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Old 12-31-2009, 02:28 PM   #1
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New shower, cracked grout


I just had my shower redone earlier this year. All wall and ceiling corners/joints were grouted, and there are now several cracks at the these corners, some up to 1mm wide.

Having perused the forums here, I see a very wide range of opinion about whether to grout or caulk shower corners.

Someone told me that he only caulks the corners. The handyman that did my shower for me said he could simply caulk over the cracked grout. I feel this is patchwork. I don't want to accept this if in fact he should be re-grouting the corners. Or removing the grout and using only caulk?

As to the cause, it was that lightweight EZ Backerboard that was used behind the tiles. Do you think this material is too flexible for something that requires grout? Or perhaps Ottawa's cold winter climate contributed to changes in the structure?

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Old 01-08-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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New shower, cracked grout


The wall substrate should be 1/2" thick and the corners caulked. Getting the grout out is a pain, but needs to be done to fix the issue.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:32 PM   #3
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New shower, cracked grout


Always caulk the corners and never grout them. There will be movement and the grout will always fail. Remove the grout and use matching siliconized grout.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:14 PM   #4
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WHAT......lol. Do as Ron said and Jaros tried to say.

Be safe, Gary
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Old 02-16-2010, 06:41 PM   #5
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New shower, cracked grout


Somehow I didn't see the notification that someone had responded to my question. Thanks, everyone, for the advice.

What are the reasons for removing the grout instead of just caulking over it in the corners?
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:36 PM   #6
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New shower, cracked grout


it will help make it look like it was done right the first time
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:34 AM   #7
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New shower, cracked grout


The reason why showers crack along the grout lines is because of the difference in expansion coefficients of the grout+tile 'mass' of one wall versus the other walls, and the materials underneath, like studs.

They react differently to moisture and heat from a shower, so they relieve stress by cracking - usually along the weakest point in the corners. So what you do using caulk is you separate one wall from the other. You won't stop the cracking but by putting a flexble caulk there instead of an inflexible grout, you allow each wall to move independently of the other.

Putting caulk on top of grout just hides the crack.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:58 PM   #8
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So are you suggesting that hiding the cracks with caulk is setting me up for something more serious down the line?

Cosmetically, I would have thought the caulk would look similar, and seal the corners just as well, with or without the grout underneath. I wonder whether changing the caulk in several years, once it's deteriorated, would also be much easier with grout underneath.
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleet_Foxes View Post
So are you suggesting that hiding the cracks with caulk is setting me up for something more serious down the line?

Cosmetically, I would have thought the caulk would look similar, and seal the corners just as well, with or without the grout underneath. I wonder whether changing the caulk in several years, once it's deteriorated, would also be much easier with grout underneath.
The visual isn't as important as the sealing aspect. Pushing a thin layer of a good caulk into a small crevice would not do the job. Opening up the area to an 1/8" or so will allow enough caulk into the area to expand and contract with the wall/ceiling movement. If you do it correctly, you shouldn't have to do it again.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:55 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleet_Foxes View Post
So are you suggesting that hiding the cracks with caulk is setting me up for something more serious down the line? --- NO.

Cosmetically, I would have thought the caulk would look similar, and seal the corners just as well, with or without the grout underneath. I wonder whether changing the caulk in several years, once it's deteriorated, would also be much easier with grout underneath.
---- Grout is not waterproof like caulk. You want the caulking to bridge both materials in an hour-glass shape, so it can stretch as the materials move at different degrees. Read step 5 if it applies: http://www.crossroadsci.com/LinkClic...t.pdf&tabid=80

You don't want to just fill the whole crack, 1/4" x 3/8" deep with the caulking touching the back surface too. So many installers do that wrong, Page 31: http://books.google.com/books?id=fDs...age&q=&f=false

Be safe, Gary

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