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    Slikkster's Avatar
    Slikkster Posts: 17, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Aug 4, 2006, 06:14 AM
    Caulk or Grout in Glass Enclosed Shower Stall
    I live in an apartment building (I own the apartment I live in). We remodeled the bathroom when we moved in three years ago, and put in a glass enclosed shower stall where a tub once lived.

    The shower stall has large ceramic tiles on the floor, and smaller differently-styled ceramic tiles (same tiles as we used on the walls) on the raised portion of the stall interior that the glass door and glass border rests on; about six inches above the shower stall floor. The two different types of wall and floor tiles continue around the other three sides of the shower stall.

    Note: The installation was done by a contractor.

    I'm interested in the best product to use where the two types of ceramic tiles meet.

    There was originally grout along this shower stall wall/floor border. But, some of that grout has washed away. We had another contractor doing some work and asked him about the grout that was slowly losing, and he suggested (and ultimately placed) a caulking along this wall/floor border. But even that's not really robust, as it doesn't take well to cleaning. Any pressure applied to it can just rip it right up.

    I'd like to re-do the entire perimeter of the inside of the stall where the wall meets the floor to ensure watertight integrity. I'd be in for a big liability wallop if water leaked down into the apartment below me!

    Can anyone recommend the best product here for both look and durability? Plus, I've read where grout is concerned that wall grouting is normally "non-sanded", while floor grout is sanded. What about where the two meet?

    I prefer a white color of whatever product recommended.

    One other note: Part of the reason the second contractor recommended a caulk was because of seasonal expansion/contraction of some of our bathroom corners on the walls. We did have some grout cracking along the corner seams during the seasonal shifts. I'm fine with using caulking there (on the wall corners) because it seems to handle the expansion/contraction fine. I'm concerned, however, about the shower stall floor.

    One final note: The floor tiles in the shower are grouted, and are holding up fine. It's just border between the floor tiles and wall tiles that I'm concerned with.
    skiberger's Avatar
    skiberger Posts: 562, Reputation: 41
    Senior Member

    Aug 7, 2006, 09:52 AM
    Contractor #2 is correct about the seasonal expansion and contraction. If your shower stall is built correctly with all the proper flashings/rubber liners you shouldn't have any possible leaks with that bad grout joint. As always never say never.

    As for the joint, buy a good silcone tub/tile caulking. The contractor may have used a latex caulk he had in the truck. A good caulk placed in a clean joint shouldn't be able to peel out of that joint. Also with a tub/tile caulk it will be mildew resistant.

    The different types of grouts are for durability. A sanded grout will hold up better than a nonsanded grout. The non sanded is easier to install between tight joint where you won't be able to get a sanded grout into. As for the joint
    It should have been sealed with a caulk and no grout for the expansion purpose.
    Slikkster's Avatar
    Slikkster Posts: 17, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Aug 7, 2006, 10:19 AM
    Thanks for the reply and useful information. I'm getting from your comments that the shower stall pan, if properly installed, would provide for any drainage of water that seeped through joints inside the shower stall itself?
    skiberger's Avatar
    skiberger Posts: 562, Reputation: 41
    Senior Member

    Aug 7, 2006, 02:59 PM
    You said you have a tile floor in the shower. You should have a showerpan system that usually is a neoprene liner that extends up the wall studs about 6" with the seams sealed. Then a mortar bed installed then finally the floor tiles.
    Then you install the backer board on the walls, seal the seam w/ caulking where the baclkerboard meets the showerpan. Finally the wall tiles go on the wall and grouted.
    I'm assuming the wall tile is a regular tile where it meets the shower pan, meaning its not a base tile where the bottom of the tile has a curvered profile so water running down the wall would shed into the shower pan instead of resting on the slight edge of the pan.
    What is size of the wall tile the width of the wall grout joint at this location? I was assuming we were dealing w/ a 4x4 wall tile w/ a 1/8" grout joint.
    Slikkster's Avatar
    Slikkster Posts: 17, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Aug 7, 2006, 04:07 PM
    The wall tiles are actually about 5 3/4" square. There's nothing different about the tiles that are on the wall vs. where they meet the floor tiles. No rounded edges, etc. They are the same throughout.

    I do recall seeing a rubberized-looking base for the shower stall during the construction phase. And, there's a water-resistant wallboard in the shower area (greenish) that I saw during construction as well.
    skiberger's Avatar
    skiberger Posts: 562, Reputation: 41
    Senior Member

    Aug 8, 2006, 04:18 AM
    Clean the joint and install a silicone tub/tile caulk like I mentioned before.
    It sounds like the shower stall was done properly. If it wasn't, you would be getting a knock on the door by now by the neighbor down below.

    One final note, make sure you have a good seal where your bathroom floor meets the shower curb outside the shower at the shower door area. This is a common area for water to enter when you step outside of the shower wet.
    Slikkster's Avatar
    Slikkster Posts: 17, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Aug 8, 2006, 04:37 AM
    Thanks for the help!
    skiberger's Avatar
    skiberger Posts: 562, Reputation: 41
    Senior Member

    Aug 8, 2006, 05:19 PM
    Your welcome!
    dherman1's Avatar
    dherman1 Posts: 129, Reputation: 10
    Junior Member

    Sep 5, 2006, 07:07 AM
    It is generally a good idea to use caulk where two planes meet (sidewall to sidewall or sidewall to floor (or ceiling)) and grout on the same plane.

    To clean out the grout, there are various types of grout saws out there, but, if you have access to a dremel tool or rotozip, you can get a tile bit that will help remove the grout very easily.

    If there is caulk there currently, you can use a razor blade to cut and remove the caulk or use a caulk remover compound (I think it only works on latex based caulks though.)

    If you are concerned about a difference in colors between the caulk and grout, most grout manufacturers make a latex based caulk in both sanded/unsanded finishes in common grout colors. Or, if you want to use the silicone caulk that Skiberger prefers (as do I) then you can typically find different colors that may come close at the big box stores. (Depot/Lowes/Menards, etc)

    One thing that I would recommend is that you once you remove the grout/caulk use a bleach mixture to remove any mold/mildew that may be present. And, then follow up with an alcohol wash to dry out the joint. Let it dry as long as possible and then caulk the joints.

    Slikkster's Avatar
    Slikkster Posts: 17, Reputation: 2
    New Member

    Sep 5, 2006, 07:42 AM
    Thanks, Dan. Good stuff. I'm waiting to do this project when it gets cooler and less humid, to help with the drying process. There's no exhaust fan in this room (lol, many "I wouldn't go in there for awhile!" comments made to the wife), so having a cool, dry span of days is what I'm waiting for.

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