Prevent Grout Cracking at Joints
LESLIE: Frances in New Jersey is dealing with a grout situation. What’s going on?
FRANCES: I had my house remodeled last year. The kitchen and bath were remodeled and finished around June and the grout in the kitchen and bathroom is cracking and falling out.
TOM: Hmm. Now we’re talking about wall tile here?
LESLIE: And you’re talking about the grout all over the wall or just, say, perhaps where the wall and the floor meet?
FRANCES: The grout where the wall and the counter meet, the grout where the wall and the floor meet in the bathroom and now in the shower area.
TOM: OK, that’s normal and here’s why. Because at the junctions of walls and ceilings and walls and counters and walls and floor, you’re never going to have a grout that’s completely stable there because they’re always in movement. There’s always expansion and contraction.
LESLIE: The walls are, not the grout.
TOM: The walls, not the grout. Right.
FRANCES: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: So where those cracks form, you need to add a good-quality caulk.
FRANCES: Caulk, OK.
TOM: You’re never going to have a solid grout joint in that space, never.
TOM: OK? So that’s not a defect and that’s actually a good thing. When we saw that you called about grout that was cracking all over the place, to have a crack in those seams like that, not a big deal.
FRANCES: Gotcha. Gotcha. So now all I need to do is caulk it.
TOM: Yes, caulk those. And you could use a caulk that matches the color of the grout or you could use clear, but use a good-quality caulk; perhaps a silicone caulk would be appropriate.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, choose one with a mildicide, especially you’re dealing with kitchens and bath areas; you’ve got a lot of moisture, you don’t want mold growth on it.
FRANCES: Gotcha. OK. OK, very good.
FRANCES: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.