Grout Vs Caulk at corner of shower floor/wall


I have a 2 year old shower that is ceramic tile on the floors & on the walls. It is grouted where the wall tiles meet the floor tiles. The grout on two of these wall/floor areas is cracking where the grout meets the tile (both the wall tile & the floor tile). How to I repair this. Remove old grout & then caulk? Can I just caulk over the grout that is pulling from the tile? Put clear silicone caulk over the cracking areas? Regrout this area? Please HELP !!!
-------------------------------------
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/4/2011 12:31 PM, HelpMe wrote:

corners are especially bad for grout cracks. they should have been caulked instead. you probably need to remove the grout and caulk to get a final solution.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Gotta call you on that one. The caulk will stick, but it won't be long lasting and it won't be gua-ran-teed to be 100% waterproof. It's not all that much work to remove the old grout and clean out the joint. Do it right, do it once.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/4/2011 6:13 PM, RicodJour wrote:

the meeting surfaces obsessively, wipe with full strength bleach, let dry, caulk. Done (unless I smudge it and have to do it over) :o)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You're not arguing with me, you're arguing with the physical properties of caulk. Caulk won't stretch in every direction equally regardless of area of adhesion and thickness. Unless you control the joint width and depth, and insure that the narrow dimension is normal to the direction that the joint will move, the caulk will fail. Murphy's Law requires it to fail in a way that is most unfavorable to your desired outcome - waterproofing.
Some people just goober on the caulk right over the grout and bridge the joint. That may work for a while, but it's a non-starter if you want the job to last and don't want the caulk job to yell out, "Amateur!" Caulked joints should be almost indistinguishable from a grout line - uniform along it's length, color matched, and as close to the standard grout line width as possible.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 11/5/2011 9:44 AM, RicodJour wrote:

It's pretty unlikely to find a corner joint with tile where the gap is as fine and even as a grout joint...and stretching is only minimal; consider how wide the fine crack is if the joint is grouted. We're not talking about trampolines.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Look at any of my tile jobs and you'll see they're all like that. It takes longer, but I'm only doing it once. But it doesn't matter how big the gap is, within reason, it matters how you approach caulking the joint. Filling the joint, or attempting to bridge it, without taking into account the caulk bead depth and dimensions is a surefire recipe for failure.

The water we have around here does not discriminate based on the size of the gap. If there's a gap, the water will enter it. It's a shower, eh?
As far as the amount of stretch - that's exactly the point. You don't fight the material, you work with it. The caulk should be adhered at both sides and the caulk thinner in the middle so it'll stretch the way it is supposed to and not pull the caulk away from the tile on one side.
Different ways to caulk correctly:
http://www.inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Figure1-38.jpg
http://www.inspectapedia.com/BestPractices/Figure6-37.jpg
Carpentry, but it applies to tile as well:
http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/BackerRod-1_1.jpg
Shows preferred caulk bead dimensions:
http://www.jlconline.com/isroot/jlconline/ImagesOnline/images/htmlarticles/html/2001/0102/0201Mc51.eps.gif
This is all well established caulking practice. You appear to be saying "it doesn't matter", but it does. A slow leak is not better than a fast one. A big gap/leak will show up more quickly and is less likely to do extensive damage. A small gap/leak can go undetected for years, and then when it is finally discovered it is never good. Reframing and mold remediation are the usual outcomes.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The essential difference is that caulk remains flexible. The floor and walls will always have some slight movement from either standing on the floor or heating/cooling cycles, etc..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, 5 November 2011 05:31:52 UTC+10, HelpMe wrote:

Want to know the bad news? Because no one else is saying it. OK, I have long experience with shower areas in Austalia at least, and the vast majority of wall/floor joints are grouted. This is because of longevity. If you put caulk there, it won't last. Neither will silicone, and if silicone is smeared on it will end up looking like a permanent steak of dirt after accumulating shower grime for years, it will be the only thing you can't clean. Your best bet is to simply rub some more grout in there. Problem fixed.
If you have a lot of movement in the house, you might want to try a flexible grout additive. If you want it to last 100 years try an epoxy grout.
All of these solutions (caulk, grout & silicone) are presuming that the original gap was 2mm to 3mm between the floor and wall.
So that's my advice. Whatever you put in, be prepared to replace it. But I like grout.
(PS. porosity is not an issue with an underlying waterproofing membrane and the appropriate angle of drainage.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

dirt

Thanks for this info. Same situation here. I put silicone caulk on a few years ago and sealed the crack but looks bad, like you said.
What's a good way to remove the old caulk? Is it necessary to try and scrape out the caulk that's inside the cracks?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.