Home & Garden

Bathroom Renovation - Grout sealing.

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  • Sep 10th, 2021 10:52 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes

Bathroom Renovation - Grout sealing.

Hi,

Question about standard for bathroom remodel and new build.

What kind of grout is standard used and is water proofing liquid membrane or some membrane suppose to be used behind tiles? If grout is just sanded or unsanded grout, based on What I read, is that it should be sealed to prevent water seeping in.

My contractor finished bathroom remodel and the grout was set to cure for more than a week, but he didn't tell me that it wasn't sealed. After 2 weeks of use, the grout isn't drying and started cracking and some of the grout leaked into the bathtub.

And one of the tiles cracked slightly so suspect it could be water already getting behind the adhesive and or the grout mixture having been mixed with too much water or mortar not properly applied.

I am getting my contractor to assess and to discuss, but my main thing here is, my case is that he didn't do the proper job to get it ready for actual use and didn't advise on grout sealing.

What is the standard for new builds and a bathroom remodel?
33 replies
Sr. Member
Jan 21, 2011
810 posts
334 upvotes
GTA
I suspect your contractor messed up somewhere. Grout doesn’t really need to be sealed, although it’s best to do so. It should only take about 3 days for grout to dry.

How long after tiles did they do the grout?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
A while. Like the tiles and mortared were left to set.

If it's just regular sanded grout using non premix, with thin grout lines (less than 1/16), I have read it's advised for use with grout sealer. Is this true?

Whats standard?

The grout isnt drying atm, add a dehumidifier and fan?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
A while. Like the tiles and mortared were left to set.

I've read there is different types of grout, If it's just regular sanded grout using non premix, with thin grout lines (less than 1/16), I have read it's advised for use with grout sealer. Is this true?

Whats standard?

The grout isnt drying atm, add a dehumidifier and fan?
Deal Addict
Sep 22, 2009
2840 posts
1501 upvotes
Markham
I used epoxy grout for my bathroom floor.
Make sure you ask your contractor to leave some grout behind for you. 5 years down the road, if there is a crack or if you have to do some minor repair, you have the exact same grout.
Sr. Member
Dec 9, 2013
649 posts
559 upvotes
Toronto
Tile and grout are not waterproof, and aren't meant to be.

There should be a waterproof membrane behind the tile, whether it's redguard or kerdi etc...
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
There should be a waterproof membrane but will have to confirm.

Sounds like no epoxy grout was used and it'd it's either sanded or unsanded grout and it's already cracking across one of the tiles horizontally.

I read it could be the tile setting and the grout wasn't mixed correctly with too much water or the wrong grout was used or the tile set mortar wasn't properly applied.

I also see that the tiles have shifted a bit, the surface isn't even in some places causing water to land on the top of the tile.

This is an old home so I think the house is settled... There are no cracks in other parts of the walls. And the bathroom walls had the frame redone and backed boarded and I think vapor barrier.


Is it recommended to seal the grout if it's just regular sand / unsanded grout?

The grout wet look is taking a while to dry up... And it's definitely porous and water is soaking in.

The contractor who did this job is coming in to take a look...

What would be advised? To get someone else to come take a look?
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
2021 posts
343 upvotes
East York, ON
Sedul wrote: There should be a waterproof membrane but will have to confirm.

Sounds like no epoxy grout was used and it'd it's either sanded or unsanded grout and it's already cracking across one of the tiles horizontally.

I read it could be the tile setting and the grout wasn't mixed correctly with too much water or the wrong grout was used or the tile set mortar wasn't properly applied.

I also see that the tiles have shifted a bit, the surface isn't even in some places causing water to land on the top of the tile.

This is an old home so I think the house is settled... There are no cracks in other parts of the walls. And the bathroom walls had the frame redone and backed boarded and I think vapor barrier.


Is it recommended to seal the grout if it's just regular sand / unsanded grout?

The grout wet look is taking a while to dry up... And it's definitely porous and water is soaking in.

The contractor who did this job is coming in to take a look...

What would be advised? To get someone else to come take a look?
the guy who did that should fix it for free
If you have someone else to fix it, it will cost you an arm and a leg

What size are your tiles and how long did he leave them to cure?
Did he use mortar or mastic
Lots of crazy 💡
Sr. Member
Jan 7, 2013
776 posts
434 upvotes
Oshawa, Ontario
Epoxy modified grout is the way to go today.

Sealing grout helps keep it clean, and maybe keep some water out, but lack of sealing should not cause grout to fail. Grout is not meant to be water proof, that function provided by the membrane
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
CuriousC wrote: the guy who did that should fix it for free
If you have someone else to fix it, it will cost you an arm and a leg

What size are your tiles and how long did he leave them to cure?
Did he use mortar or mastic
1. Yeah he should fix it considering 2 weeks in and it got wet and broke. My concern is that the whole thing was done improperly and there could be more problems down the road. Patch job
2. If someone else is needed, I would want him to reimburse but unlikely that would happen. I already paid for the job before and after.
3. Tiles are 12x24 porcelain tiles. Just regular from homedepot. and it should have been left to cure for like a few days .
4. Mortar / Mastic not sure. have to ask. what's the difference?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
Shaidin wrote: Epoxy modified grout is the way to go today.

Sealing grout helps keep it clean, and maybe keep some water out, but lack of sealing should not cause grout to fail. Grout is not meant to be water proof, that function provided by the membrane
Thanks. and if the grout to fail and fall out and crack / crumble. that could be a combination of the poor grout water mixture as well as potentially tile mortar issues (tile shifting stressing the grout?)

Epoxy modified grout - would the water bead on it? Is there a way to ungrout and regrout or at this point would it be asking the guy to fix the cracked tile, check underneath the tile for damage and regrout as well as either myself or the contractor to seal the grout?
Sr. Member
Dec 9, 2013
649 posts
559 upvotes
Toronto
Whether it's sanded, unsanded or epoxy grout, it won't make the tiles crack or shift. You are focusing on the wrong issue.

My guess is that they didn't use a waterproof membrane behind the tile/grout and it got wet and is bulging out the tiles and grout.

Posting pictures of the problem would help.
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
2021 posts
343 upvotes
East York, ON
Sedul wrote:
3. Tiles are 12x24 porcelain tiles. Just regular from homedepot. and it should have been left to cure for like a few days .
Are you saying that he tiled shortly after he put the tiles on?
The recommendations (I am reading about this topics everywhere I can) are that if you have a waterproof membrane like Redguard you should let the tiles ungrouted for a while to allow the thinset cement to cure properly
You are not clear if the grout is cracking or the tiles are cracking. My understanding is that the grout is but someone else in this thread understood that the tiles are so you might want to be more clear about that
Lots of crazy 💡
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
CuriousC wrote: Are you saying that he tiled shortly after he put the tiles on?
The recommendations (I am reading about this topics everywhere I can) are that if you have a waterproof membrane like Redguard you should let the tiles ungrouted for a while to allow the thinset cement to cure properly
You are not clear if the grout is cracking or the tiles are cracking. My understanding is that the grout is but someone else in this thread understood that the tiles are so you might want to be more clear about that
I will find out more but I believe that the tiles were left on without grout for a few days to ensure the thinset cement to cure . Not sure if it was enough time or if it was cured properly.

The grout line is cracking and the tile cracked. Both.

Attached are photos.

Thanks in advance.

The contractor is going to take a look and should make right but my concern is that at most he'll replace the tile or something and that's going to take time and he's already off on some other job - and I pretty much paid him for this. Not sure if the whole thing needs to be redone if the grout isn't right, especially in the shower area.
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Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
2021 posts
343 upvotes
East York, ON
It seems that there is some backside contraction tension at the back of the tiles, it could be caused by the cement drying up but if you do not have other tiles showing the same then it should be OK although the logic tells me that that tile should have not cracked. I am not a pro so take what I am saying with a grain of salt

That crack in the first picture could be because of that and because the tile is more fragile in that section
what should we look for in the third picture, that seems to show the tiles just above the bath tub
Lots of crazy 💡
Jr. Member
Dec 21, 2020
111 posts
73 upvotes
Is the cracked tile on the wall or floor? If floor then most likely the subfloor was not prepared correctly (either not enough thickness or no membrane like Ditra). If wall it could be related to sudden temp change from taking a shower. It's looks like a pretty small sliver of tile so hard to say there.

For the grout, with a 1/16 gap you can only use unsanded grout on walls and epoxy on walls and floor. Sanded ground can only be used on 1/8 or larger spaces and is normally used on floors (as it's stronger in the bigger gaps than unsanded). You can't use sanded in 1/16 gaps as the aggregate (sand) in the grout will not let it fill the void properly.

Also keep in mind that different brands and types of grouts are better than others. The video below shows a tile pro (and team) doing tests on some common grouts. Some do much better than others.

Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
2021 posts
343 upvotes
East York, ON
well he paid someone not to have to deal with these "keep in mind" and this vs that -did it work for him? We will see
Of course some will say "you have hire the right guy" and as a job fails not matter who you picked -there is always a better guy you could have picked
Lots of crazy 💡
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
How much does it cost to rip the wall tiles and redo part or all of the wall of a small bathroom like <50 square feet?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
CuriousC wrote: well he paid someone not to have to deal with these "keep in mind" and this vs that -did it work for him? We will see
Of course some will say "you have hire the right guy" and as a job fails not matter who you picked -there is always a better guy you could have picked
yeah, after consulting multiple sources. it just turned out to be a bad job and bad advice. Another pro took a look at pictures and is saying
1. Mortar tileset not enough and uneven
2. Cracked Grout Rushed Job as it takes a lot of time to fill.
3. It's not standard to seal grout but the grout is falling apart and I see bubbling in more places and tile is cracked in 2 weeks so this is definitely poor job. The tiles are protruding too.

I found more defects in the job. I was advised that he would need to rip it out and redo. but at this point i'm not sure about the worksmanship and also if its' worth redoing given his lack of accountability and amount of time he has to make this done as a priority.

For a job that isn't done right with defects, what kind of recourse do I have if we don't really have anything other than e-mail (no official contract with terms and scope). Would it be proper to ask for some portion of funds back if i decide to go with someone else or not have him redo due to the time constraints, worksmanship, loss of trust and confidence.

How much would you say it would take to rip out all the tiles and reset as a high level ball park?
[OP]
Sr. Member
Aug 31, 2001
553 posts
57 upvotes
RCLapCar wrote: Is the cracked tile on the wall or floor? If floor then most likely the subfloor was not prepared correctly (either not enough thickness or no membrane like Ditra). If wall it could be related to sudden temp change from taking a shower. It's looks like a pretty small sliver of tile so hard to say there.

For the grout, with a 1/16 gap you can only use unsanded grout on walls and epoxy on walls and floor. Sanded ground can only be used on 1/8 or larger spaces and is normally used on floors (as it's stronger in the bigger gaps than unsanded). You can't use sanded in 1/16 gaps as the aggregate (sand) in the grout will not let it fill the void properly.

Also keep in mind that different brands and types of grouts are better than others. The video below shows a tile pro (and team) doing tests on some common grouts. Some do much better than others.

Bathroom Wall Tile. 1/16 grout. Why only unsanded grout? if it's sanded grout what would happen? is this likely what happened if sanded grout?

Is there a way to tell if it's sanded vs unsanded grout by looking at it?

I do have one picture where the grout dripped into the tub and dried and it's a bit sandy.

If this is a redo (take down all or most tiles close to shower wet area, and then redo), what would be a recommended grout type? epoxy grout as per CuriousC

Attached are more pictures.

THanks in advance
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