Pictured here are a couple of examples of what can happen to a tile finish in a shower if not installed correctly, or not maintained properly. Many types of natural stone and all grouts consist of porous materials that do not seal out moisture. Grout and stone sealers have come a long way recently, but without maintenance, the sealer wears off and is no longer effective. The constant pounding of water day after day can’t help but cause moisture to eventually get through the finish and behind the product. As soon as the backer material becomes damp or wet, the adhesive fails and the finish material begins to fall off. As the backer material (in many cases just drywall) begins to absorb moisture day after day, it softens and begins to break down. The framing material can also wick up the water causing rot and mold. We see dozens of these cases every year.
Also, if a tile or stone walk-in shower is desired, the shower receptor (floor) can also be a problem area. Most if not all “Mud Set” shower receptors will eventually fail if not installed correctly. Pictured here is the most recent recommended installation procedure of a “Mud Set” shower receptor to receive tile presented by the Tile Council of America. Unfortunately, many contractors (and homeowners) are unaware of these guidelines when installing a shower receptor, so within a few years they leak, cause damage, and need replacing. As you can see, if it’s installed correctly, it is a laborious process.
Stone and tile showers and tub areas are drop-dead gorgeous (just take a look at some of my pictures), and we don’t want to discourage you from going that direction. We just would like you to know all the alternatives (see below) so you can make an educated decision about finishes in an area of the home that can have serious problems if not installed correctly or maintained properly. The other choice of finish material in a shower is the Solid Surface Family such as the Cultured Marble and Engineered Stone type products. These man-made materials are completely non-porous. Also, a one-piece floor, one piece curb, and 3 piece shower walls greatly reduce the chance of leakage and ongoing maintenance. Although in the 1980’s and 1990’s these shower floors used to be installed on a “Mud base” before the new floor technology came about, and were notorious leakers, nowadays flashing is utilized at the lower butt joints to prevent damage caused by leakage if a seal fails. Cultured Marble is also lighter and less tedious to install than tile. Also, technology with these products is changing every day. There are many more color selections than just a few years ago, and new products and colors are being developed all the time. You can view some of the new Granitex Cultured Marble colors under the Menu item MATERIAL RESOURCES.
NOTE: The term “Granitex” simply means that the fabricator sprays a granite looking colorant mixture into the mold before pouring the cultured marble product on top of it.
Roadrunner will only install showers one way – the right way.