Removing grout from shower wall/floor joint to replace with caulk

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AlGreen

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Several spots in the grout where the shower walls and floor meet have cracked. Rather than re-grout, I'm going to use silicone caulk. What I'm wondering is how much grout I should be aiming to remove. All? Or just to a certain depth? I've attached two photos showing where I'm at now with one section.

2020-06-10 17.19.03.jpg
2020-06-10 17.18.24.jpg
 

introzz2010wt

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Wow, this crack is pretty big. Did you try use something else than silicone caulk?
 
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AlGreen

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I made that crack. This is after me removing a significant amount of grout. It's what's currently left.
 

jadnashua

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If you were going to regrout (you shouldn't, industry guidelines say not to!), you'd need to go at least 2/3'rds the depth of the tile so things had a chance to adhere well to the sides of the tile. If you can go a bit further, I'd use some backer rod in the gap. This does a couple of things:
- makes the caulk joint more of an hour-glass shape that stretches better rather than tearing off the sides (you still need to get those edges as clean as you can)
- means you'll use less caulk

Now, with that cove tile for the base, it might be okay to have that joint grouted...I'm not positive.

But, keep in mind, if you're doing this to help make things waterproof, it's a waste of time! Neither the tile nor the grout is waterproofing in a shower...the waterproofing in a pan is the liner. Yes, the vast majority of moisture will go sliding down the tile on top to the drain, but a little WILL get beneath it regardless of what you do. A properly built shower is built to handle that. That's why pans have a liner, and it should be flood tested prior to putting the tile in place.

It's not unusual for any change of plane to crack which is why the industry guidelines call for a movement joint (often a caulk joint, but could be a simple gap, or an engineered movement joint).

A grout saw can remove the grout, but it's harder to do in that gap against the wall. A vibrating tool with a grout blade MIGHT let you get in there, especially if you can find one with an offset blade. In either case, you have to be careful to not mess up the edges or surface of the tile if it slips, so go slow.

Sometimes, if the grout is not in great condition, a utility knife can work, but you'll need to replace the blade often.

Best place I've found for things tile related is www.johnbridge.com
 
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AlGreen

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Thanks Jim. Yes, using a grout saw in that spot was challenging to say the least. I ended up springing for an oscillating multi-tool today, and that made the removal much easier. I literally would have been at it for days using the hand saw. Still have to get in the corners, but I'm close.

I was going to ask for thoughts on using backer rod. I picked up the smallest diameter they sell at the big box store by me (3/8"), so hopefully that will fit.

And the shower waterproofing system is something that I'd been wondering about. This shower is in an addition that may have been added in the '70s, though the bathroom itself is definitely more recent. Maybe late '80s? I'm guessing that would that have been recent enough to have a pan.

I'll definitely check out the johnbridge.com site.
 

jadnashua

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FWIW, shower pans have been in the code for ages. That doesn't mean yours was built properly.
 
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