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Old 01-02-2009, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Rural New Mexico
556 posts, read 1,598,178 times
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The brand new tile grout applied to our new bathtub surround has cracked in the wider spaces. It's unsanded grout. Was it improperly mixed? Should it be removed and redone or just sealed? (not much water will hit the area).
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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Default Could be not enough milk......

Normally most of those grouts require a latex additive called milk. If they do not use it or don't use enough, strange things can happen. Also if the grout has been on the shelf forever, strange things can also occur.

Did you do it yourself or was it some other expert? Should not crack. If you take something sharp pointed and poke it a bit, does it crumble easy? A bad batch usually has lil strength, breaks up pretty easy.

Sounds like a bad mix for some particular reason. Some of those non-sanded grouts already have the additives in them. You just mix with water. Always important to read the instructions and follow them.

The size of grout strip should not make any difference. Should be able to make it as wide as you want. I would probably remove it and redo it, if I had any doubt.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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How wide are the areas it's cracking in, since you mentioned "wide areas"? Unsanded grout is usually only for 1/8" or less grout lines.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Montrose, CA
3,031 posts, read 5,649,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunInHair View Post
The brand new tile grout applied to our new bathtub surround has cracked in the wider spaces. It's unsanded grout. Was it improperly mixed? Should it be removed and redone or just sealed? (not much water will hit the area).
Wider grout lines should use sanded grout. Also, was it premixed or did it come as a powder that then needed mixing? If so, it could have been mis-mixed. Also, it might have dried too quickly, thus causing the cracks.

So basically I'm no help at all, since it could be any number of factors that caused it to do this. I'd probably remove it and do it over, if it were my place.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Rural New Mexico
556 posts, read 1,598,178 times
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The grout lines that are cracking are the two (1/2 in. wide) seams--one on the corner 90 degree edge and the other where the floor joins the base of the tub. The grout was a powder to which the contractor added water. The narrow grout lines look okay. He turned on the wall heater to make the room warm. Now I'm suspecting it was a combination of heat and improper mixing......
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunInHair View Post
The grout lines that are cracking are the two (1/2 in. wide) seams--one on the corner 90 degree edge and the other where the floor joins the base of the tub. The grout was a powder to which the contractor added water. The narrow grout lines look okay. He turned on the wall heater to make the room warm. Now I'm suspecting it was a combination of heat and improper mixing......
1/2 in grout lines are far too wide for unsanded grout, so that's the likely reason they cracked. Also, in those locations, they should have used a color matched caulk, sanded given the width. Given the stresses in those areas, they need to be more flexible to movements.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Rural New Mexico
556 posts, read 1,598,178 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akck View Post
1/2 in grout lines are far too wide for unsanded grout, so that's the likely reason they cracked. Also, in those locations, they should have used a color matched caulk, sanded given the width. Given the stresses in those areas, they need to be more flexible to movements.
Sanded grout is more flexbile than unsanded? Or, are you saying *sanded caulk?*?
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Alaska
5,154 posts, read 9,418,017 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunInHair View Post
Sanded grout is more flexbile than unsanded? Or, are you saying *sanded caulk?*?
I was saying sanded caulk. Sanded grout is not more flexible than unsanded. I believe the sand offers more support to the grout so it can span wider distances. Caulk acts as a fracture membrane between surfaces. For the joints you mentioned, the two surfaces expand and contract at different rates, causing more stress on those grout lines. Sanded grout would have held up better, but would eventually crack over time. The caulk which is usually latex, will stretch allowing the surfaces to move.

I'd call the tile installer and have him fix the two joints with sanded caulk that matches the grout color. Grout manufactures have color matched caulk available.
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Old 01-02-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Baywood Park
1,634 posts, read 4,268,088 times
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I had the same problems. My grout lines are thin and the major cracking happend on the dam. The grout is white, so I've considerd just white silicone in the voids. Since they are thin, about 1/8". Any problems with that?
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA central coast View Post
I had the same problems. My grout lines are thin and the major cracking happend on the dam. The grout is white, so I've considerd just white silicone in the voids. Since they are thin, about 1/8". Any problems with that?
The only problem would be if ther was some underlying problem that caused the cracks to happen in the first place. If it's just an age thing, you'll probably want to remove the rest of the grout on that line before you caulk it. Also, make sure it is silicone and not latex. I've heard that latex has a tendency to "melt" in wet areas.
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