Bellevue homeowner wants bathroom tile grout repaired

Bellevue homeowner wants bathroom tile grout repaired

COMPLAINT: Julie Scharlin, Bellevue, Wash.

"Vick Mironyuk [owner, Tile Seattle], was helpful when he came to my condo to discuss my bathroom remodeling project. Once tile was chosen from Home Depot, he purchased it and began installing the ceramic tile in the bathroom and shower.

"The condo was vacant, and the bathroom had been gutted. I gave his crew keys. When I paid Vick, I expressed concern that I never had anything in writing from him for the cost of the project or for his warranty. He said he guarantees his work and if I had questions to call him.

"In the first few months of using the shower, the grout wasn't completely drying out after use. So, I would leave my heat light on all day to dry the tile. I also resealed the shower, curb and ledge. This helped a bit, but now there are small sections of grout that seem darker than the rest.

"The big issue involves the cracking grout on the inside curb of the shower and the grout on the inside wall where Vick created a ledge. I sent photos of the cracked grout so he could see what was happening. He claimed the manufacturer of the easyboard was ultimately responsible and that Home Depot no longer carries the board. He said he was going to contact the manufacturer directly for resolution.

"I called Vick, but he never replied. The curb is now lifting up, because the grout is cracked on both sides. I submitted a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. He is not a BBB member, and they never heard from him.

"I have had three estimates since from other tile specialists. They tell me that it appears Vick may not have used the proper materials when building the shower pan and curb, and he didn't seal it well. They cannot give me a repair cost, as they must remove the curb and ledge tiles to see what is happening underneath."

DESIRED RESOLUTION: "My desired resolution is to get the shower and other affected areas in the bathroom repaired as soon as possible. I want Vick to reimburse me in full. If he is willing to do the repairs, I welcome him, as long as he uses the best materials and doesn't drag out the procedure."

STATUS: Penalty Box

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Georgia Rivera


Grout not drying could be a couple of reasons. 1) The installer cloged the weep holes in the showerpan with thinset not allowing the water to properly drain or 2) The shower pan is not angled correctly for proper drainage. I can't express the importance of knowing this and to have all grout properly sealed with a good sealer (not the home depot or Lowe's watery stuff. Use a really good stone sealer such as the water-based impregnating sealer from Stone Care Central. If you smell rotting water smell from the might need a new shower pan.



I disagree slightly with Bob here. While cracking in corners is "common", it shouldn't be ignored as "common". Movement causes cracking, either by vibration, expansion or through bond failure. A flexible caulk will improve the appearance but it does not address the underlying cause of the cracking.
The curb issues are entirely a different problem. I suspect that the curb has been built improperly, either by mechanically attaching cement board to the timber frame or by the use of pressure-treated lumber for it's framing. Using nails or screws to attach cement board compromises the water-proofing membrane which is *supposed* to be present. In Bellevue, the building code calls for this membrane to extend 12 INCHES above the rough curb height (industry minimum is 3"). Pressure-treated lumber will not rot but it is inherently damp and as it dries inside of your wall it will warp and twist, causing a tile failure. You are welcome to email photos of the curb to me and I can try to diagnose the cause for you. There are tell-tale signs which often define the cause and prescribe the solution without even having to dismantle the installation.
Depending on what the cause of these failures might be, I would hold off on having this installer do any more work for you, save the demolition. It may prove that he doesn't have a strong understanding of how a shower is supposed to function. Tile Seattle is licensed, with insurance and bond posted. You can always contact the Department of Labor & Industries to explore the option of tapping Tile Seattle's bond to recover your losses?
Best of luck.

Bob the Tileguy


Grout cracking especially on inside corners of wall tile in a shower is normal. Personally, I would have siliconed all the inside corners as well as grouting. The curb lifting is another story. That needs to get fixed and at the original tile guys expense but not a refund for the whole job if you get someone else to repair it. Nothing in writing will probably bite you in the butt if it does go to court though.

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