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Thread: Old shower floor missing grout

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member chigundo's Avatar
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    Default Old shower floor missing grout

    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?






  2. #2
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    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. #3
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    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. #4
    DIY Junior Member chigundo's Avatar
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    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. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    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).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    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


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member chigundo's Avatar
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    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. #8
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    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. #9
    DIY Junior Member chigundo's Avatar
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    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.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A utility knife and LOTS of blades, as they'll dull very quickly.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Many tools, such as a RotoZip or an "oscillating multi function tool", have grout removing bits or attachments.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  12. #12
    DIY Junior Member chigundo's Avatar
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    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. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    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.
    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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