    2 years ago

    I had also noticed the gratuitous ethnic reference and was appalled by the casual racism.


    The irony is that I did a gut remodel and ALL of the people who did the work were LatinX and were highly skilled as well as being wonderful to deal with it. My GC, plumber and electrician were all licensed. The tile work was done by a very skilled artisan. The guy who did all of my custom cabinetry as well as my custom dining room table. The guy who did my custom mirrors as well as my frameless shower enclosure. The guy who did my custom upholstered furniture as well as the guy who refinished some vintage pieces I was keeping.


    They were all lovely to deal with as well - going out of their way to make things as easy as possible for me especially after I had moved back while some construction was still going on around me. They left each night with the place broom clean.


  • jewelisfabulous
    2 years ago

    Pam -- we paid $700, which included a lot of grout replacement, grout removal to be replaced with caulk, silicon replacement around the base of the frameless shower glass, plus all the deep cleaning of moldy areas and re-sealing. It looked wonderful afterwards. The rep recommended we have them back every 18 months or so for about $150 to re-clean and re-seal. I believe we'll gladly do that.