Discuss Please help me understand what’s happened to my floor grout in the Floor Tiles area at TilersForums.com

Sabina

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My tiled bathroom floor is new but I have moisture seemingly seeping up through the grouting in some places. The affected grouting has taken on an orange colour with crystallised minerals of some kind in it.

The floor is wooden floorboards, with some kind of baseboard on top (not sure of the correct name), wired underfloor heating, self levelling compound then adhesive, then tiles.

The bathroom was completed in September but as soon as I was allowed to use the shower (over bath) I realised only cold water was coming through. The following morning I also noticed a wet patch on the wall on the other side of the wall near where all the pipework is. The fitter returned and found a small leak from the shower pipe and fixed it. However, I also noticed an area of floor grout near the bath, but not tiles, was wet even though I hadn’t actually been able to use the shower yet. The fitter didn’t know why that was, told me he found no water on the tiles beneath the bath when he removed the panel, and dismissed it.

Over the weeks though other areas of grout have become wet and stained orange and my floor now looks awful. I am convinced there is a small leak somewhere and it is seeping along beneath the tiles and soaking up through the grouting, bringing with it minerals, perhaps from the self levelling compound or adhesive?

I’ve not noticed any signs of water on the ceiling downstairs below my bathroom, thankfully, so I guess the water is being trapped between two of the new layers put on my bathroom floor.

I’m waiting for my fitter to return to ‘take a look’ and I’m sure he doesn’t believe me. But this is the only logical explanation to me and I’m dreading being told that everything needs to be ripped out and up so it can be remedied.

What I’d like to know please is if my explanation sounds plausible? Could a water leak seep along beneath tiles and bring minerals from the compound up through the grout and stain it? The ‘minerals’ feel a little oily to the touch and have a slight chemically/metallic smell to them.
 

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Sabina

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Thanks for your reply. That one tile did have very slight movement in it, yes. It seems to have stopped moving now but that’s definitely the reason for the cracked grout.

I’m not sure what type of subfloor they used unfortunately.
 

Trigger

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Hi

I believe efflorescence can occur if it was grouted prior to the adhesive drying for the required time, this generally has a furry/salt crystal type appearance. Discoloration could be down to the types of cleaning products used.

As above could be a leak. In one of the pics there looks like a water mark running down the wall and skirting, is there anything above it that might leak like a window or something. It might not be, its difficult to see properly from the photo .
Please help me understand what’s happened to my floor grout | TilersForums.com Filename: {userid}
 
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Sabina

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:)
Hi

I believe efflorescence can occur if it was grouted prior to the adhesive drying for the required time, this generally has a furry/salt crystal type appearance. Discoloration could be down to the types of cleaning products used.

As above could be a leak. In one of the pics there looks like a water mark running down the wall and skirting, is there anything above it that might leak like a window or something. It might not be, its difficult to see properly from the photo .
View attachment 124977
I see what you mean about a leak but that’s actually a reflection of the grout line below. What you’re looking at is the gloss MDF bath panel rather than a wall.

I know that water hasn’t fallen or run down onto the tiles because I covered them with a towel during a long shower. Afterwards I removed the towel and the tiles were dry but slowly, moisture started appearing in the grout which I discovered when pressing tissue down onto the grout.

I’m convinced it’s a leak from under the tiles as the staining grows week on week. I just don’t understand the orange/rusty-looking crystallisation.
 
S

Shannon

:) Hello it sounds like your grout was 1 not mixed properly and moisture is getting in. Or 2 it was not properly groutid so there might be little tiny air pockets that are allowing moisture to get in.
 
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Sabina

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:)
:) Hello it sounds like your grout was 1 not mixed properly and moisture is getting in. Or 2 it was not properly groutid so there might be little tiny air pockets that are allowing moisture to get in.
Hi thanks for your message. It’s interesting what you say. My bathroom fitter came to look last week and scraped off the top layer of grout where it had gone orange and crystallised. The layer underneath was white like it ought to be. But since then the newly exposed layer of grout has now turned orange and crystallised too. It also has a distinctive smell to it. Does this align with what happens when grout isn’t mixed properly and moisture gets in, do you think?

We’ve ruled out my theory of there being a leak beneath the floor tiles because we’ve now noticed another area where the grout has reacted like this and it’s on the wall rather than the floor this time.

Also, there is an area of orange grouting beneath the bath, behind the sealed MDF bath panel. It’s a real mystery.
 
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