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Thread: Shower Grout

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    37

    Default Shower Grout

    My shower has a tile surround. In the corners, the grout keeps cracking. I admit that the first time it cracked I took the lazy route and just grouted over the existing grout to fill the small crack. Now that the cracks have come back I'm wondering...should I use caulk in the corners? Does the shifting of the walls cause this cracking, so a flexible material like caulk would be better? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Montréal, Qc, Canada
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Shower Grout

    Your guess is good!
    Caulking is flexible so it will expand or contract with the movement of the tub, which expands or contracts ever so slightly
    due to the temperature of the water in the tub
    Grout is definitely a no-no in the corners

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Shower Grout

    I dont know what kind of grout that you used but most companies make a grout caulk the same color as the regular caulk. Your should be able to get some ordered and just chip out the old stuff and caulk it. The caulk comes in sanded and unsanded. If your needing unsanded and its a white or a beige, I would just buy some acrylic caulk or silicone if it comes in contact with water.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Shower Grout

    Absolutely remove all grout from the corners that you can and caulk with 100% silicone in matching color. Caulk is flexible; grout is brittle and utterly inflexible.

    What happens is adjoining planes that form any corner can move slightly in relation to each other (unless we're talking solid masonry such as reinforced poured concrete -- if that moves you have much bigger problems than cracked grout!) When that movement happens, the brittle grout cracks. Wherever two planes of tile meet, always caulk not grout.

    However, where tile meets (or will meet) paint, do not use 100% silicone because it will shed paint like grease! Use one of the acrylics with silicone, or one of the very new paintable silicone (III?) caulks -- whatever, it must say "Paintable". If it's merely where the tile trim ends on the flat of the same wall, just use grout; it's not going anywhere.

    When caulking with acrylic grouts, most people use a wet fingertip to wipe the inside corner round & smooth. Definitely use a dry fingertip with 100% silocone, after applying the smallest amount that will fill the joint, and have a paper towel in the other hand to keep wiping any excess from the working fingertip as it accumulates. Wipe a short section until time to wipe the fingertip; keep doing this all the way from corner to corner (end to end of the joint); then one long smooth wipe from corner to corner (end to end). Do this for each joint. To finish where three joints meet, do the final wipe continuously around from one joint to another without messing up the third. These are the most difficult -- you'll get the hang of it just about the time you're all done! Do NOT go back to redo anything until the following day with a fresh application, or you'll just drag it ragged. Keep one paper towel in your off-hand, one under the tip of the cartridge, and one ready to replace the one in your hand. And the roll always within reach.

    If you do it all exactly this way, you'll enjoy success with no mess. If not, you could end up like one guy who told me that every time he uses "that stuff," he "ends up with it in every room in the house"!

    BTW, everyone now uses 100% silicone to set fixtures like soap dishes and towel bar ends into a tile field: Make (usually two concentric) generous circles on the back of the fixture and squoosh it in place; then caulk around it like one continuous inside corner. The suction holds it in place until cured.
    Last edited by C Ed Wright; 11-08-2007 at 04:26 PM. Reason: wrong term used

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Shower Grout

    Absolutely remove all grout from the corners that you can and caulk with 100% silicone in matching color.

    What happens is adjoining planes that form any corner can move slightly in relation to each other (unless we're talking solid masonry such as reinforced poured concrete -- if that moves you have much bigger problems than cracked grout!) When that happens, th brittle grout cracks. Wherever two planes of tile meet, always caulk not grout.

    However, where tile meets (or will meet) paint, do not use 100% silicone because it will shed paint like grease! Use one of the acrylics with silicone, or one of the very new paintable silicone (III?) grouts -- whatever, it must say "Paintable". If it's merely where the tile trim ends on the flat of the same wall, just use grout; it's not going anywhere.

    When caulking with acrylic grouts, most people use a wet fingertip to wipe the inside corner round & smooth. Definitely use a dry fingertip with 100% silocone, after applying the smallest amount that will fill the joint, and have a paper towel in the other hand to keep wiping any excess from the working fingertip as it accumulates. Wipe a short section until time to wipe; keep doing this all the way from corner to corner (end to end of the joint); then one long smooth wipe from corner to corner (end to end). Do this for each joint. To finish where three joint meet, do the final wipe continuously around from one joint to another without messing up the third. These are the most difficult -- you'll get the hang of it just about the time you're all done! Do NOT go back to redo anything until the following day with a fresh application, or you'll just drag it ragged. Keep one paper towel in your off-hand, one under the tip of the cartridge, and one ready to replace the one in your hand. And the roll always within reach.

    If you do it all exactly this way, you'll enjoy success with no mess. If not, you could end up like one guy who told me that every time he uses "that stuff," he "ends up with it in every room in the house"!

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