Is Grout Replacement Enough, or Will I Need More? via /r/DIY

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Is Grout Replacement Enough, or Will I Need More?

Hello r/DIY,

I recently bought a new house and noted that the master bathroom shower (tile with grout) has decent sized cracks in the grout. I knew that this would be a required fix to prevent water damage, but need to figure out whether simple grout replacement is enough, or if more is needed.

https://imgur.com/a/0Ni3JhZ

As we know, knockouts in shower walls are some of the most problematic places in showers, and that's exactly where my problem is most apparent. In the attached photos, it can even be seen where someone in the past (whether when home was built or a called contractor?) added grout ON TOP of the old grout, which obviously has chipped off in my short time being here. The house was made mid 2015, so it's about 6 years old, and my biggest question is, how do I know if my shower has a waterproof membrane behind the tile without ripping the tile out? If there's no way of knowing, is there a way to know that there's water damage or not behind the tile before committing to the project?

The cracks are obviously big enough in my opinion that water can get through, and if there's no waterproof membrane a shower demo might be in order to fix potential water damage. But if there is a membrane then it's possible that I can safely replace the grout with decent certainty that there's little/no water damage behind it.

I've already google searched for ways of telling if there's water damage to a shower, how to tell if there's a membrane or not, local building codes to see if a water membrane was required back in 2015 etc but I'm coming up mostly empty handed. Most of the results I get are on how to perform the related tasks (installing water membrane, installing tile, replacing old grout etc) rather than inspection advice.

If possible, I'd like to just saw out the cracked grout, clean the cracks, and refill with new grout to match. But if that would just be a patch on an existing problem of potential water damage, I'd like to plan for the larger scale project instead of hoping it just goes away. I understand that there's no way of knowing for sure, but in both attic and in the room below (shower is upstairs) I don't see any obvious water damage, and so if there's other things I can investigate to know better my current situation that would be great.

Thanks in advance!

Submitted May 19, 2021 at 12:42PM by vGoNebulous
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