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Other Installation Issues: Improper Mortar Coverage, Missing Grout and Shower Pan Leaks

The assessment we've gone through has focused primarily on what is immediately obvious in this master bathroom tile installation.

A full assessment, though, goes deeper.

In fact, it goes beneath the tile to uncover inadequate mortar coverage (minimum of 80% in dry areas) on the tile as you see in the image below. Improper mortar coverage affects the integrity of the overall installation resulting in cracked and hollow-sounding tile.

Improper Mortar Coveragehttps://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg?width=711&name=Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg 711w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg?width=1067&name=Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg 1067w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg?width=1422&name=Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg 1422w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg?width=1778&name=Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg 1778w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg?width=2133&name=Before-Inadequate-mortar-coverage.jpg 2133w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" style="color: rgb(0, 105, 122); font-family: Montserrat, sans-serif; font-size: 30px; font-weight: bold; box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: bottom; margin: 20px 0px; width: 711px;" />

The shower floor shows signs of missing grout which suggests bigger issues with the shower pan installation.Missing grout in shower floorhttps://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg?width=978&name=Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg 978w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg?width=1467&name=Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg 1467w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg?width=1956&name=Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg 1956w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg?width=2445&name=Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg 2445w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg?width=2934&name=Before-shower-missing-grout-640342-edited.jpg 2934w" sizes="(max-width: 978px) 100vw, 978px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: bottom; margin: 20px 0px; width: 978px;" />

Sadly, the shower pan shows signs of leaking, caused by improper installation.Shower Pan Leakshttps://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg?width=711&name=Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg 711w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg?width=1067&name=Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg 1067w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg?width=1422&name=Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg 1422w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg?width=1778&name=Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg 1778w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg?width=2133&name=Before-shower-pan-leak.jpg 2133w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: bottom; margin: 20px 0px; width: 711px;" />

A critical aspect of a proper shower pan installation is ensuring the integrity of the waterproof barriers so water and moisture from the shower don't compromise the construction materials behind the wall or under the floor.

Further inspection of this master bath showed that the shower pan membrane was installed incorrectly, and that screws had been driven through the membrane which is not permitted.The shower pan membrane was installed incorrectly, and that screws had been driven through the membrane which is not permitted.https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg?width=711&name=Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg 711w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg?width=1067&name=Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg 1067w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg?width=1422&name=Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg 1422w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg?width=1778&name=Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg 1778w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg?width=2133&name=Before-shower-pan-screws.jpg 2133w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: bottom; margin: 20px 0px; width: 711px;" />

These installation errors will affect the performance of a shower creating moisture and mold problems.

Another view on screws in the shower pan linerhttps://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg?width=711&name=Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg 711w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg?width=1067&name=Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg 1067w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg?width=1422&name=Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg 1422w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg?width=1778&name=Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg 1778w, https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/hs-fs/hubfs/Bad_Tile_Examples/Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg?width=2133&name=Before-screws-in-shower-curb.jpg 2133w" sizes="(max-width: 711px) 100vw, 711px" style="box-sizing: border-box; max-width: 100%; height: auto; vertical-align: bottom; margin: 20px 0px; width: 711px;" />

Note that the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program includes a test focused on shower receptors.

Having read through this real-life example, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that this is how not to install tile on floors, walls and in showers.

Instead, we encourage you to work with a Certified Tiling Installer (CTI) who knows how to install tile into freshly combed mortar, using a back and forth motion ensuring full mortar contact on the back of the tile, while maintaining joint alignment and spacing.

As Qualified Labor, CTIs know that the average mortar coverage for tile installed in dry areas is 80% and 95% in wet areas. Natural stone tile requires 95% coverage in both wet and dry areas with no voids within two inches of the corners. 

CTIs not only know the industry standards and best practices, but they also ensure that your tile installation will look beautiful, and performs well for a very long time. What's not to like about that?

Thanks for reading and helping to spread the word about Qualified Labor.
Readmore: How Not to Install Tile on Floors, Walls and in Showers


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