There is extensive cracking in the grout along the upper portion of our shower side-wall, both inside and outside of our shower. We've also noticed a leak in the shower wall, likely due to the fact that water pooling on the upper inside portion of the side wall enters cracks in the grout, exiting on the outside of the half wall along another crack (see images, with region where water exits the wall circled and arrows pointing to flow of water droplets onto the floor). Given that we don't know the materials used in constructing this side wall we are foreseeing water damage and potentially mold issues, and sadly assume we'll have to tear down and rebuild.

The bathroom is located in a portion of the house that has significantly settled. We are awaiting a permit for foundation work to correct the problem (across the entire house), with the project likely completed by the end of 2020. Given that we are planning on foundation work, which may affect the relative height of different portions of the house, I wanted to ask:

1) is there a viable short term solution to this problem? I was thinking of re-grouting the inside of the shower to prevent further water intrusions

2) if re-grouting is an option, what might be the best material to use? There is a range of the gap widths (1/8 to 1/4"), with some sections poorly fixed with what appears to be caulk

3) is it better to delay any remodeling work (for long-term fix) to later when the foundation work has been completed?

I've included a couple of links to posts that discuss related problems, including best practices in re-grouting showers and a discussion of water damage.

cracking shower grout - discussion 1

drywall damage - discussion 1

Top of shower half wall, showing area where grout is cracked and water tends to pool Image of shower half-wall

Outer half wall, showing area where water exits between tiles

  • 3
    Grout will not stop water. If you want a temporary fix, use silicone caulk.
    – jwh20
    Jun 15 '20 at 17:59
  • The structure/wall behind the grout needs to be water proof.
    – Alaska Man
    Jun 15 '20 at 19:32
  • I had a similar problem, and the root cause was a lack of careful waterproofing beneath the tiles (e.g., cement board screwed to the curb through the liner!). I recommend poking around the Floor Elf's web site to see how it should be done Right.
    – Paul Price
    Jul 12 at 20:12

A short term solution is to build a water tight covering over the wall (assuming the shower pan is functioning).

An example (functional and ugly) is to glue FRP Wall Board ,connectors and caulk.

  1. cut FRP Wall Board to size
  2. glue FRP Wall Board with caulk to existing wall
  3. caulk all joints generously
  • when redoing the ledge add a greater slope towards the shower
  • I am assuming that you are waiting until your foundation work is complete. In the interim you want to have a functional shower and minimize water damage to the structure.
    – joe
    Jun 16 '20 at 23:25
  • 1
    You could simply tape up some plastic sheets for a short-term solution. It would look ugly and you'd feel silly while showering, but it would get you there. Be sure to tape the seams so the water can't filter in. My biggest concern would be to ensure that water can't pool on the ledge.
    – Paul Price
    Jul 12 at 20:07

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