The tile on the floor was perfect after it was grouted and then we had it sealed on Friday and now the area near the drain looks much darker. What on earth happened and how do we fix it?
the sealer guy said an impregnating sealer was put on (3 coats) friday morning and it should be dry by now. my tile guy wiped the floor with a damp cloth yesterday because he said it was very dusty. i have no idea what to do. sealant guy suggested we put a space heater in the shower and evaluate it on thursday. any thoughts or experience with this that any of you can speak of? thanks!
Do you know how the shower pan was constructed? Is there enough slope?
I'm not a tile expert but we had a similar situation occurred with our marble shower. Apparently darkened tile can happen when moisture is trapped around the drain or there is an issue with clogged weep holes. Ours (mostly) dried out within a few weeks. We waited to seal the shower or use the shower until the issue resolved. There is still some slight discoloration and the grout color around the drain is different than the rest of the shower floor, but it's not that noticeable unless you really look. Hopefully yours will dry out in a few days. Best of luck.
I know nothing of shower pans or how they should be constructed. What kinds of questions should I ask the installer? It looked perfect after he grouted and only became discolored after it was sealed. There is a slope toward the drain. What can I do?
The weep holes are clogged, or there isn't a pre-slope under the tile. Neither of those things is very good and will mean a redo.
Oh good grief :(
How can we be sure of either of these things? Who should pay to replace it, tile guy who did the shower pan?
Will removing the tile on the floor ruin the wall tile?
This brings back memories of staceyneil's marble shower. All was well until she sealed it. Then it showed damp around the drain.
Doesn't necessarily mean there's a flaw with the construction of the shower. It could just mean that with the marble being sealed, moisture vapor transmission through the marble has slowed down. And where do you have the most moisture in a shower?
At the drain.
Regardless, all bets are off in cases like this.
There is a slope to the floor. I have no idea if it should be more dramatic of a slope.
If the tile dries out in a few days how will we know whether there is still a need to replace the floor?
Mongoct, the tile guy just said he had the drain covered when he grouted.
There is darkness in the corners, too, but its worst at the drain.
How do I know what to do?
How did the other gw'er resolve the situation?
Google "staceyneil" and "marble", and there is a long thread devoted to how the situation was resolved. If you poke around on that forum you'll see other instances where this has happened. In some cases (like mine), the discoloration can resolve on it's own, so don't despair.
I wonder if the sealer was put on generously and just seeped/weeped toward the drain and pooled there because of the slope. It may just take a longer time for it to dry there, if that's what happened.
it's not just the area near the drain, the bottom left corner of the photo and other areas show the same thing. it's more pronounced toward the drain, however.
Good grief, I just read Staceyneil's 25 page long post on Johnbridgedotcom. I can't imagine anyone on my team going through those efforts to determine what's going on here. My builder said he'd take a look at it tomorrow and my tile sealant guy will come out on Thursday, but I fear about my other mosaic tile shower floor going in soon. What kinds of precautions should we follow before the tile goes in to prevent this? thanks.
"Mongoct, the tile guy just said he had the drain covered when he grouted. "
A misunderstanding. I wasn't trying to infer that sealer got down your drain.
You have porous grout. And porous stone. So moisture will get beneath the tile and into the mud bed beneath. The mud bed should be on a sloped membrane, the slope going towards the drain.
Moisture that gets into the mud bed will percolate down to the membrane, then follow the sloped membrane to the drain. It will exit the drain via the secondary weep holes in the drain.
What does all that mean? That moisture that gets below the tile eventually congregates around the drain.
Sealing the tile slows not just the wetting process of water penetrating into the tile, but it slows the drying process of moisture exiting the tile via evaporation too.
So with moisture around your drain, and the drying process being slowed, it's not uncommon for it to indicate as damp tile around the drain.
The problem? Part of it could be the materials used, choosing to use marble in the shower.
On top of that, it could be the type of marble. Not all marble is "marble" as we used to know it. A lot of marble is resinated these days, that process allows what would have been inferior stone to make it to today's market. Who knows about that.
Could be the sealer.
Could be the construction of the shower.
The location of the membrane. Topical or buried?
If buried, is the membrane sloped? Or was it set flat on the subfloor.
Birdbaths in the mud bed.
A wrong mix used for the deck mud that contains lime or fine sand.
Onward and upward. If you read the thread at JB, I'm sure the guys over there threw out every potential cause for the problem.
I remember talking to Bill about Stacey's shower way back when, and I don't know if he ever figured out what the problem was. But it did get fixed.
Your shower is showing damp at the drain and at the corners of the floor. Clamping drains (assuming that is the type that was used) can retain a little water in the mud bed due to the ridge at the clamp. If the membrane was not sloped, that can exacerbate the problem. The corners? Sometimes the floor slope can flatten out in the corners. I'm not throwing stones at your workers. I'm just stating some of the more obvious pitfalls. Even the most meticulously built showers can go awry, sometimes it's the materials, sometimes it's the method.
Re: your other shower about to go in--you'll want to observe how it is done, step by step, so you can maybe figure out what happened with this one.
I'm not a professional, so I'll describe using my layman's terms (and maybe that will help you understand when you go have a look at your next installation)--
1. Do they do a preslope? (ie, is the "base mudpan" (under the liner) sloped toward the drain?) or, is it flat?
2. Is the liner therefore sloped, or flat? How about near the drain?
3. Is the finished mud layer (over the liner) also/still sloped toward the drain?
It is possible, they have their liner flat or with insufficient slope, but have a proper finished floor slope after tile installation because of the finished mud layer. But, that isn't how it is supposed to be done. The sloping should be from the first layer (before they liner goes on) onwards.
My builder just did a moisture test in the shower. The dry looking floor tiles have a 5% reading, the ones near the drain are almost 20% (I think that's what he said), and the wet-looking ones in the corner are 11%. He said the tile guy put a layer down (sounded like mud or something) and then a rubber membrane that ties into the drain somehow so that if it catches water beneath the tile it feeds into the sides of the drain. He tested the space between the drain and the tiles surrounding it (that hasn't been caulked yet) and it was very wet there, though I don't remember the figure he quoted.
He thinks we should put a dehumidifier in the bathroom to see if that helps. We are all at a loss for what to do. The tile guy has nothing to say, but to ask the plumber. The sealant guy said the sealant should have been dry the day they did it and has no suggestions, but will come take a look tomorrow.
Any other ideas?
Yup. Back up to my earlier post.
The preslope of the first mudpan is essential. Has your tile guy said if it was sloped?
If the tile guy said to ask the plumber, then the plumber put the pan in. All the plumbers I know put the pan in flat, without a preslope. Maybe your plumber was different, and let's hope so. But you absolutely need a preslope, notwithstanding what the plumber might tell you.
The plumber did not do the preslope, the tile guy did. There is an obvious slope to the floor, but I don't know what the measurements of the slope are.
Again, the floor could be sloped even if the mud (under the liner) is flat.
You could observe the first steps of the installation of your next shower. If the mud (before liner) is flat, stop all work and report back.
yikes, ok. i'll ask about the mud and floor being sloped tomorrow and post back the tile installer's answers. in the meantime, we are perplexed as to how to fix this.
In your next shower I'd recommend you look into using a topical membrane with a flanged drain.
I've used Kerdi with the Kerdi drain, and Hydroban with the laticrete drain. For a Steam shower I'll force you towards Kerdi. For a non-steam shower, Hydroban.
With these showers, your installer will put down a sloped layer of deck mud, and the flanged drain will be set in that mud. On that sloped mud bed goes your topical membrane; Kerdi or Hydroban. The same membrane goes on the walls. You then tile right on the membrane.
The advantage? With a topical membrane, all that can get wet is the tile, the grout, and the thinset used to set the tile. There is no deep wetting under the tile.
With your problem shower, you have tile, then an inch or two of deck mud under the tile, then your membrane. So your tile, grout, thinset, and the one or two inch thickness of deck mud can get wet.
Here's a little primer on a Kerdi Shower. To do a Hydroban shower, all the prep work is pretty much the same. But instead of thinsetting sheets of Kerdi to the walls and floor, you apply Hydroban to the floor and walls with a roller, brush, or trowel.
unfortunately we had the same issue with our marble shower floor. Yes, the top of the floor that you could see had a distinctive slope to it, but it was the under layer that apparently had NOT been sloped (this was the opinion of the tile guy we had to hire to fix the problem after the original tiler blew us off. ) This could not be figured out, however, until the whole shower floor (and the first few rows of the shower walll tile) were ripped out. After we replaced the floor we chose NOT to seal it, based mainly on reading stacyneil's saga, and all is well so far. The tile guy also used a different kind of grout the second time around, epoxy I believe?
Sealers are great.
Until they cause problems. It's not that the products are bad. The products are quite phenomenal nowadays. It's not that they are improperly applied. But it's how everything relates in a system. Sure, you're trying to seal something out. But at the same time, you could be sealing something in.
It's The Law of Unintended Consequence.
You'll notice a common theme in the GardenWeb threads. Now while I don't want to write on his behalf, for the most part, neither Bill nor I ever seal any tile or grout in a shower. Or in a bathroom. Or in a house for that matter.
It's not that I'm anti-sealer. It's just that there are ways to build that make sealers necessary.
My two cents.
Mongoct-- (3apples, I'm going a little off topic)
If I have a great tiler, who knows how to do a pan properly (and I am not using natural stone), but he has never done hydroban and it will be going in a second floor shower...
Though hydroban is preferred by you, is it okay to go with a mudpan? I am not sure I want my shower to be his first experience with hydroban... kwim?
Same with 3apples--if she observes the process and insists on a proper preslope with a tile guy otherwise competent (we think and the finishes suggest so), so long as she gets the presloped pan and liner, is she okay to stick with that system?
What do you think?
I checked the other untiled shower in the house and the floor is noticeably sloped toward the drain and has a painted red material on the walls and floor.
The builder us going to remove a few tiles around the drain to see what's going on there.
No sealant in tile anywhere in the house?
Paris Ceramics ( who supplied the black and white marble tile for our foyer) insists it be sealed. Why is this a bad idea if it isnt going to be getting wet often?
Tile guy did not use Kerdi or Hydroban. He said he used a rubber mbrane that was sloped on top of the sloped under layer.
"Mongoct-- If I have a great tiler, who knows how to do a pan properly (and I am not using natural stone), but he has never done hydroban and it will be going in a second floor shower...is it okay to go with a mudpan? I am not sure I want my shower to be his first experience with hydroban..."
Sure! Nothing wrong with it at all. The mud preslope/membrane/mud/tile sandwich has worked fine for years.
There's nothing really freaky about the topical membranes. I might have linked to a Kerdi Shower construction thread earlier in this thread. That was my first Kerdi Shower, from around 15 years ago or so. You have to start somewhere. And Hydroban is so much easier than Kerdi. So much easier.
"Paris Ceramics ( who supplied the black and white marble tile for our foyer) insists it be sealed. Why is this a bad idea if it isnt going to be getting wet often? "
Sealing a natural and porous material like marble in a public entry room like a foyer? It makes total sense. My previous post probably came off as a little militant and it was too all-encompassing.
this is how the other shower floor is prepped so far.
Tile guy said that the thimset around the drain is yellow and he blames the sealant guy. I have no idea what to do or who should pay for new tiles. Any advice? Thanks.
here are some photos the tile installer took this morning. you can see the drain has yellowed on its underside, the thinset is yellow, and it looks like something trickled down the drain. do any of these photos help us figure out what happened?
I would love for someone to weigh-in here. My builder removed one of the tiles near the drain and the thin set was yellow and smelled like sealant. The sealant guy was out to look at it today and said it was an installation problem, which he determined after talking to the best tile guy he knows who said that the method used to make the shower bed in our shower was out-of-date. I just don't know what to do or how to correct this and I certainly don't want it to happen in the next shower. Any advice?
It's up to your GC to provide remediation. Whatever, if anything, that may be. And it might be nothing.
The GC hired the plumber, the tiler, and the guy who applied the sealer. So it's all under his umbrella of authority and responsibility.
This is the problem with multi-worker installations. Everyone involved did their task perfectly. It was the other guy that screwed up.
What is your GC saying?
Actually, my husband and I hired the tile guy, who does not seal any tile, and the sealant guy on our own. Our first gc-hired tile guy was a mess and, thankfully, we learned this before he laid any tile. So, we found this other guy through our architect and he's been nothing but great so far. The sealant guy is a long-time friend of mine who runs a very lucrative and incredibly well-rated business in our area.
Our builder has no idea what the problem is, but said we should wait a few days to see if the tiles he pulled up from the thin set will dry out.
In that case, since you did the hiring, the responsibility falls upon your shoulders.
The tile guy did his work and you accepted it. And as you wrote earlier, the shower performed as expected prior to being sealed.
The sealer then came in and did his thing. And that created problems.
If the sealer guy wants to use "it's an installation error because the shower floor was built with old fashioned methods" defense, perhaps he should have asked what methods were used to construct the shower before he applied the sealer?
But he didn't ask. Out of ignorance? Or apathy?
In that case, the sealer's proper reply is "I'm so sorry I ruined your shower. I just found out from The Best Tile Guy I Know that the sealer I used is not compatible with how your shower was constructed. But since I didn't think to ask any questions beforehand, what can I do now to make things right?"
So yeah...acting as your own "GC", you're in a bit of a pickle in terms of getting someone else to accept responsibility.
we left our shower floor alone for weeks and today my builder blocked the drain and we poured buckets of water on it, enough to fully cover the entire shower floor. we left the drain plugged for about 5 minutes and after a minute or so several tiles in many different areas began to get darker around their edges. the darkness migrated from the edges of these tiles toward their centers a bit. finally he unplugged the drain and we are letting it dry out. i'm including some photos here of what it looked like while wet. neither he nor i had any idea if this darkening was good, bad, or what it meant. any ideas?
Water always gets into the grout and under the tiles, but the tiles themselves do not usually get soaked. If they let water in from their edges like that it strikes me that some of them must be very porous. I have porous stone tiles in my bathroom, and they are ruined and flake apart if they come into contact with much water, so I have to be very careful and avoid getting them wet. I don't think yours will flake apart, but if the appearance of them bothers you, you may want to re-tile. No amount of sealer will prevent this- water always gets under sealers in showers.
I'm so sorry you are having such troubles.
since even sealed grout is porous there is no way to prevent the tiles from getting wet underneath, is there? Is my issue indication of a problem with the sealant or with the manner/material of the tile bed's installation?
There is no way to prevent shower tiles from getting wet underneath. Water always gets through grout, which is why they have the weep holes in the drain.
It does not appear to be a problem with sealer or installation, but I don't think we can really give you an answer from here anyway. It could be substandard tiles. Ask your tile guy about the possibility.
Unfortunately cabinet installers accidentally drilled through a pipe in our shower and we had quite a leak. This water left even more of a mystery with our tile--an area even bigger than before is discolored and very wet, not drying at all after 24 hours already. Clearly we are going to rip out the whole floor and replace the tile, but I am looking for any other comments or advice that might help us figure out what on earth is going on. The tile installer said that he waterproofed the red painted on layer (not sure what that part is called). Might that have caused an issue with our tiles not drying from beneath? Here is a photo:
Here is a link that might be useful:
Did he use redgard as the only waterproofing in the pan of the shower?
I have no idea what he used. There is a layer of something red that he painted on and he said he waterproofed over that.
I think you should get exact answers from him- what products were used where.
He said he uses a liner from Dal tile under the mud bed and then Red guard on top. Is that the right process?
Have the weep holes around the drain been checked? This would require removing the tile immediately around the drain. If those holes are plugged, water that gets through the tile will run toward the drain and then have no path to drain.
The weep holes are clear.
Why do people insist on using marble, particularly carrera on a shower floor? There have been dozens of issues with this install both here and on John Bridge.com forums in recent years. Jesus, just put a GOOD porcelean tile there and have NO problems.......
StoneTech, that is beside the point. I know many people who have marble shower floors with no issues whatsoever. If the problem is the mud bed in my shower it will only be masked with a porcelain tile and take longer to show itself.
Do you have any advice other than to change the floor material?
You can hire someone else to demo the shower pan to find out if the contractor is to blame.
threeapples, your frustration may not be allowing you to see what others see. You've been given advice from several of the best here on GW and with the likely shower construction causes ruled out, it's quite apparent from your pictures this particular marble is too porous to be used in a wet install. See mongoct's early post re: not all marble is the same. Stonetech isn't "beside the point", he's giving very sound professional advice. I really feel for you in your quest to find out what's going on with your shower. Have a friend read this posting from the very beginning and carefully study the pictures... You may not like it, but your answer is here.
mmcf, thanks. i wonder, however, how others manage to successfully live with marble floors in their showers and not have problems. i'm currently looking for another stone for the shower floor since this clearly is not the right thing, though i'm sad about it because it was beautiful. Or, maybe this marble is faulty somehow. This came from the same company (stonetiledepotdotcom) who did the bait and switch on us with our master bathroom floor--we ordered statuario, they sent "Mexican White," which is not very white.
Threeapples, you could always do what I did and just get the el cheapo HD "grecian white" 2" x 2" mosaic. If you pick through the boxes, you'll be able to find colors to match. I used polished with sanded grout (because the spacing was a little wider) and it's been fine and actually matched my calacatta gold (which is honed) fine.
I know plenty of people with marble showers and none of us has any problem (not to mention the headaches you've had).
My floor after running the shower:
My local marble/granite yard uses various sealers depending on the type of stone. The owner told me that he only recommended SenGuard for white marbles used in bathrooms. It's expensive, and hard to find (only sold by one online outfit and rationed to dealers), but it's worked very well for me and is one of those "lifetime" sealers.
This post was edited by KevinMP on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 0:38
I'm still waiting for an expert to weigh in on the double membrane. I didn't think you are supposed to do a vinyl liner, AND Redgard...
I should've added, I don't have one of those HGTV shower membrane systems. I have what is up to code in the city of Philadelphia: a thick, pvc membrane.
We have a membrane from
Daltile, them the mud bed and Redguard.
Kevin, you're saying the cheap marble floor tile holds up well? Why would that be?
Have they done your other showers? I'd be curious to see if you used the same tile in another install if you'd see the same result. Although I know that's an expensive test! I would also be curious to see if you'd see the same issue if you switched to the HD marble Kevin mentions in the same shower.
No, the other showers are not done. One has a cast iron pan for the floor and the other one was supposed to have a carrera square mosaic, but I returned that after this fiasco and we are doing a black square mosaic there instead. I still fear for that shower though because if the method of installation is screwy we might have moisture issues even though the floor is a different material--we just might not learn about it right away.
I'm about to head to a tile place to look into black marble hex options and also see the HD marble Kevin has. Kevin, you are lucky to have a gorgeous shower that is functioning well!
Black marble and green marble have something unusual about them, I can't remember. I just looked on the JB forum and there was a comment about green tile being highly absorbent. So black may be as well, because I thought the issues with green were the same with black.
Why don't you use a black or dark porcelain? There are such beautiful tiles in porcelain or ceramic.
Did you ever find out what happened to your floor. We have a similar issue (but with glass tile) and I'd be interested to hear if you discovered what the problem is?
" i wonder, however, how others manage to successfully live with marble floors in their showers and not have problems."
Marble varies even from different spots in the same vein.
What they cut today is not exactly the same as what was cut yesterday, last week, last year, etc.
Add to that all the variances in instal methods and things are going to be different.
I still will not allow a field applied coating to serve as a water barrier.
There is no real QC, and it is all to easy to have skips and spots that are not uniform in thickness.
Yeah, I was wondering what happened with this, too given all of the other good things you've had going on over there.
As a point about the "Double Waterproofing" asked earlier.
WRONG! You do one or the other, but not both.
This problem MAY have been avoided by eliminating the Redguard. Without it, the water getting in between the tiles via grout lines (as it will) would have migrated thru the mud bed, to the liner and then out the weep holes, assuming they were left open.
Just my .02 worth.......
Nothing has happened yet. The floor need to be gutted and redone. My husband poured rubbing alcohol and acetone on it, but it made no difference. I'll update when we redo it.
I recommend porcelain. Especially after my tile guy told me about the book he maintains with all the "do-overs" of marble baths. Of course, if you are lucky, it can be magnificent - but if you don't want to roll the dice, I find the porcelain also magnificent but plus my tile guy uses kerdi and hydroban as well - not sure which product where but he swears by them. I just let him do his thing. We are getting ready to do a second bath.
Green marble requires an epoxy coating to be applied on back before going in a shower and using epoxy setting materials generally.
If not, the stuff will spall on you.
It's not for the neophyte, journeyman tilesetter or DIY.
Q1: Do I need to pull out my whole shower pan before replacing the tiling?
Q2: Is non beveled tile going to feel sharp on our feet? We had porcelain with rounded edges before. We've been without the master shower for over 6 weeks.
History: We regrouted our porcelain shower floor 6 weeks ago, as there have been some shrinkage over the years (shower built in 1996) It's the master shower, 4.5 ft by 5.25 ft. We left a fan on to dry it and after leaving it to dry 3 or 4 weeks there were still dark areas. I figured that perhaps some other caulk product has soaked in to cause a discoloring, so I scraped out the grout in just these areas and in fact the grout had been wicking up water that was pooled underneath the tile. The more I scraped, the wetter the material was. I had used a moisture meter and there was water everywhere. The areas were around the edges and 2 areas that led towards the drain. I ripped out the tile to see what was going on and in fact the thin set would chip off easily in those damp areas and the mud underneath was very dark with water. I think that the culprit was a cleaning/sealing that we did last Fall. I had had the tile pressure washed by a service that did my whole house and then we had sealed the cleaned areas. The whole downstairs is tile and we've had no problems whatsoever with that cleaning job. Ditto in the other bathrooms. I'm thinking that I trapped water underneath with the cleaning and then sealed too soon.
As soon as the tile came up, it has been drying rapidly. The mud turned from almost black to light gray.
I'm thinking that there is pooling around the circumference due to the fact that the tile walls come down meeting the floor at a 90 degree angle - meeting flush. (hope that's the right term) It seems to me that it would be better to have the floor extend a little behind the wall tile to keep water flowing towards the drain. I'm assuming that the pan was presloped since we've never really had mold problems or discoloration until I redid the grout.
I'm really at a loss. We're thinking of just retiling and then hoping for the best.
Any better ideas?
I bought this EXACT same tile for the Tile Shoppe and had the very same problem. The ring appeared around the drain, and many of the tiles looked gray all the time as if the were holding moisture in places. It is defective tile.
I had it removed and new tile installed. Nothing was done to the pan or liner or slope. The new tile is fine.
Diva - your tile wasn't defective, it just didn't perform to your liking. There IS a difference. Furthermore I don't know of any natural stone purveyors that warrant their stone for a particular purpose - that is up the designer, architect, or specifier.
No different than the concrete plant warranting their mix to be suitable for your project. If you need a blend that can be pumped as opposed to poured, then YOU have to tell them what to make and send out.
I would have gone with a pre-fab shower pan. NO CHANCE of leaking because it is designed as a floating unit with built in slope. No liner needed.
Here is a link that might be useful: You should consider this. . .
Here we go again with the spammers!!
It's lunchtime Millworkman! Lol
Must break time now, the asshat is on other posts spewing the same crap!
Just stating the facts! Concrete pans are susceptible to leak. Browse the boards - this isn't the first mudset pan to leak. Sorry if I hurt someones feelings.