Just had a new shower installed, tiles going down and overlapping the
flange of an acrylic shower base. Contractor "sealed" the tile/base
connection with grout, which soon cracked due to weight in shower and
flexibility of base. I then used grouted caulk, which now has also
How can I seal this small gap in a way that will not crack? Or maybe I
should not worry about it (concrete backboard behind tiles).
I'd get the contractor to fix it. I don't like the idea that the base
flexes so much. I'm no expert but maybe there should have been a solid
mud base under it. It can take many months for leaks to develop if the
job was not done right in the first place.
Yeah, I'd agree with you but his descrip made it sound like a LOT of time
has passed and he's also tried to make fixes of his own, which likely
negated any warranty. He'd most likely have a losing battle on his hands
there unless it was a really pro-attitude contractor.
And you're right; there should never be any space under a shower pan,
regardless of the circumstances. It can even crack the cement over time. I
learned that the hard way on our last home.
Did contractor pour a bed of concrete or other material under the shower
base to prevent flexing?
If not, the flexing will continue. At this point, I would remove the
grout and use a silicone tub and tile caulk that can flex a little.
Properly applied it won't collect soap scum and moisture. Surface needs
to be absolutely clean (wiped prior with full strength bleach) and dry.
I get a tiny bit of mildew growing in the lower corners of our shower
stall - I just use Scrubbing Bubbles once in a while, and brush down
with bleach mebbe once a year. I leave the curtain open a bit on both
sides so air can circulate, and we have a timer on the exhaust fan so it
runs longer than we're in the room.
Your "contractor" is lame! 1. Weight should not cause flex of the
joint. 2. Use caulk for wall/floor joins. Call him back and tell him
to do it right; follow up by putting the issues in a nice, business-like
letter and send it certified mail. That's so when it cracks for the
umpteenth time (pessimistically speaking), you have proof of the
condition and when it occurred.
The popular opinion is that corners crack, if grouted, because of
movement with expansion/contraction, so a flexible caulk is used.
Having cement board is not a reason to allow any moisture to seep behind
the wall! Jeesh!
*That shower pan should not flex. There should have been a small pile of
cement put down and then the pan pressed down onto it. The short term
problem is what you are experiencing now. The long term problem is that the
pan will eventually crack.
GE pure Silicon caulk is made for just that purpose. Get the gaps well
cleaned and even rinse some denatured alcohol down thru them (with exhaust
fans on FIRST), to caulk will adhere the best. Silicon caulk is a tad
expensive, but never hardens, allows pieces to move around without losing
the seal, and seems to last forever. I pull apart some pieces once that had
1/4" beads in it; it was still perfectly adhered, still very flexible, and
was still doing its job; this was 18 years after I put it down, too.
Make sure it's silicone; those with just a % of silicone still allow it
to harder after a few years and don't do nearly as good a job. Any good
hardware or home store seems to carry it.
It stinks while it's curing, comes in clear or white and sometimes other
colors. "Clear" isn't really clear; more like a faded window covereing.
There's sometimes a temptation by some to use it as a glue; don't! Since
it's so flexible, it'll still "run" over time and stretch thin between two
movable or widely separated parts. I love the stuff. No monetary interest in
it, but I do wish I'd bought some stock in it! <g>
As for small/tiny leaks: They still should be fixed. They're a home for
mold, just waiting for it to move in. You want to be careful of creating
places mold can get into; it can be VERY expensive once it gets to the point
of making people sick. Well IF it gets that far; it's not a given or
anything but best not to take chances.
Oh, and all shower/tub enclosures I've seen in the last few years say to
use the Silicon caulk, too. To keep it from sticking to your fingers, dip
them in cooking oil; works great! Don't get it on your clothing; it'll never
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