Old shower floor missing grout

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by chigundo, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. chigundo

    chigundo New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    North Carolina
    My 1949 shower floor is missing grout, although I've never seen any signs of leakage on the ceiling below...

    So, couple questions. How the hell is nothing leaking with this much grout missing?

    Should I make an attempt to clear out the rest of the grout and give it a nice re-grouting or just leave it alone? If re-grout, do I use caulk where the green meets the black curb?

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  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,011
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The grout doesn't seal, it's the liner below that the mud pan is built on. Concrete is porous, so a liner catches the moisture and directs it down the drain.
  3. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet New Member

    Messages:
    371
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    By all means you should re-grout. The crevices will accumulate nasty crud and grow mold and
    other undesireable organisms. The joint between floor and wall should receive flexible caulk.
  4. chigundo

    chigundo New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Thanks, Terry. That buys me time. Although 60+ years is probably well beyond the life of the pan.. let's hope it lasts another 60.

    I'll regrout this weekend. Any tips outside of the standard methods of chiselling out the old grout? This looks like a much harder job with such thin grout lines to begin with.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    Power tools may chip the tile, manual tools are just that manual, and it is a lot of work. Now, grout by itself, normally doesn't crack out. But, if there is any movement, that can create cracks and eventually it may break down. Movement to tile is death to the system.

    As Terry mentioned, at least on the floor, the liner is the waterproofing. In truth, a properly built shower should be water tight without any tile on the surface anywhere at all...the tile is a decorative wear surface, not the primary waterproofing of a properly built shower. Now, lots of them were not built that way! but that is the industry spec (lots of approved methods, often not followed or executed well).
  6. johnfrwhipple

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

    Messages:
    4,179
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    60 years and no signs of leaks is a wonderful story and shows how well a shower can preform when properly build.

    Once your shower is removed I would not be surprised to find a pre-slope under your liner.

    No fasteners through the liner.

    And most likely a few runs of candle wick run to the weep holes - but I'm sure the candle wick is long since gone and only a tunnel of sorts is left.

    What type of cleaners are you using on this shower?

    Does it get used every day?

    Can you use another bathroom for a spell and let this one fully dry out?

    JW
  7. chigundo

    chigundo New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The shower is used daily, yes.. 3 times in fact. It's the only shower. It is possible to time it so that it can be un-used for a couple days if necessary. So far for cleaners it's just really been Tilex.. i tried some oxyclean but that't didn't help either.. Any suggestions?
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Even though you have a lot of age on that, it appears there is life left in it! And of course it is a good looking shower. Regrouting is labor intensive, but otherwise not a big investment, so there is really no downside to regrouting now. If it leaks next year, you aren't out much.

    A well made shower floor would not leak if it was NEVER GROUTED! The grout keeps most of the water where it will drain, not let crud build up, etc.

    Yes, any joint at a change of plane (corners, wall to floor) is better with caulk than grout, due to likely movement. Put in the smallest, neatest line of caulk you can. That will be easier to maintain.
  9. chigundo

    chigundo New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Is there a tool outside of simple grout scrapers that I can find at the hardware store that can get in between these tiles?? Some of these grout lines are just too narrow for a tool it seems.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    A utility knife and LOTS of blades, as they'll dull very quickly.
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,651
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Many tools, such as a RotoZip or an "oscillating multi function tool", have grout removing bits or attachments.
  12. chigundo

    chigundo New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I'll pick up some razors and a 1/16" grout removal attachment for my dremel multi-max.. I will tackle this project this weekend. Any particular grout mix that's recommended for this? I won't need much.. but should I avoid anything pre-mixed? Whatever I can pick up at local big box would be easiest but there are a couple tile specialist stores nearby as well... looking for what you pros would recommend for this.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    You have many choices...one you don't want is a pre-mixed grout, though.

    Selecting a grout type depends somewhat on the size of the grout joint. Up to an 1/8", you can use an unsanded grout. At 1/8" or larger you need a sanded grout. Using an unsanded grout on larger than 1/8" grout joints will almost certainly result in cracking when it cures - it shrinks. Less than 1/8", and it should stay intact. Actually, you can push sanded grout into smaller than 1/8" joints, but it is much harder to do. A sanded and unsanded grout will have slightly different looks to them. Laticrete is one good brand, but there are lots of others.

    Another viable choice would be to go with an epoxy grout. The colors tend to be much more stable, and they don't benefit from a grout sealer as they're essentially a plastic with bulking agents (colors and maybe some sand) in them. Lots of choices, and you can get some pretty psychedelic results including optional glow in the dark and really bright colors, if that's your thing. Spectralock is one brand that people have had good luck with.
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