Preventing Tile Discoloration in Shower Installations

Not surprisingly, showers are one of the harshest environments for tile. Showers have to deal with extremely large quantities of water while preventing any potential water damage in the home. Installation of tile in bathrooms, more specifically showers, requires experienced and informed installers. Ensuring a beautiful installation, like the Atlas Concorde porcelain tile pictured, is always easiest when you're a Certified Tile Installer. As the CTEF points out, the equivalent rainfall of a shower is massively more than a typical rainforest: "The average rainfall in Florida is about 60" per year. 100" of rain/liquid precipitation per year is the technical definition of a rainforest. A daily 15-minute shower represents 30 gallons of water per day or the equivalent of 3" of rainfall per day which translates to 1100" of rainfall per year. That means that a shower represents a rainforest x 11." Therefore, it is extremely important that tile installers employ Certified Tile Installers that have experience installing tile in showers, read the TCNA Handbook, and follow the ANSI Standards and manufacturer instructions. A shower floor or walls may become discolored if there is puddling of water. This is most commonly caused by improper application of the modified thinset on the membrane. It is important for installers to follow the specific requirements of the manufacturers because they may require a certain mortar to be used with their systems. Plus, many manufacturers will void the warranty if there is an incorrect installation. Another potential reason for discoloration is improper mortar troweling techniques. Installers must make sure that they flatten ridges into valleys and do not leave aqueducts below the tile surface. If aqueducts are left below the surface, moisture will accumulate and rise through the tile creating discoloration. Here's a great article from the CTEF on how to properly trowel mortar. The best thing to do to avoid potential tile installation problems is to become a Certified Tile Installer and employ CTIs. As always, our team at D&B Tile is here to help with any questions or issues you come across. Call us or visit any of our nine South Florida tile showrooms to talk to our tile experts.