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Water in grout lines of new floor

Nicole Geiler
March 14, 2019

A month after having porcelain wood tile installed, our grout lines started having water seeping up through them and efflorescence. We had plumbers come

check for leaks in the slab multiple times. The flooring company came out and basically left scratching their heads. We are lost here with the situation and what to do, any advice would be appreciated.

Comments (5)

  • Nancy Ingram
    Did your flooring company do a slab moisture test?
    Nicole Geiler thanked Nancy Ingram
  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    If the answer is yes ask the for a record of the test and what it indicated. If they cant provide it to you then there may be a problem with the installation or prep.

    Nicole Geiler thanked Oak & Broad
  • SJ McCarthy

    How old is the house/slab? What area do you live in? Does your area have a high water table (very damp soil)? Did the GC/flooring company test for moisture in the slab? If so, you should have been given a copy of that report (you paid for it, you own it).

    A few more details will help shed light on this situation...but in essence you have water/moisture moving up THROUGH the slab and into your house. The porcelain is forcing the moisture to leave via the grout lines...which is the only place that is permeable to water. Porcelain tiles can "cap" a damp slab which then causes the slab to gain more and more water as it seeks a way out (it used to be able to evaporate into the air but the cap stops that from happening so the slab gets wetter and wetter by the hour). Older slabs can have this issue when they go from a finish that allows moisture to move through (like carpet) to an impermeable finish like porcelain.

  • Nicole Geiler

    Thank you! The house is almost 41 years old. We did have moisture tests done and they did have high moisture content results. We originally put down engineered wood floor and after 6 months it began to blister and warp, which led us to ripping everything out and going with tile. We had tile in the same areas before but never had water or effloresence...which is why we are scratching our heads?!?!

  • SJ McCarthy

    Sigh...everything was pointing to high moisture levels. If you had AREAS which were "uncapped" (like floating engineered hardwood or carpet) and areas that were capped (like tile) then the moisture had an ESCAPE ROUTE. It escaped via the "uncapped" area (which is why the engineered hardwood was so badly damaged...all 100% of the moisture in the slab was using it as the escape route).

    If you then put down tile ALL OVER (100% floor covered in tile = 100% capped) then the water in the slab no longer had a place to escape so it then pushed through the grout as best as it could.

    To deal with this (for anything other than carpet) you will need to bring in some concrete experts (people who deal with wet basements, etc) to come in and seal your slab. Once it has been sealed and then recovered in a new layer of concrete you can then have any floor you want. The cost to deal with a wet slab like yours can be around $5/sf (which should include a microtopping of new concrete...but it might not).

    Until then, carpet is your friend.

    Nicole Geiler thanked SJ McCarthy

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