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Missing Grout

A minor shower repair could save thousands.

Small spots of missing grout

Missing Grout

The first picture shows a half inch of  missing grout, more than enough to allow water to seep in and cause big problems.

This next picture shows a small piece of missing grout directly above the soap dish, After a short period of time the soap dish will be history. It is common to see these problems in the lower front corner of the shower, the area that takes the direct water assault every day.

The third photo shows how the caulk has separated from the tub, once this happens water gets trapped behind the caulk causing it to turn black from the inside out. This also creates the problem of the water running along the lip of the tub, behind the caulk and tile, finding its way to the floor outside the shower, ultimately causing floor damage as well. Missing grout in Stafford Virginia shower

Inspect your grout and caulk periodically

It is a great idea to inspect all your tile work from time to time as most of these minor problems can be fixed easily and inexpensively, but putting it off will surely result in thousands of dollars in repairs.

What causes these problems?

There are many reasons grout and caulk fail, the main reason is poor installation. Grout is a cement based product that has no elasticity at all, so if there is any movement in the wall, floor, or tub, the grout will crack for sure. It is common for the grout to crack along the corners and edges after installation, when this happens we usually caulk those areas. Caulk has the elastic properties needed to handle the expansion and contraction that happens in all homes. Just filling a bathtub can be enough weight to compromise the joints between the tile and the tub if the subfloor, floor joists or tub installation does not meet code requirements.

Other common reasons for failure is improper mixing of the grout, over working the grout with too much water,  or not preparing the surfaces for grout and caulk. Caulk will not stick properly to surfaces that have moisture, soap scum, body oils, mold, mildew ect…

These additional reasons still fall under the improper installation category. The only reason that doesn’t fall under that category is faulty products. Bad grout and caulk is not common, but we do come across it from time to time. Just like grocery shopping, always check the dates on the product, I have come across many out of date products in the home centers across the Fredericksburg area. Never use grout or caulk that has been opened or laying around the garage for a long time. These products are inexpensive and it is definitely worth buying fresh sealed product for every job.

The last two photos show the same tub and shower I worked on, in Stafford County Virginia last week. Both were minor repairs that took less than an hour, and will save this rental property from big repairs and even worse…down time.

cracked separated caulk in stafford va

Cracked separated caulk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stafford county shower repair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

caulk job in stafford virginia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Replacing cracked or loose tiles.

 

Why are my tiles cracking and grout falling out?

There are many reasons why tiles crack or become loose. The most common reason is poor installation. There are many short cuts installers can take to save time or money, most may not be noticeable for a year or two, long after the job is done. By this time the installer is nowhere to be found. Before tile can be installed the floor should be prepared with a suitable cement backer board. The board should be layed in thin set, and screwed down as well as making sure all seams are taped.

After the sub floor has been prepared with backer board the tile can be set in thin set. For larger jobs there should be at least 2 installers to ensure the thin set does not start to set up be for the tile is placed on it. It is also advisable to butter the back of each tile, another step that is often skipped because it just takes more time.

Pristine highly recommends using a company that specializes in installing tile, not just a handyman or a family member. You will be much happier with your floor in the long run. Pristine has two personal favorites J & J tile and Marble or quality carpet and floor(Bob Mcdonald or Scott Busby can help you). Please trust me on this, I get call after call from folks who’s floor is failing because they tried to save money on the install.

So… after all that has been said, can we fix your floor?

sometimes… it depends on the severity of the problem. If it is just a few tiles or a small area that has become a problem we can carefully remove the tiles, grind down the old thin set and re-set the tiles, as shown in the photos. If the problem is widespread through out the majority of the floor, chances are, it was a really poor installation job and needs to be done over.

One last tip on installing floors…always, always, always save some leftover tile for repairs and even take note of the grout color and where it came from. This makes certain that any future repairs will look great! The biggest problem we face is that people have cracked or broken tiles and no spares. Once the floor is installed the tile will become obsolete and nowhere to be found in less than a year.

 

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