Grout or Caulk at Tile corners?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by scottl44, May 2, 2011.

  1. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    Thanks so much for your detailed answers!
  2. nestork

    nestork Janitorial Technician

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Also, if you want to know how bleach actually works to kill mildew, read this post I wrote on a DIY forum I used to post on:

    http://www.homerepairforum.com/forum/everything-else/11110-vertical-fan-ions.html

    I own a small apartment block and so I have to know about this stuff to protect my investment. My business wouldn't be nearly as successful and I wouldn't be able to attract desireable tenants if my bathrooms looked like the one pictured above.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  3. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    Hi guys,

    Back again.

    Now that my little girls are getting bigger, they want to start taking showers, so I need to install a sliding door over the tub.

    Anyway, the same contractor used grout in the corners of that shower and it's cracking so I'm going to strip it out and caulk the corners.

    My question is which caulk to use? I tried some GE silicone in the other shower but it seems like it gets black mildew within a year or two.

    I found this DAP Silicone Plus Premium Silicone Rubber Sealant

    Can anybody let me know if this is a good choice to use for all my change of plane joints, or is there something better?

    Thanks a lot,
    Scott
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2013
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  5. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    If it was moisture from behind, wouldn't the caulk be discolored all the way through? I can dig or scrape at this stuff and see the caulk color underneath.

    Which shower do you mean, the one that's done or the one I want to do?
  6. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    I have gotten used to putting sealer on grout, but I never actually knew why.

    Is it to keep water out, or to keep the grout from staining?

    Thanks,
    Scott
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    Grout (and it helps on some tile as well) sealer is primarily for helping to prevent stains. While it may have a short-term water beading capability, it is not a filler that prevents water from migrating through the surface. A typical glazed tile doesn't benefit, nor does a straight porcelain tile unless it is polished, then the pores are opened up, and it should be sealed as well as the grout. A urethane and epoxy based grout typically does not benefit from sealing, only cement based ones.
  8. John Bridge

    John Bridge Mudmeister

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Mold behind silicone only means the silicone should have been replaced before the water got behind it. It's not permanent material. Remove the silicone, allow the joint to dry out thoroughly, and then install new silicone. :)
  9. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    I just have Custom's non-sanded in 1/16" joints.

    I always had thought sealer was to keep out water. So is it normal and permissible to have water leech in to those joints? It doesn't cause any water damage inside the wall?
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    A properly built shower isn't damaged by moisture even before the tile is installed. Except maybe in a commercial shower or steamroom, the shower is not typically used more than an hour or two each day, so it has time to dry out. Sealer is primarily designed to help prevent staining, but it does help slow, but not stop, moisture. On a conventional shower pan build, they put weep holes underneath the tile for a reason...gravity helps move any moisture that does get there down the sloped liner and out the drain. ON a wall, it primarily dries to the outside.

    The reason I prefer a surface applied membrane is that there is so much less in a shower that can get wet in the first place on both the walls and the pan, so it will dry out much faster than a conventional shower built over materials that can absorb moisture, and, I feel, is a much better solution to a shower that gets heavy use.
  11. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Grouting or Chaulk in the Corners: Answers

    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  12. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    OK, are you saying that any water that gets through the grout will just come back through? Since this 30x30 stall shower is caulked on three sides where the 13" tiles meet the pan, the only "drain" holes are on either side at the front. I was reading on another tile forum that it is recommended to leave gaps in a few places in the caulk to allow for the drainage of any water that gets in. But where and how far apart to make those gaps; maybe at each grout line?
  13. John Bridge

    John Bridge Mudmeister

    Messages:
    49
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Scott,

    You won't find anything in prevailing standards that specifies "drain holes." Neither will you find and\y reference in the Handbook for Tile Installation put our by the Tile Council of North America. :)
  14. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    John,

    Not sure I understand your answer. The drain holes I mention are maybe called weep holes, but they are part of the Florestone pan I mentioned, so they may have nothing to do with tile.
  15. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    John "Expert Tile Witness" on Grout or Chaulk at Tile Corners - :)

    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  16. scottl44

    scottl44 New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    Walnut Creek, CA
    OK, just so I can be clear, it is normal for water to get through the grout, and it just evaporates or seeps back out. Is that correct?

    Also, should there or should there not be any gaps left in the caulking where the tile meets the shower pan? (30" stall shower caulked on three sides where the tile meets the pan at the bottom.)
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    Neither the tile nor the grout is totally waterproof, and therefore, yes, you will get some moisture to penetrate, especially when hit with the shower spray directly. Now, how far in, or how much will depend on how often the shower is used and the type of tile and grout, and the quantity and pressure from the head(s). How quickly the shower dries out can be a factor - the dry desert verses the FL coast, and how well the ventilation is done (often, how long the fan is left on, or if the doors or curtain are left open).

    There is no industry standard for your second question. Some like to leave gaps to make it easier for moisture to escape, some ignore that entirely. If the shower is built properly, it won't matter, at least from a damage viewpoint. IF the grout lines are not huge, and the tile is either porcelain or glazed, very little moisture will penetrate, and most often, that that does, evaporates in between uses. It's more of an issue on the pan, and unless you use a surface membrane, the slope of the liner and the operation of the weepholes are the critical things.
  18. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    Montreal

    1. Yes , if cemetituous grouts are used .

    2. No gaps in the silicone, nor I would ever leave some on showers or tub surrounds .
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  19. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  20. eurob

    eurob master tile and stone installer

    Messages:
    537
    Location:
    Montreal
    The answer was directly to the above post . I did correct it -- NO Gaps In The Silicone -- .

    Thanks for pointing it out . ;)
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