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How to Prevent Expensive Bathroom Shower Tile and Grout Repair

Watch Bathroom Shower Tile Video

One of the most common calls we receive here at ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman of Cincinnati is for bathroom shower tile and grout repair.  Failed bathroom shower tile and grout is an expensive repair.  Fortunately, there is one simple, inexpensive step you can take to avoid premature failure of your bathroom shower tiles and grout.


With our economy’s constant volatility, homeowners need to make every effort to prevent unnecessary and costly home repairs with proper maintenance and care.  The purpose of this article is to explain why bathroom shower tiles and grout generally fail and how proper maintenance of your shower tile can prevent that from happening.

How Bathroom Shower Tile and Grout Fail

Whether you have shower tiles coming off the wall, grout that is molding or falling out, water intrusion behind the tile or the shower itself is leaking, there is typically one common cause.  That cause is water penetrating the grout and infiltrating the tile backing.  Often, this results in mold growth in the tile grout lines, deterioration of the adhesive between the tile and the tile backer, or failure of the tile backer itself.

Examples of Bathroom Shower Tile Failure

Bathroom Shower Tile - Failed Grout

Bathroom Shower Tile – Failed Grout

Here you can see a shower where the grout lines are failing and a tile is cracking.  You can also see where water has made its way behind the grout to cause mold to grow.  There isn’t anything one can do to fix this shower.  It must be demolished and a new tile shower built in its place.

Bathroom Shower Tile Repair - Mold

Bathroom Shower Tile Repair – Mold

Here you can see where the water has not only destroyed the grout and tile adhesive, but the tile backer as well.  A tile repair project like this will cost you thousands of dollars—so please, take heed to the following advice to maintain your shower, as such maintenance takes precious little time and money.

Bathroom Shower Tile Grout Must Be Sealed Periodically

Grout is porous, meaning that it does allow some water to penetrate it.  Consequently, it must be sealed periodically to maintain its moisture resistance.  If there are holes, cracks, or even invisible fissures in your grout lines, water will find its way in to cause mold growth, tile adhesive failure and water damage to the shower.  Often, tiled showers installed over a finished space are responsible for wood rot, drywall damage and mold growth in a home.  Therefore, properly maintaining the water resistance of your tile shower will not only prevent costly damage to the bathroom itself, but other areas of your home.

How to Seal Bathroom Shower Tile

Thankfully, bathroom shower tile maintenance is a breeze.  Simply purchase an aerosol can of grout sealer from your local home improvement store and use it as indicated on the label.  Essentially, once you clean the shower, you spray the grout lines with the sealer and let it dry, then re-apply once more.  This treatment should be done yearly as a sound measure to seal up any cracks or microscopic holes in the grout that could lead to further water damage.  If you have a natural stone tile shower, a product is available for that application as well.  For a few dollars and minutes of your time each year, you can prevent the frustration and expense of replacing bathroom shower tiles and avoid the associated water damage from their failure.

Act Fast on Bathroom Shower Tile Problems

If a problem develops in your shower, attack it immediately to prevent more costly damage.  Here is a picture of a client we recently helped who acted quickly upon noting some mold growth and water staining in their shower grout.

Quick Bathroom Shower Tile Repair

Quick Bathroom Shower Tile Repair

We were able to clean the grout, replace a few areas of failed grout without removing the tile and then seal the entire shower.  Consequently, a few hundred dollars in repairs avoided a multi-thousand dollar disaster.

For Help with Shower Tile Repairs

ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman of Cincinnati is a great choice for those who don’t have the time or inclination to perform their own bathroom shower tile repairs.  Whether you notice molding grout or loose tiles, ProMaster has a skilled team of professionals who understand that attention to detail, artistry and precise craftsmanship are the keys to success in any bathroom shower tile project.

Our Master Craftsmen are professionals who have honed their tile skills by experience and a quest for perfection. Keep in mind that these craftsmen aren’t just bathroom repair pros; they are skilled at other home repair tasks like, carpentry, concrete & masonry, drywall & paint, electrical, flooring & tile, plumbing and roofing. Our multi-skilled craftsmen represent a distinct advantage over other repair contractors due to their ability to perform numerous tasks associated with a bathroom repair project.


  1. remodeling your bathroom will bring an 80% return on your investment.

  2. This is great! the bathroom looks new again after the repair, getting rid of mold is one way of keeping our house in proper shape.

  3. We have places on our shower walls where the grout is gone. It is only a few places. Do we need to replace tile there? What do you suggest? Do you know any one in the St. Petersburg, FL area who does this type of work? Thank you, Susan

    • MASTERMYLIST1 says

      Unfortunately I don't know anyone in your area that I can refer to you. But after you do a search for companies who do tile repair, I would run them through my checklist of Three Golden Rules for Better Home Improvement. While the links on there are for the Cincinnati Metro area–the principles and agencies still hold true. This will help you find the right company who you can trust for your tile repair.

  4. When you notice small cracks or chipping on you tiles walls in the bathroom, or even on your flooring and you do not have the background or experience with regard to this kind of home repair problem – you have to call on professional tile flooring contractors for for advice. In this way, they will give you pointers on what to do with your bathroom tile problem and how much it would probably cost to have it fixed.

    Another thing that we as homeowners should do is to be careful so that we will not have to spend on home repairs or improvement often.

  5. Good video, It however, didn't touch on my needs. I have the group pulling back for the shower enclosure at the top. I have chipped out a little but it appears to be still holding on well. Can I just clean and then regrout the area that was loose? And what about the bottom joint to the enclosure? Add a little grout to it or just try to seal with the sealer mentioned?
    Thank you

    • HandymanCincy says

      You could trying using a grouted caulk. It is just like regular caulk, except it comes in different colors and is sanded to make it look like grout. You can use this in targeted places where a “flexible grout” is necessary to maintain a water seal. You can buy this stuff at any tile supply store like Daltile, Florida Tile, Tile Shop, etc. Not sure if this answers the question… if not, email me a picture of your situation.

  6. mattfromwillis says

    Sir, I just had new tile installed in a bathroom tub/shower 1 month ago & I just noticed one tile in the top row is cracked & 1 tile 2 rows down & a third 2 rows down from that is starting to crack (1/2" crack so far). The grout is not cracked. This shower has not been used since this is a complete remodel. No one lives here. Also the shower in the room behind it has the same tile (both bathrooms are back to back) & I noticed no problem there. Do you have any idea what could cause this? Please forward to my email also, thnx in adavance.

    • HandymanCincy says

      Sorry this happened to you. Could be many causes. Often, cheap tile from the store might crack… in other cases it could have to do with the installation. It isn’t uncommon with grout and tile adhesive to see excessive shrinkage if the mix isn’t correct… can often lead to problems. Or, there could be excessive flexing in the walls if the framing/backer isn’t sound. I could conceive of many other causes, too. In any case, I’d simply replace those few tiles that cracked and monitor for further problems.

  7. Please fix my tile

  8. Joy Butler says

    Wow, it’s interesting to see that after a quick bathroom shower tile repair, it looked like a brand new one! We’re done renovating our dining and kitchen rooms, while the bathrooms are next in line. After seeing this post, I guess, the problem will be fixed now.

  9. I have one tile to reapply in my shower. I removed the loose tile. The problem is the tile backer is basically gone. Therefore the tile has nothing to be glued too. What can do for this this?
    [email protected]

    • Jacob Addison says

      It would be hard to say without seeing it. My first question would be where is the backer board? Did it come off with the loose tile? If the backer board is that severely damaged, I would imagine you will lose more tiles in the future as it deteriorates further. You would likely want to consider a re-installation. Not exactly what you’d like to hear, I’m sure, but I wonder if you have a more serious issue than just a missing tile.

  10. Kelvin MacAderm says

    “With the impending economic collapse of our nation” Can you expound on this?. My tile problems pale in comparison to this

    • Jacob Addison says

      Hey Kelvin,

      This article was written in 2010, so it looks like we called it pretty well. Updated to reflect a more current reality. 🙂

      Have a great day!

  11. Joe Crawford says

    About six weeks ago, I had a complete bathroom renovation, including shower tile installed by a professional. I am not home much and have only used the shower about six times. This morning, I noticed large chunks of grout had come out from under one of the very bottom tiles. Can I just stuff some new grout in place of the missing grout? Or will grout caulking, as mentioned above, suffice? A also noticed that the dark grey colour from the grout, is bleeding. Would the bleeding indicate the grout wasn’t sealed and that I need to seal it? Thank you!

  12. Jacob Addison says

    Joe, it sounds like you have a few problems. When you say grout is coming out from “under one of the tiles,” do you mean grout from the grout line or the thin-set behind the tile? If you are already seeing grout crack and fall out, I would imagine that the grout was mixed too thin. If this is the case, this will likely occur more and more as the shower is used. An inconsistent grout mix could also account for why the grout is discolored in spots. Without seeing the problem up close and knowing how widespread it is, you could be looking at anything from a minor touch-up to an actual replacement of the grout. Removing the old grout and installing new may end up being the best solution, unfortunately. Where are you located?

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