Wrong grout for flat pebble shower floor?

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by brgirl, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. brgirl

    brgirl New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    CO
    Oh no. I do believe the wrong grout was installed in the shower floor where we used flat pebbles. Non-sanded grout was used and I believe sanded should have been used. Floor has been grouted (and on that note I read somewhere after the fact that the pebbles should have been sealed before grouting - Some of the grout colored the pebbles but not horribly) and sealed already. Can this be fixed at a later date if anything happens? What could happen? If I need to tear out, how to do this? This has been the longest project. Any help/comments would be much appreciated. Did we really mess up?

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,950
    Location:
    New England
    You should have used a sanded grout. The unsanded may last awhile. Typically, when installed with larger spacing than specified (max 1/8" for unsanded), you will see shrinkage cracks appear as it cures in the first month or so. It also isn't as strong as a sanded grout, and exposing a lot can allow some material erosion over time.

    At this point, it's a lot of work to dig it out and redo. I think I'd probably take the wait and see route, but if you paid someone to do this, it should be fixed on their dime...a pro should know better!

    Sealing the pebbles probably wouldn't prevent grout from getting into the cracks in the stone. That wouldn't bother me - it's part of the unique nature of natural stone. It's better to have those probably filled with grout rather than collecting crud. Now, if there isn't enough depth, it will probably crack out of there on its own in time. If you really want to get it out, it can be done, but it's a lot of work to get it out without compromising the grout between the pebbles.
  3. brgirl

    brgirl New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    CO
    Thank you Jadnashua. Your input is much appreciated. I was afraid of that.
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,061
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Did you soak test the tile? I would want to know what happens to the tile after being left in some water for a couple of days.
  5. brgirl

    brgirl New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    CO
    I will do that. Don't know though what that is though. Per sealer, total cure is 24-48 hours. Please explain, but I will look up also. I assume the drain should be plugged and leave water in for a couple of days. What would I be looking for? (sorry for my ignorance.)
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  6. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,061
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Your describing a flood test. I asked if you did a soak test on the pebble tile.

    Take a sheet of the pebble tile and soak it for two days. Then let us know what you see and smell after.

    I would first check if the stone is of good quality and what the effects of water and time are on it before assuming grout or sealers are to blame for any changes.

    You might also find out that the glue smells horrible. That the stone tile has a water based glue. These two points might influence your choices in the next few days....
  7. brgirl

    brgirl New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    CO
    Now I understand. The pebbles were taken off the netting/backing and installed individually by hand, and therefore no glue either.
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,061
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    That is good news. Well done.
  9. brgirl

    brgirl New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    CO
    So good to hear that. At least we did something right!
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,061
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    The mesh backing on tiles these days is crap. So many suppliers using water based glue. We have found that the glue source is spray to the entire backs. Not spot set like the better products.
  11. brgirl

    brgirl New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    CO
    Thank you for sharing your wealth of information (and others). It's terrible you can't trust a product to perform. I have learned by trial and error tons throughout this process and of course haven't even begun to scratch the surface. It's definitely an art. I thought read somewhere there's a shortage of tile setters going into the business. That is sad if true as the end result is magnifique. It is definitely worth it! What a difference!
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

    Messages:
    4,061
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Planned Obsolescence - that's my thoughts. And cost.

    Everyone makes a buck and in the end the home owner takes it in the backside.
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