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Thread: Grout or Caulk at Tile corners?

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member scottl44's Avatar
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    Default Grout or Caulk at Tile corners?

    Hello,

    In my last house (tract built 2002), the contractor caulked the joint where the side wall tiles meet the back wall tiles in the stall shower.

    In my new (1956 fixer) house, the contractor I hired used grout in those corners. We have 13" tiles, 1/16" joint non-sanded.

    It seems the grout near the bottom on one side likes to crack. I fill the cracking, but it comes out again. Probably not sticking to the sealer.

    ANYWAY, what say you all? Grout or caulk where the side walls meet the back wall?

    If you say caulk, I guess I should strip out that grout in the corners. But should I cut out some of the caulk where the tiles meet the pan to make sure no water got in?

    The shower pan is a 30" square Florestone with those 1" channels at both sides of the front. Those are open, but the gap between the tile and pan is caulked with silicone all the way around from one of those channels to the other.

    I have read some opinion that some gaps should be left in a few places in that caulk to allow wayward water to escape. If that happens, then it may get in at a spot where there is no gap. So why not just leave the whole thing uncaulked where the tile meets the pan?

    If anybody could set me straight, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

    Scott

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    If you have movement at the corner, you have no choice but to caulk. Around the base, there is the potential for movement so again, caulk is called for. As for a place for water to weep, it can do that at the grout joints just above the caulk.

    When I redid my shower, I used lots of deck screws to lock the framing at the corner to prevent movement. I also used the heavy fibreglass mesh tape on the modified mortar joint of the concrete backer and the corner got a double layer of KERDI where it overlapped at the corner. The tiles met evenly at the corner rather than one tile going behind the other. I grouted the corner and there has been no movement what so ever.
    Last edited by LLigetfa; 05-02-2011 at 05:09 PM.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Caulk at any change of plane.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    Caulk at any change of plane.
    This is the industry standard as called out in the Tile Council of North American handbook (the industry bible). Now, if you are lucky, you may get by with grouting it. There are color-matched sanded and unsanded caulks for most grouts.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member k9mlxj's Avatar
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    Hi, I have a similar situation (see photo). I'm seeing a gap (crack along existing grout) where the wall tiles meet the pan (floor tiles) in the shower. Thought would just join in instead of starting new thread.

    My question is,

    Do I just leave the gap alone and caulk over existing grout w/ silicone? Or remove the existing grout along the edges where the wall tiles meet the pan before putting the caulking in? Any merit to leave the existing grout around?


    Thx.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by k9mlxj; 05-06-2011 at 12:31 PM.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Pull the grout (may need a grout removal tool or a knife) and caulk. Depending on what you use, you may have to do this periodically. www.johnbridge.com is a good source of info on tiling issues.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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