Problems with grout on outdoor tile

by TexasSuzie
We have tile on an outdoor upper balcony. We need an alternate solution for the sanded grout which keeps cracking then eventually chipping away. Leaking water is ruining the ceiling on he covered patio below. We have had this replaced/regrouped twice. Is there a better water/cracking/chip proof product for this application??
  7 answers
  • D & K D & K on Mar 01, 2015
    Is there a better application for this, YES. You may have to order it from your local builders supply but instead of using portland styled cementitious grout you can install epoxy grout. Epoxy grout is completely waterproof but it is also more difficult to install. It also will not crack out or chip away. Which brings me to the real issue. If the balcony and tile on this balcony was intended to be waterproof or a barrier preventing water from ruining the ceiling below, a good quality water barrier like RedGuard should have been applied beneath the tile. That is if the balcony subfloor surface is a solid surface like concrete and not a bunch of 2x6s forming a deck like structure. If it is 2x6 styled lumber beneath it there's nothing you can do short of ripping the tile completely out and rebuilding the balcony. You can't lay tile on exposed exterior wood. Everytime the temperature or humidity changes or it rains the decking is going to swell and move and any bond the tile and the grout might have had with the decking material is broken.
  • William Tillis William Tillis on Mar 01, 2015
    When there is movement below tiles, either the tile will crack or the grout will. Above grade installations are better when a flexible polymer setting material is used. Best to use a flexible grout material also, since when the base moves, either the grout will move or the tile will crack. If the tile that is there now is permanently bonded, you can install tile over that surface. If not , a reinstall using a weatherproof backer board and the flexible setting and grouting materials would be indicated.
  • Craig Dery Craig Dery on Mar 01, 2015
    Grind out the grout. Vacuum all the dust. Use a commercial epoxy grout and problem solved.
  • Paul M Paul M on Mar 01, 2015
    First of all you should never depend on the grout to provide your water proofing. If you have water invasion then your problem is under the tile not the grout. Second you will need to add a waterproofing agent to the grout to stabilize it for outdoor conditions. From your description it sounds to me as if this job was not done properly from the bottom up.
  • Ricardo Martinez Ramos Ricardo Martinez Ramos on Mar 03, 2015
    Hi. I agree with @William Tillis above. I know everybody is going crazy about epoxy grouting these days but the problem you are describing is movement under the tiles. So either the grouting gives in or (worse) the tiles brake. You first need to make sure that there is a good surface or backing where to lay your tiles and secondly you need to use a flexible grout, one that contains latex, as to give in a little and not brake. If water ingress is a problem i would probably remove all tiles and grouting, sand down to a sound surface, then treat with Flexacryl (a synthetic bituminous paint with fibreglass through it), re-tile using latex grout for the back of the tiles and then finish with an outdoor grouting in between the tiles. Consider epoxy if you wish but remember it is difficult to work with and not sure it will work well outdoors.
  • S.g1391768 S.g1391768 on Mar 07, 2015
    Thank you all so much for replying to my dilemma. You have given me some very helpful suggestions! Thank you for joining the forum.
  • Lig1865500 Lig1865500 on Jun 25, 2015
    There is trapped water damage for sure, if you install epoxy grout you will make the problem worse. Very efficient waterways have formed which is why it keeps happening. You will need to strip it down to the substraight and install new waterproofing, at that point you can install a removable redwood sectional system that can be easlily removed for maintenance and repair of the waterproofing. I've been installing and repairing Decks Over Livingspaces for over forty years always a bad Idea. I'm a Tile/Granite/Marble contractor and I am recomending Redwood...Epoxy Grout is also always a bad Idea...