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I hired someone to replace my tub and he had is son-in-law to do the tile. The problem is that I have hairline cracks in some of grout between the tiles. Peoriodically I have been using caulk and rubbing it in.

He had me to buy grout, so I did. I had no clue what I was looking for and got something called sanded grout. The side of the bag said that this would work with wall tile.

Here is what I have. The contractor used waterproof sheet rock as a backing instead of cement board and used sanded grout in stead of no sand. Could either one of these be the culprit to the hairlines? The only option I have is to periodically fill in those places with caulk.

thoughts????
 

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ml,

Cracks in grout lines is caused by flexing of the backing material. It can be caused by settling of the house or by expansion/contraction of the surface from heating and cooling of the wall. It is possible that use of cement backer board in place of water resistant dry wall could reduce that flexion, thus reducing cracking of the joints.

On the other hand, there was a whole bunch of ceramic tile installed on a whole bunch of dry wall for a whole bunch of years before cement backing board was ever introduced. It really depends on how stable the wall is.

The use of sanded versus non-sanded grout is a function of the size of the grout line. The sanded has larger particulate matter in the grout therefore it is used on larger grout lines. The non-sanded is used on the smaller grout lines. I can't remember right how what the width of the line is for the transition from non-sanded to sanded. It will say so on the grout. Typically, wall tile in a shower area will use small grout lines and non-sanded grout. The installer of the tile should have known the difference.

Unless you have some weakness in the structure of the wall behind the tile, you shouldn't have cracking in the grout lines.

It's not likely that you're going to get the installer to rip out the tile and dry wall and start over, so I imagine that you're going to have to live with the caulking compound until you eventually start over.

Good luck,

Tom in TN
 

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Are these cracks in the corners? Just in the corners? Or across the wall and the corners? Or just the wall and not the corners?
 

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When we moved in here last year, I redid the grout in my 4' X 4' shower stall.

My first thought is what Tom said regarding some flexing. Now I'm wondering whether it has more to do with how wet the grout was when it was applied and whether it was allowed to "cure" properly.

After redoing the shower, I then laid a bathroom floor, using plywood underlayment then cement board as a backing. I used sanded grout in between the 8" tiles and believe me, there is NO flexing going on and not a crack in site...even with everyone walking on it. I would think that on a wall, there would be less reason to have cracking...even hairline cracking.

Rubbing caulk into the lines will prevent water from getting into the backing, but you may want to "fix" the problem which will yield a longer lasting result. Yes...it will be a lot more work, but in the long run, you'll be a lot happier.

RVcook
 

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There's something called a grout sealer - would that work?

or using something more flexible and waterproof like a silicone caulk?
 
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