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Old 01-02-2010, 10:25 PM   #1
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Fine cracks in grout.


I remodeled my bathroom in 2008. For about a year everything was fine. But lately as I have noticed small cracks appearing in the grout. The wall in question is an outside wall and it gets cold in the winter. The wall is insulated and I used backer board, tiled it and grouted. The cracks seem to have gotten worse and more have appeared recently. The tile gaps are about 1/8 inch and I used sanded grout.

How can I fix this problem and fix it so it won't happen again.

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Old 01-03-2010, 06:51 AM   #2
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Fine cracks in grout.


Sounds to me like the grout was too wet. You will probably have to run a router or grout saw(Dremel or similar) bit down the joints and redo them. As they are now, you will be getting water behind the tile.

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Old 01-03-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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Fine cracks in grout.


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Originally Posted by stevez View Post
I remodeled my bathroom in 2008. For about a year everything was fine. But lately as I have noticed small cracks appearing in the grout. The wall in question is an outside wall and it gets cold in the winter. The wall is insulated and I used backer board, tiled it and grouted. The cracks seem to have gotten worse and more have appeared recently. The tile gaps are about 1/8 inch and I used sanded grout.

How can I fix this problem and fix it so it won't happen again.
Cracking grout can also be an indication of an inadequte substrate or a substrate support system. Studs should be 16" on center, the backer board should be 1/2" and the backerboard should be screwed to the studs in a manner dictated by the manufacturer.
Ron
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:17 PM   #4
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Fine cracks in grout.


Why would it crack if it was made too wet.


The studs were 16 inch on center, actually there were more studs in there than needed. I used 1/4 inch backerboard. I don't see that as a problem because there was no flex in the wall because there were more studs than normal in the wall because the wall has a window in it. I also used the same backerboard in the rest of the shower area and no cracks. And there are plenty of screws holding it up. A screw was put were ever it was indicated on the board. I also have used this size board before with out problems.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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Fine cracks in grout.


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Why would it crack if it was made too wet.


The studs were 16 inch on center, actually there were more studs in there than needed. I used 1/4 inch backerboard. I don't see that as a problem because there was no flex in the wall because there were more studs than normal in the wall because the wall has a window in it. I also used the same backerboard in the rest of the shower area and no cracks. And there are plenty of screws holding it up. A screw was put were ever it was indicated on the board. I also have used this size board before with out problems.
You used the wrong thickness board. The requirement for this application is 1/2" thick material. There is no relevance in the studs being closer then 16" to reduce the thickness of the backer board. If the other walls haven't had issue, they probably will. Exterior walls move more due to greater temperature variations. Larger walls move more then smaller walls.
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:26 PM   #6
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Fine cracks in grout.


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
You used the wrong thickness board. The requirement for this application is 1/2" thick material. There is no relevance in the studs being closer then 16" to reduce the thickness of the backer board. If the other walls haven't had issue, they probably will. Exterior walls move more due to greater temperature variations. Larger walls move more then smaller walls.
Ron
Ron I appreciate your response but the company that makes the board seems to think it will work
http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner...=jsn%20avLink4

Also the studs are between 6 and 8 inches apart which should give it plenty of support. I have apicture of the stripped bathroom. Also the wall is not a large wall. It is maybe 6 feet wide and 8 feet high.


This is what I used and I never had any problems like this before.

Last edited by stevez; 01-03-2010 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:34 PM   #7
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Fine cracks in grout.


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Originally Posted by stevez View Post
Ron I appreciate your response but the company that makes the board seems to think it will work
http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner...=jsn%20avLink4

Also the studs are between 6 and 8 inches apart which should give it plenty of support. I have apicture of the stripped bathroom. Also the wall is not a large wall. It is maybe 6 feet wide and 8 feet high.


This is what I used and I never had any problems like this before.
This is what it says to use 1/4" board on.

"HardieBacker 1/4'' board for floors and countertops is America´s best selling 1/4'' board."

If you notice, these are areas with constant support across the whole surface.
But feel free to look elsewhere for the cause of the problem.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:58 PM   #8
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Fine cracks in grout.


I guess you didn't look through out the site. Go the installation part. They show them using it on the wall.

Last edited by stevez; 01-03-2010 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:40 PM   #9
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Fine cracks in grout.


Are the grout cracks in the corners? If so, go get the matching color in silicone. It's also available sanded to match your grout. Grout is as hard as concrete and is not flexible. It is very common for different wall plains to move at different rates, especially outside walls that are colder in the winter. The silicone is much more flexible and will cure your problem.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:54 PM   #10
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Fine cracks in grout.


You would never get 1/4", directly to studs, for anything past an inspector here. Everything has to be 1/2" or more. I cannot imagine any manufacturer suggesting this was "kosher" anywhere in the US. Are you sure they don't think you screwed 1/4" backer over 1/2" existing drywall or some existing wall?

You said you have a window in this situation. Bet is is drafting cold air into the wall unless you packed or foamed its frame with insulation very thoroughly. The wall is simply expanding and contracting because your backer is too thin to start. There may be other issues.

You can carve grout out and replace it until cows come home but you will be at this forever. You have the wrong backer. I would take the tile down, put up 1/2", and do this right. Not what you want to here I know. If you get water behind the tile, you will end up doing this anyhow and the entire wall will really start warping on you in a heartbeat at some point in the near future.

Last edited by user1007; 01-24-2010 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:08 PM   #11
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Fine cracks in grout.


You're being given good advice. All the advice given so far has been dead-on accurate.

You NEVER use 1/4" backerboard as a wall tile substrate unless you're screwing it to plywood or another adequate substrate. 1/4" is for floors.

Were the backerboard joints properly taped with fiberglass tape and "mudded" with thinset prior to application of tile? Not doing this practically guarantees cracks at the backerboard seams.

1/8" cracks in the grout are indicative of structural movement or failure of the substrate for any number of reasons. I doubt that weak grout would open up that much unless it is falling out. Cracking grout at corners isn't unusual. Caulk your inside corners.

For the record, grout (or any cement based product) that is mixed too wet will yield a weaker end product. More water = weak, less water = strong.

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