Taking apart the shelf in the shower

The grout under the gray quartz shelves in the master shower cracked, giving water a route to the structure behind the tile. We discovered this in July. Jacquela and Steven have used the shower in the hall bath since, to ensure no more water penetrates behind the tile and into the lumber.

Today, Joe from Austin Stone carefully chiseled the grout away from the quartz shelf, freeing the shelf, exposing the blue waterproofing that was applied to keep the lumber dry. In turn, that revealed how the shelf was cemented — with the same epoxy grout used to seal the joints between wall and floor tiles. This epoxy grout is inflexible — which means … it apparently cracked apart as it cured and as the shower pan and walls settled.

Joe begins with a painter's blade, scraping grout out of the joint under the shelf.
Joe begins with a painter’s blade, scraping grout out of the joint under the shelf.
With the grout removed between the top of the shelf and the wall tiles, Joe levers the shelf up -- carefully.
With the grout removed between the top of the shelf and the wall tiles, Joe levers the shelf up — carefully.
That reveals the spacers and dried epoxy grout used to mount the shelf -- and the blue waterproofing used to seal the structure of the shower stall.
That reveals the spacers and dried epoxy grout used to mount the shelf — and the blue waterproofing used to seal the structure of the shower stall.
The shelf, lifted free.
The shelf, lifted free.

For the next step — Odell from Ranserve and Joe applied silicon to the blue waterproofing. Silicon is flexible where grout is not. This will allow the shelf to “float” as the house continues to settle. Finally, they set the shelf into the silicon — to spend the weekend curing into position.

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