glass tile on new shower floor looks dark/blotchy when wet

rockybirdJanuary 31, 2012

I just had a new shower put in the guest bath. The shower floor is glass tiles. The tile was very expensive. I ran the shower for the first time on Sat. The tile in areas turned dark. It is still dark 3 days later! The shower floor looks blotchy. What is wrong? The installer is going by to put sealer down tomorrow. Is this supposed to happen with glass tiles? Is this a mold risk? I am hoping that he did nothing wrong with the installation.

I also had a tile crack on the wall a couple weeks after installation. He said it needed a membrane behind it. I had to order new tile and he re-installed the piece. I dont understand any of this. Should there not already be a membrane?

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GreenDesigns

Did he install it with mastic straight out of a bucket, or did he mix up thinset with a paddle and use that? Yes, there should be a waterproof membrane under the cement board, or painted on top of it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 12:22AM
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terriks

There should not be cement board under your shower floor tile. What should be there is a sloped mortar bed and thinset, both of which will hold water until it drains out and evaporates, which will cause your tile to appear darker, just as a wet sidewalk is darker than a dry one. Sealing will not help. You don't want a sealer on your grout that will not allow water to evaporate back out of your floor.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 1:00PM
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rockybird

Thank you. He used deck mud, a pan, more deck mud and a latex modified thin set. He used red guard on the walls. Only the floor has glass tile. It sound like he knows what he is doing. I guess this is just the reality with glass tile? I wish I had known. :(

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:03PM
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weedyacres

Can you post photos?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:53AM
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palimpsest

I don't want to hijack, but after being involved in some of the kitchen and concrete floor discussions I would love to see some pictures of those spaces :)

Sorry about the floor in the shower, I don't know anything about glass tiles in that application.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 2:03PM
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bill_vincent

I'm with the pictures crowd. It'd make it easier to include or exclude possible problems.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 5:04PM
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rockybird

Thank you. I will post a pic tonight. I cant download anything from the computer at work as the firewall blocks it. :(

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:12PM
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enduring

If you need help on posting pictures go to the kitchen forum and read the post that says"New to kitchens...keep on page 1" or something like that. There are helpful instructions on posting pictures.

I am curious why you chose glass for a floor. It seems like it would be slippery.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 12:23AM
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rockybird

Thanks enduring. I work at a hospital and you cannot download anything from a hosp. computer to protect patient info. I couldnt download the pics I sent from my iphone to my email.

I dont think it will be any more slippery than any other tiled shower.

Here is a pic of the shower.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:04AM
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mongoct

Is the pitch on that floor as uneven as it looks? It might just be the grout lines that are throwing me off.

If you take a long straight edge; a 4' or 6' level, a fairly straight piece of wood, and place it on the floor, is the gap between the tile and the straight edge steady or all over the place? dos it show a steady pitch across the floor from the wall to the drain?

Looks like birdbathing, with a slight ridge at the start of a secondary slope. But my eyes could be dizzy.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 10:45AM
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rockybird

When he first finished the floor, the drain was not in the middle. I had him move it, and he pulled up some of the tile to redo it. Still, it does look even visually so I think it looks off from the way the pic is taken. I will doublecheck this weekend.

The floor still looks wet from Tues. It doesnt look like anything has dried!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:04AM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

That looks like a redo to me. The uneven slope may be the least of your problems. I also suspect the pan was done incorrectly if he can't get a drain centered with proper slope. The slope on top of the pan where the pretty stuff is is only as good as what's underneath. Did you take any pictures while it was under construction? Do you know what waterproofing method he used? What material he used to set the tile with?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:33AM
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terriks

Here's the picture rotated so that you don't have to tile you head ;)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 12:04PM
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bill_vincent

That shower pan needs to be redone. Not only does it appear that the pan is holding water, but it looks like the only place that was pitched is about 10" from the drain.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 7:31PM
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rockybird

Really??? How would I know that it is pitched too little? He insists that it is pitched right and that it is the tile. Do you know how I can prove that it is pitched too little? There is no water accumulating on the floor surface. Thank you for your help. Now I am really concerned.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 2:31PM
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mongoct

How would I know that it is pitched too little?

See the following photo for the basic setup. Make the level "level". Measure the distance between the surface of the tile and the bottom of the level.

The floor should slope a minimum of 1/4" per foot, a maximum of 1/2" per foot. Assuming 1/4" per foot...obviously the end of the level is touching the tile. Measuring one foot from the end of the level, there should be a 1/4" gap between the tile and the level. 2' away there should be a 1/2" gap between the tile and the bottom of the level. And so on.

No where should the slope be less than 1/4" per foot. No where should it be over 1/2" per foot.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:12PM
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rockybird

Thank you very much mongoct. This is very helpful. I took these pictures before you post, borrowing the glass guy's leveler. We didnt know what to look for as far as depth is concerned. It does not look like enough, does it? I believe the shower is 5 ft. long. When he comes back with his leveler, we'll measure the drop.

On a side note, the installer had set the valves too low for hot water. He came over to adjust them. In another shower (he did two), the water was pooling at one end. The installer said that wasnt right and that he would fix it. On the above shower, I pointed the sh. head towards the wall, and the water drained some, but not all of it...maybe an 1/8" sat there. I had to push it into the drain. Now I am worried this guy is incompetent. How hard are these things to fix? He was recommended by the architect and does multimillion dollar homes!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 11:17AM
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bill_vincent

Rockybird-- it looks to me like it's only "scooped out" around the drain, instead of pitching all the way from the walls. That may or may not have anything to do with the discoloration. If the surface is holding water because of lack of pitch (and from the picture that could be possible) this could happen, although I would think it would dry out much quicker. I still think something's going on underneath, and that pan needs to be redone, regardless of the surface pitch.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 8:54AM
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