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Tile Grout Bubbling

My house was flooded by Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. Carpet was installed throughout the house except in the bathroom and kitchen areas. My wife and I decided to extended the house 12’ (length) * 24’ (width) to included a master bathroom and increase our sons room. The renovations to the house were completed in 2002, which included laying tiles throughout the house instead of carpet. In 2003 – 2004, we began to see certain spots in the original part of the house where the grout began to bubble up. The grout bubbling affect has not occurred in the tiles that were laid in the new addition of house as of 5/10/2009. Our assumption is that due to new building codes, the contractors laid down a moisture barrier tarp before pouring the concrete to create the fountain of the new extension to the house. My wife and I have tried using acid tile cleaners, simple green, and even regrouted the affected areas to know avail. We were wondering if any of the members of This Old House has encountered this particular problem or would know of a company / product(s) that would be able to solve our problem?

Re: Tile Grout Bubbling

Is the foundation under the problem area a concrete slab also? How long after the flood was the tile laid down, and are any of the tiles in the affected areas loose or just a grout issue?
To test your theory, you could check local building codes the year that your original footprint was poured to see if a moisture barrier was installed prior to the slab pour.


Re: Tile Grout Bubbling

The foundation under the affected areas is on top of a concrete slab. The building codes when our house was built did not require a moisture tarp barrier or hurricane reinforced joints. The tiles were laid down over the original concrete slab 7 – 8 months after the flood. We only have a grout issue in certain small spots around the original part of the house. The kitchen, bathroom, and hallways of the original house are not affected. The areas of concern are the living room and bedrooms. In total there are only about 10 spots in the entire house that are not more than a 2” in length individually that are currently experiencing this particular problem.

Re: Tile Grout Bubbling

what grout was used? When you say "bubbles" is that like a hard blemish..is it the same color as the grout? could it be Efflorecence ? Maybe latex ?

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