Advice about Grout
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Advice about Grout
Last summer I had an architect/contractor team do a remodel
on my house, which included foundation work and a bathroom
remodel. We have had to contact them several times since
because of problems, such as the new furnace making loud
noises and having brown water in the mornings after repiping
the house. Now it has been about 6 months, and there are
cracks in the grout around the tub and up both corners where
the walls meet. Actually, around the tub the grout is also
The architect initially said that it is better NOT to use
caulk over the grout, because it degrades quickly. But this
is the solution his tile guy (subcontractor) has suggested.
Is this sort of cracking normal in Berkeley homes? Is
caulking the best solution? Better to regrout? Is the
cracking a symptom of a larger problem? Like the foundation
settling? Or the tub settling?
I would appreciate advice, and if anyone has had similar
problems, how were they solved?
Overwhelmed by house remodel
The joint between tub and tile wall is prone to movement due
to two different materials and settling-not to mention the
weight of water and you in the tub. As such the joint is
supposed to be done with flexible silicone caulk so it can
move independently. All the rest of the tile should be
grouted and should not be cracking. The tile wall should be
isolated from the tub by a gap which is then filled with
caulk. Make absolutely certain only 100% pure silicone caulk
is used. Any substitutes are prone to mold and early
failure. Use GE 100% Silicone caulk period. I did one today
and it should be good for 15 -20 years or more. Do not apply
caulk over grout! Instead ALL the grout should be removed
first to create a 1/8'' gap then the joint is caulked. A
dremel or die grinder with carbide bit makes easy work of
grout removal. That is what should have been done.
contractor that didn't do it that way right off should not
be used to ''fix it''. The next bad move a bad contractor
would make is to show up with latex caulk and try to squirt
it over the grout to cover the crack in the grout that they
should have never put there. The tile will continue to crack
and the cheap caulk will mold and fall off. Now is the time
to do it right while it is clean. Think of that joint as an
isolation joint where there should be a gap between tub and
wall filled with silicone rubber to seal it from water
leaking into the wall. The tub should not touch the tile but
instead be 1/8'' separate. If it is touching or solid grout
was used then the movement will stress all the tile work and
create other cracks in the grout above/tile field. An
intentional gap is normally left there. The grout work
should have also been sealed with grout sealer after grout
dried. Sounds like a bad tile job to me. Hope you can fix it
soon. Once it gets covered with soap scum it becomes a huge
job to fix it right.
It's not clear here whether your tile person sealed the tile
and grout after installation - ideally with two or three
coats of sealant.. The cause of the cracking could also be
that the grout wasn't forced into the space well enough..
I generally use a tile & grout caulk around the tub - it
gives the best of both worlds and is generally available in
shades to match existing grout. Even though it is
silicon-based, I also treat with sealant once it has dried
as an extra barrier against moisture penetration..
The tile should have come down over the lip of the tub, but
should not rest on the tub surround - this is the gap into
which the grout is forced after the tiles have set.
I would recommend removal of the cracking grout and replace
with tile & grout caulk. Make sure that it was all sealed
when installed, and re-seal periodically. Some cleaning
products can degrade sealant, so choose with care.
Hope that helps.
Last year we had our bathroom gut-remodeled. Now the grout around
the tub is deteriorating and there is dampness in under the tub
in the sub-floor. The company that did the tile work is saying
now that we shouldn't regrout, but do silicone caulk as there is
no lip on the fiberglass tub. According to them since there is no
tub lip the grout won't last. I'd like to get a second opinion
before we proceed with them. Anyone have a tile contractor whose
job has held up well over the years? Or a contractor that did a
great repair job? Thanks, Jesse
Dampness under the tub and subfloor? According to them this is
caused by no lip on the fiberglass tub? b.s! You are being had
here. No tile installation should ever, EVER, rely on caulk to
prevent leaking or water damage. Caulk is never forever! The
problem here is probably poor substrate preparation/installation.
Whoever installed the backer board failed to provide
waterproofing behind it and/or left the backing too high to
prevent water from flowing somewhere behind the tub. There should
always be some sort of ''lip'' on a built-in tub for the water to
drain over and around.
The solution: After checking for possible leaks from the spout
and valve area, tear out at least the first course of tile around
the tub where the tub meets the wall. Have another contractor do
this and take lots of pictures as you go. Any irregularities,
such as cuts to the tub, or missing overlaps in the backerboard
should be noted. All manufacturers of every product used has
standard installation best practice guidelines and you should be
able to find many of these online.
I saw an old recommendation for the Grout Doctor but am looking
for recent feedback on anyone who has used the local Grout
Doctor, Oakland, Charles Pellicci to remove/replace old, moldy
caulk from around a bathtub? Was it expensive and was the new
grout job professional and worth the money?
I thought the only solution to the mildewed/stained grout in our bathtub/shower area
was putting in new tile. But there was nothing wrong with our old tile. After
having Mathew Belina's men (The Grout Doctor: www.groutdoctor.com) do their magic,
our shower area looks totally new. Amazing! And I'm picky. I also had them clean
the grout around our kitchen tile and seal it. Again, amazing how wonderful it
looks. Mathew and his crew are as good as it gets and reasonable for what they do.
We have used the Grout Doctor a couple of times and been very
pleased with his work.
No more moldy grout!
Has anyone had any recent experience with ''The Grout Doctor''
that's based in Oakland? We have moldy caulk around the tub that
needs replacing. I suspect it wasn't done properly in the first
place. Any alternative recommendations would be much appreciated
as well. Thanks!
I recently hired the Grout Doctor to re-grout and caulk our
kitchen counter top and bathroom floor and tub. We had a good
experience (on time, good work, etc.) and for a few hundred
dollars they made the kitchen and bathroom look great!
i had the grout doctor come out and resurface tile and re-grout
as well as re-caulk my tub. within one month the tub caulk was
molding worse than before we had it done. they chipped several
tiles with the regrout and missed some spots. the owner came
out to fix some of the problem areas but i think my husband is
going to have to re-caulk the tub again since it was so poorly
done by one of the owners employees. maybe he (the owner) does
a good job, but his enlisted workers may not!! i will not use
We used the Grout Doctor and he was great.
happy with my tub
We used the Grout Doctor and he was great.
happy with my tub
We'd like to have the grout around the tub redone in a bathroom
or two. I don't think the grout was ever sealed properly and
black mold has appeared that we can't remove. Any good
recommendations for someone to come and redo the grout ? mostly
just around the tub? Anyone tried the local ''Grout Doctor?''
(We're in Berkeley.) One tub could also probably do with a
No more yucky grout
Jim Ondersma -925-408-2243 - I have used him for multiple projects
in my home - superb work, attention to detail, cleans up after
himself. I have referred him to others and have always received the
positive feedback. Greg
I used the Grout Dr. to replace moldy & missing grout and caulk in
my kitchen and bathroom floor as well as re-caulk the bathtub. It
wasn't too expensive and it looks great! I recommend calling them --
they're based in Oakland.
this page was last updated: May 27, 2013
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