Re: Grout/Caulk Crumbling in Steam Shower
Posted by More on May 03, 2002 at 16:40:37:
In response to Re: Grout/Caulk Crumbling in Steam Shower
: We had a custom steam shower installed approximately 4 months ago. Recently, we noticed that the grout (or caulk???) that was used on the perimeter of the shower is very soft and pasty, and is crumbling away. This is occuring in areas where the wall meets the floor, as well as where the tiled shower bench meets the wall. Any ideas on why this would happen and how we can have it fixed? Also, will this crumbling problem result in water leaks outside of the shower area?

: Hope to hear from someone soon. Thank you!

Grout is a mixture of colored fine grained aggregate and the cement that is used for mortar, and water. When too much water is used, the grout will not compact the air space well enough to seal out water, and when too little water is used the grout compacts in uneven application, bunches up, leaves air gaps, and then oxidizes, gets chalky, and crumbles. When grout is mixed well and applied right, it usually provides a pretty good water seal for about a year, but then shrinks and leaks. Most professionals mix the grout right, then compact it into the joints, and after allowing time for the grout to dry, they apply a sealer. The sealer is similar to a thin coating of plastic (but it isn't plastic) which enters the pores and air pockets of well applied grout, and greatly eliminates opportunity for air intrusion, and oxidation. Yours shouldn't be crumbling after only foru months, but you probably have a warrantee that the installation is to be free of defects in workmanship and labor for a year, so ask the installer to come back, fix the grout, and ensure that a sealer is applied to prevent water damage.

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