cracked grout question

About 4 months ago I had my bathroom remodeled and there is now cracking along some of the grout joints. To be more specific, the grout is not crumbling or anything, it's just separated from the tile on one side. I am getting some bids on the repair but since I don't want this to happen twice, I'm looking for some "independent" opinions. I'll try as best as possible to describe the details. Please excuse my vernacular as I am not in construction.
Description of the area in question. This is a custom made 4x4 tiled shower. All walls and floor were installed with cement board, the floor is 4x4 stone tile, there is poured concrete below the floor. The shower walls are 12x12 ceramic tile with some slate trim tile throughout. The front side of the shower is made up of about 18" of wall (floor to ceiling) on the left, then a 36" opening which accomodates a 30" wide 1/2" glass door and finally a 6" in-line panel, also 1/2" glass (marked below with "6"). The door is attached with 2 hinges (see "S" below) to the 18" section of wall. I attempted to create an illustration below. The tiles the hinges are mounted to and the tiles on the threshold are all slate and were installed with wall glue. The door and in-line panel were installed professionally by the glass door company.
Problem: the grout has separated from the tile (cracked) from floor to ceiling along the corner where the slate tile (S) meets the ceramic tile (C) on the inside part of the short wall. It has also cracked along the horizontal grout line of the threshold.
It seems to me this cracking is due to the weight of the door, but how does that explain the threshold cracking? I did some reading on the internet and found some information on epoxy grout, some of it favorable and some not. Some say it would flex and prevent this cracking and others say to stay away from it under all circumstances (commercial only). I am also wondering if the slate tile on the threshold and where the door is mounted should have been attached with mortar instead of wall glue. Any help is appreciated.
________________________ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |____C | | |_______|S 6 |__|
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is a little hard to figure out your description and diagram, but if the cracks are at corners or tub edges, the problem is likely the use of grout where caulk should have been used. Where joints between surfaces occur, you need something flexible.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It's a top view of the shower. The slate (S) was glued and the door hung on S side. The cracks are vertical, except one at the threshold. That suggest to me the slate has settled/moved. The grout cracked.
I'm not a tile person, but I think the slate needs to be mortared onto the backer board.
Is that clear as mud ? :-))
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you to all who replied. To answer the one question, I hired a local handyman (there's a connection to the family), so for various reasons I'm moving on. Probably would have been better to hire a professional contractor, I know.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"I had my bathroom remodeled" which leads me to believe a job fully hired out. What did they say when you gave them a callback on it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The general consensus is to use grout in the field, and sanded caulk where different materials meet or where surfaces change direction.
Different materials expand with temperature at different rates. Caulk is flexible and gives a little. Grout doesn't give at all. It's really just pretty concrete. You don't have to use caulk around the slate trim, but it should be used where tile meets glass or metal.
Surfaces going in different directions, even if of the same material, will expand in different directions, cracking grout over time. Use the flexible caulk there.
The most likely repair is to carefully chip out the grout in the places giving you trouble, to be replaced with caulk. The people who sold you the grout will be happy to sell you matching sanded caulk.
--
Steve B.
New Life Home Improvement
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you to all who replied. To answer the one question, I hired a local handyman (there's a connection to the family), so for various reasons I'm moving on. Probably would have been better to hire a professional contractor, I know.
I thought it would easier if I posted a detailed photo, worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the cracked grout since I already started removing the tile (long story).
http://www.cmsflm.com /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.