Moved into a newly built home recently. I went to change out the walk-in shower faucet and discovered that the tile contractor had omitted the grout behind the shower knob trim piece. They left 2 spacers in place as well. The cement behind the grout-less tiles seems normal from the little I can see. But there's no grout for about 8 linear inches of tile.

Shower knob trim removed with tile, grout and valve showing

The trim plate was held on by two screws into the valve assembly. You can see they sealed around the trim piece with a very thin bit of caulk; there was also a sizable amount of grout piled up on the trim plate where it crossed the grout lines.

My question is, how bad is this? Can I reseat or replace the trim plate with a same-or-larger size, re-caulk the edge and be safe from leakage? Or is this a don't-use-the-shower-until-fixed situation?

We do have a warranty process with the builder, but due to other recent experience, I'm expecting it to take over a month unless I raise an unholy stink, so I'm wanting a lead on the urgency before I contact them.

  • 3
    It is clear that the trim plate was installed before any grout was put in place. Unfortunately the dufus that did the grout work was clueless and did not remove the trim plate because the other plumbing dufus had sealed the trim plate in place. You have to admire coordinated craftsmanship.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 4:54
  • The plumbing doofus was pretty thoughtful sealing all the way around that plate. If any of the plumbing behind it gives way you won't be worried because you'll never know! You may want to consider leaving a small gap at the bottom for errant moisture like condensation to drain. Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 22:52

1 Answer 1


Not a big problem, easier to fix it yourself than to hassle with the builder. Remove the caulk and the inter-tile spacer(s). Buy a small pot of prepared grout (same color), and fill in the empty spaces between the tiles. This is easy to do, just use a flexible spatula to push the grout paste into the spaces to fill & then remove the excess (with same spatula). Then wipe the new grout line lightly with a moist fingertip to smooth the surface. Let it dry, then re-attach the cover plate and re-caulk it.

  • As long as it is sealed it really won’t be a problem and color match will not matter as it is covered. I would fill it even if with thinset mortar to provide more stability for the tile.+
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 13:16
  • You probably could just use silicone because you need that anyway and you don't have to deal with the grout mess
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 16:17
  • I'm a little concerned about the color match. The trim kit I bought to match the new faucet is for a different type of supply valve. I haven't sourced one to match both finish and valve yet, so there's a chance I may end up with something smaller... I'd hate to have to draw a 1/4" caulk bead to cover grout color. If I can get something close to that gray I'll call it good, but the pre-mixed I had from my last bathroom is white.
    – Patrick M
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 14:48

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