Hi recently I noticed that the tile grout in the bathroom shower stall has
cracked and opened up. I filled it with chalk but it has opened up again. I
may have not used the right product. Do I need a grout repair mix such as
this one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Custom-381-1-qt-Bright-White-Premixed-
So I need to chip away all the existing broken grout it the gap and then ju
st towel on the new grout mix? How long does it need to sit before I can us
e the shower stall again?
I hate to go "worst case" here, but if the water has gotten behind the
tile, that may be the reason the grout/caulk has "opened up again".
I had some loose grout many years ago and when I tried to scrape it out I
found that the tiles moved in and out. The water had gone behind the tiles
and soaked the wallboard. The wall was pretty much mush, with the tiles and
remaining grout basically holding it together. Once I started pulling
tiles, I was able to remove large sections of the wall board by hand with
very little effort.
I spent hours grinding the old adhesive off of the tiles so I could rebuild
that wall and retile it. I wasn't yet ready to redo the entire
bathroom...that happened a few years later.
If the water gets behind the tile, it will soak the wallboard and cause it
to soften. Once the wallboard gets wet and soft, it will move. Tile does
not like to move. Well, actually it's the grout that does like to move.
There are some products that will make grout a little more flexible, but if
the grout keeps cracking, odds are the tile is moving.
BTW...You have used the word "chalk" in both of your posts. I assume you
I don't think I have ever heard of using caulk to fix grout. I've
definitely never heard of using chalk.
> Hi recently I noticed that the tile grout in the bathroom shower stall
> has cracked and opened up.
> the right product. Do I need a grout repair mix such as this one:
> 'Custom #381 1-qt. Bright White Premixed Grout-PMG381QT at The Home
> Depot' (http://tinyurl.com/n3hyxcw )
> just towel on the new grout mix? How long does it need to sit before I
> can use the shower stall again?
Unfortunately, what you're describing is the kind of problems when
ceramic tiling is installed over greenboard or ordinary drywall. If the
ceramic tiling starts to leak, the greenboard or drywall behind it
starts to get wet, and turn soft. Once the drywall is soft, then any
movement of the walls will result in the grout between the tiles
cracking and falling out, causing the drywall behind the tiling to get
wetter. So, you end up with the ceramic tiling equivalent of a snowball
rolling downhill. That is, the more the grout cracks and pops out, the
wetter the drywall gets and the more the grout cracks and pops out.
While you CAN try to repair the damaged grout with the product you
linked to, I expect that the cracking of the grout is just going to
continue and you're nearing the end of the useful life of this shower
Most people in your situation would install something called a "tub
surround" over your existing ceramic tiling. A tub surround is
basically just inexpensive plastic panels that glue to the existing
ceramic tiling with and adhesive of some sort, often silicone caulk.
Tub surrounds will cost anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on how
fancy a tub surround you buy.
But, to answer your question, yes, you would use the product you linked
to. You would mix up some grout in a metal can, for example. Follow
the directions on the package. Normally, they'll tell you to mix the
grout with water, allow it to "slake" for 5 to 10 minutes, which means
just let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and then mix it again.
Then, you apply the grout to the tiling with a rubber grout float.
Then, use a small tool with a curved end, like a popsicle stick or a tea
spoon (depending on the width of your grout lines) to scrape the grout
down to a uniform elevation.
Then, wipe the grout lines down with a damp sponge. (It's easier to
wipe the grout lines down to a uniform depth if you START with them at a
uniform depth.) After wiping the grout lines and tiles down with a damp
sponge, you will see a dull surface developing on the ceramic tiles you
grouted. That dullness is called grout hase. Give the grout about 2
hours more to harden, and then wipe the grout haze off with a DRY rag.
I'd have baths in that bathtub for about 3 days to give the grout a
chance to cure completely before using the shower. Ideally, you'd want
to seal that grout, but I think your better gameplan is to cover your
ceramic tiling with a tub surround while the tiling is still holding
Builder had done my stall shower over regular drywall and it had to be
Took a couple of years for the problem to develop. New tiles put over
the proper cement type board and still look good after 35 years.
On Thu, 19 Sep 2013 12:22:55 -0700 (PDT), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
It depends on how much grout you have to remove and how bad it is. The
grout itself takes about 24hours to set up completely enough to use.
The actual grouting goes very fast but cleanup will take a couple of
There are really two tools that are useful for removing old grout. The
one I used was a Dremel rotary tool with a grout bit. It tool a *lot*
of expensive bits and a lot of time to get all of the old grout out.
The (more recent) alternative is a "multi-tool" or as is known here as
the "twitchy" saw. They're available from Harbor Freight for $20, up
to $400 from Fein. The blades aren't cheap but probably not as
expensive as the Dremel bits.
On Thu, 19 Sep 2013 19:30:22 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
I used a screwdriver to remove grout from a small portion of my floor
(that I had dyed red by spilling inkjet ink from a computer printer.)
Now in place of a screwdriver, I have a dagger. Although I could
grind it back to where it was.
Today I scraped out the cracked grout and caulk and some bullnose tiles came loose. The cement layer behind the tile has a crack too. Does it mean that water had gone past the tiles and compromised the cement backing layer?
I would say that at minimum you have movement. The fact that your
previously repaired grout "opened up" and now you have tiles that are
popping off means that either the tiles themselves were loose and moving or
the wall is moving.
Press on the wall where the tiles came off. Does it feel soft? If it does,
that would be a sure indication that water has gotten behind the tile,
either through the cracked grout or, worse yet, from behind the wall
1. Press on the cement layer behind where the grout lines opened up.
Does it feel soft there?
2. Look at the BACKS of the tiles that came loose. Do they have a lot
of that same cement stuff on the back of them that's on the wall?
It's very possible that the contractor that tiled the bathroom in your
house let his helper do all the tiling while he attended to other
matters, and that helper used thin set to set the tiles. The problem
with thin set is that if it dries up before a tile is pressed into it,
it won't actually "wet" the back of the tile, and the tile won't stick
the way it should. This is especially common with bullnose tiles
because they're typically the last to be set.
(Aside: The above is the reason why I both spread thin set on the wall
and back butter each tile before setting it. That way, if the thin set
on the wall skins over, it will be reactivated by the moisture from the
fresh thin set on the back of the tile, and so I never have a situation
where a tile isn't sticking as well as it should.)
> Today I scraped out the cracked grout and caulk and some bullnose tiles
> came loose. The cement layer behind the tile has a crack too. Does it
> mean that water had gone past the tiles and compromised the cement
> backing layer?
There are two reasons for seeing "cement" behind your tile:
1. The tiles were set with a portland cement based thin set, or
2. The tiles are set on a cement tile backer like Wonderboard or Durock
instead of just drywall.
If you could post a picture of what you're seeing, we could tell you
whether you're looking at a cement based thin set or cement tile backer
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