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Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Posted by tartanhabit (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 23:54

Ok, is this the cardinal sin? I'm sure I've read on this forum that this is a no-no. And guess what, the project's not even complete yet and I see some cracks on the vertical plane where tile meets front of tub apron. Should I have him remove it and redo with caulk? Sanded or unsanded?

Gah, I hate having to stress over these details but I do want this done right!

Also I noticed that the grout seems to suck up water and stay wet looking for a while, when it gets wet (they've been installing faucets so some dribbles of water are around). My contractor said that's because they haven't sealed the grout yet. Is this true?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

No, this is not true. Grout is not waterproof and sealing doesn't make it so. Sealing only helps to repel dirt a bit better.

Having said that, areas such as this and, generally, ANY "Change of Plane" should be filled with caulk. Color-matching, sanded silicone caulk is King. A little tougher to find, but it's out there.

Needless to say, caulking should be done around any areas where the tub lip or edges meet the wall or wall tile, as well.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

From what I've learned from a variety of sources is that it should have been caulked. This will allow for slight movement without fracturing. It will be water proof, grout is not water proof and regularly allows water in and out. Another thing about caulk, it should be used where ever there is a change of plane or a change in materials; don't use grout in these situations. Several tile people here have stated that.

Last, I remember someone stating that when you caulk your tub have it filled with H2O, (then I suppose to let it dry while tub is filled). I only guess that is so that it is applied when the tub is under the most stress.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

My question is kind of relevant to this discussion. We plan to use Laticrete Latasil silicone caulk around the tub and in change on planes. The caulk I received from online purchase has 9/22/2012 expiration date. i remember I've read somewhere that expiration date is very important in silicone caulks. We're not going to use it for another 2 weeks at least. Should I be concerned? Should I ask retailer to exchange it with the one with later exp date?


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

My brother in law (a contractor by trade) tried to inform my husband and I that we did our DIY project incorrectly when we caulked our own bathroom tub line after installing our new tile. So I did a little research on this, mostly because I think my BIL is full of ... we'll say hot air... Turns out The Tile Council of North America does say there are plenty of places where if applied PROPERLY a grout will look better than caulk and therefor the CUSTOMER may prefer it. My husband and I knew that there would most likely be some sort of shift and the grout would crack, the TCNA even points out that it is often it is NOT done properly and cracking does happen. I can't seem to find exactly where I read this or I would point you to the link, sorry.

Regardless, it boils down to, your contractor works for you. It is your bathroom and whatever his opinion, he should have understood the risk of what he was doing and left the final decision in your hands. I personally would make him grind out the grout and apply caulk so you don't have to deal with it later on.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

I'm sorry, but TCNA handbook very succinctly states that ALL chanes in plane will be caulked. Not only where it "looks" better. This is wrong wrong wrong.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Ugh, he should know better! Thanks for the gospel. Can he get grout out without risking scratching my tub?


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

So long as he's careful, yes.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

From TCNA FQA:

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When do you use caulk instead of grout?

Technically, anywhere there is a change in substrate or backing surface such as the joint between walks and floor and wall joint, caulk should be used in place of grout since these surfaces move independently of each other. However, it is important to recognize and make the end user aware of some important points.

Often, installers use grout in place of caulk for these reasons:

The caulk may not exactly match the grout color.
Even when the caulk exactly matches the grout color when installed, it may not match six months later (caulk will "age" differently from the grout).
Caulk will need to be maintained more often than grout.
Mold may grow more easily on caulk (except caulk treated with mildewcide) than on grout.
Acrylic caulks break down in horizontal wet applications. Silicone, urethane, or multi-polymer caulks are better choices but can be harder to apply.
However, when grout is used in place of caulk, the grout can cause structural and aesthetic problems.

The grout will crack allowing moisture to penetrate.
Where the grout is sufficiently strong, movement in the walls, floor, or countertop can damage the tile.
Grout cannot hide corner cuts as well as caulk.
In summary, caulk is the better choice, but the customer needs to understand its limitations.

******

Basically, the CUSTOMER should be informed and make the decision themselves. It was not the contractors decision to make, there are drawback to each method and as with any and ALL methods everyone has an opinion (I am a caulk fan all the way so no really arguing with you there), but it is never the contractors final decision to make as it is not their house and they are not paying for the job, they are being paid to do a job.

Here is a link that might be useful: FAQ


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

A tub of water with a person is going to move.

The joists do not have zero deflection at these size of loads.

That means the tub moves down ever so slightly.

It WILL crack a grout joint.

Use caulk.

I do not use silicon caulk since it is all but mposaable to get your fingers clean enough to not ruin contact lenses.

The 'siliconized' caulks are much better.

I have had bad luck with GE silicone white not staying white for long.
My wife than demands it be replaced since she cannot get it clean.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Kali615-- Obviously you're familiar with the TCNA handbook. Look on page 271 of the 2011 handbook, specifically, EJ171-- Movement joint guidelines for ceramic, glass, and stone.

Perimeter and field movement joints are essential and REQUIRED.

Snip

PERIMETER JOINTS: Movement joints are REQUIRED Where tilework abutts restraining surfaces such as perimeter walls, dissimilar floors, curbs, columns, pipes, ceilings, and where changes occur in backing materials, but not at drain strainers.

You can bet if there's ever any question about any given project, THIS is where they'll go for reference-- not to the FAQ's.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Kali, I can't believe you did that. Why not post the REST of the answer to that FAQ?????

However, when grout is used in place of caulk, the grout can cause structural and aesthetic problems.

The grout will crack allowing moisture to penetrate.
Where the grout is sufficiently strong, movement in the walls, floor, or countertop can damage the tile.
Grout cannot hide corner cuts as well as caulk.
In summary, caulk is the better choice, but the customer needs to understand its limitations

You were wrong even by your own link!! I KNEW I should've checked before I posted from my own reference. I couldn't believe that the TCNA would contradict itself like that!


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Your contractor is an idiot. You probably suspect that already.

It might look 'better' long enough for you to sign the final cheque, then it will crack and be gappy.

Hopefully, the bath won't be damaged when they scrape the grout out.

That being said, especially if you use silicone caulk, you could probably do a thin skin over the grout, but it'd be better if it was scraped out.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Biil_Vincent---- I DID POST THE WHOLE ANSWER -- Please read before accusing!!!

I have clearly stated several times that I am on the side of caulk. I have also stated that the contractor is WRONG and she should have them come back and take the grout our and replace with caulk.

HOWEVER---- I believe the point of my argument is that the topic is obviously decisive. This was HER decision to make, NOT her contractors, however, there is OBVIOUSLY room for debate or there wouldn't be so many threads on this forum about it NOR would the TCNA even suggest it is an option.

She should at least be given the information that it is an option and is not as outright wrong as everyone keeps telling her it is.

My brother in law was trying to convince us to use grout instead of caulk because he built our structure and insisted it wasn't moving. I for one didn't believe anyone could build anything to guarantee it wouldn't move or shift even so slightly to assure that the tiniest bit of grout wouldn't crack, but he being a contractor (and I will admit although he is full of it most of the the time he does do very, very good work) for 40 years, kept insisting.. hence the argument. When you do a search of the internet there are many touting the benefits of grout over caulk with the same veracity you are fighting it.

I am honestly trying to give her information. I fear that like my brother in law, who remained very angry about us not listening about the grout vs caulk (and the glue for drywall but that is another story) some contractors who have been doing this a long time one way have a very hard time believing there could possibly be another "right" way to do things. I am not a contractor, I am simply an avid DIYer who does a LOT of research before undertaking a project.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

About the only time I'll grout corners is if it's floated mud walls with diamond lathe wrapped through the corners.

For lightweight tile backer board over wood frame construction, especially in new construction where the wood might still be acclimating, caulk will handle any movement much better than grout.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

Ok, the caulk is now in. I was told that he scraped some of the grout out so I hope to goodness this holds up and doesn't fail. I honestly don't believe every single last bit of grout was taken out. At least I know the waterproofing construction of the surrounding is sound - we watched that like a hawk and had a city building inspector come and sign off on it.

Yes, I'm upset that it wasn't my choice, however there are certain conversations I took for granted that I wouldn't have to have, this being one of them. Kali, you've mentioned that it was my decision to make but really, how much do you have to anticipate that you will need to micromanage the job? I've had tons of detailed conversations about the positioning of this that and the other, more aesthetic kinds of decisions. I've micromanaged a lot of this project and there are just certain things your tradespeople should know without the necessity of having a conversation - lesson learned on grout v caulk!

I think this is the way he's done things and he remodels bathrooms constantly and of course I wish it was a conversation we would have had before the grout went in and I had the benefit of this thread.

Thanks for all the time and input. I would probably not hire this guy again. I think overall, we've got a great looking bathroom, but I just need to have more confidence that I can leave the details to the pros.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

I don't care HOW strong the structure. ALL buildings move. They ALL expand and contract with the changing of the seasons. This is ongoing and unending, and MUST be taken into account, because it can't be stopped.

Kali-- My apologies. I read thru it too quick. It still should not be done, and TCNA is NOT advocating the use of grout under ANY circumstance at changes of plane, What they're saying is that there are installers who will do this, and it's wrong, and this is why.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

I don't care HOW strong the structure. ALL buildings move. They ALL expand and contract with the changing of the seasons. This is ongoing and unending, and MUST be taken into account, because it can't be stopped.

Kali-- My apologies. I read thru it too quick. It still should not be done, and TCNA is NOT advocating the use of grout under ANY circumstance at changes of plane, What they're saying is that there are installers who will do this, and it's wrong, and this is why.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

I am reviving this because I am about to engage my installer on why there is a hole where my shower floor meets the curb wall & I am afraid 4.5 months in, this will only get worse.

Can some1 help me locate an online link to the TCNA reference that points to using silicone caulk vs grout to join between a change in planes please?


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

My contractor too used grout, only many years ago, and I am starting to see cracks. The grout is a taupe color but I have never seen caulk in more than white or ivory. White is fine where the tub meets tile, but what should I use in the vertical corners? Thanks for helping.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

There are caulks to match Laticrete and Mapei grouts. Look at their samples of grout and see what matches yours and get that caulk. Lowes sells Mapei grout and caulk, but only the epoxy grout in the Laticrete line. I have used Laticrete caulk to go with my grout and have been very happy. I ordered my stuff online at a tile shop that the Laticrete site linked to.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

You can get any colour caulk you need to match any grout out there from color rite dot com. They have siliconized acrylic, silicone, sanded, unsanded, matt or gloss.

Just give them the grout mfg name and colour or number. I always get silicone for showers.

Use painters tape to mask the areas to caulk, run the bead and dress it by dipping your finger in a dish of water that you have added a good squirt of dishwashing liquid to. This reduces the surface tension and makes it a breeze. Keep an old rag to wipe your finger with.

The Company will Fed Ex it to you in about 2 days. Silicone runs about $14 plus shipping.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

StoneTech, I tried the site "color rite" and I got to a site that sells paints and stuff for what looks like motor cycles. I typed "caulk" into their search box and nothing came up.


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found it :)

Duh, I looked further down the google list and saw "colorriteinc" and with that link, there are sealants, etc. Thanks.


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

My tile setter used grout at the change in plane where the tub meets the floor in my kids' bathroom. It's cracked all the way across. I'm sure he'll damage the tub scraping the grout away. How can I try to minimize damage when he does this?


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

My tile setter used grout at the change in plane where the tub meets the floor in my kids' bathroom. It's cracked all the way across. I'm sure he'll damage the tub scraping the grout away. How can I try to minimize damage when he does this?


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

There are tools for removing it...going from a plain old utility knife to vibrating tools. If he's worth his salt, he should have no problem getting it out....


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RE: Contractor used grout not caulk around the tub

There are tools for removing it...going from a plain old utility knife to vibrating tools. If he's worth his salt, he should have no problem getting it out....


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