QUESTIONHi, recently we have noticed water coming out of the grout on the side of our shower where the wall and the floor meets. After not using the shower for a few days we noticed that area never dried... so we placed a towel there with pressure to draw out the water. We also notice a lot of darker color grout at random areas (but not wet) --- we have noticed the discoloration since the tiles were newly installed 3 years ago.
Wee have cut open the wall to check for pipes/plumbing and those are fine. And no wetness behind that wall.
I can't make sense out of this how can water be trapped underneath the tile and come out of the grout??? Does it mean the mortar is saturated? I don't notice any drainage issue and the shower floor is never soaked in water so we can't figure out where all this water are coming from... The grout seems to be failing (getting sticky) and I am not sure if that's the cause of the problem, or a result from the problem. Any idea what the problem might be or what else we can do?
Here's a photo of where we first noticed water issue:
ANSWERANSWER - From your photo the bottom edge of the wall tile where it is adjacent to the transition joint from the wall to the floor has efflorescence staining. That suggests water is traveling from behind the tile and evaporating through that joint.
I also notice that transition joint has a crack or tear. Can't tell if the joint has a silicone or polyurethane sealant in that joint as it should. If it is cementitious grout in that joint it should not have been used there. It should be filled with an ASTM C920 sealant over a foam backer rod. If there is a caulking there and it teared, it is probably because the sealant doesn't meet ASTM C920 and/or it wasn't installed correctly.
Since the wetness is at the perimeter of the shower floor adjacent to the wall tile joint that has a crack and has efflorescence staining, I would guess that water is getting to the back of the tiles through the tile grout joints and it travels down to the bottom of the wall where it comes out. It is not unusual for water to penetrate into the grout joints, but perhaps there are excessive voids behind the tiles. Industry standards say you can't have more than 5% voids behind a tile that 5% should be dispersed. If you have a lot of voids behind the tiles the water readily travels behind the tile and can collect at the bottom. The water apparently isn't getting into the wall cavity, which is a good thing, but rather traveling between the back of the tile and the substrate to which it is attached.