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Flooring and Carpeting/Marble- water leaking


We are moving into a rental home and we noticed a goo / watery substance coming out through the grout lines. Should we be concerned? Will the marble tile have to be taken out or can it be left alone? What could be the problem? We think the tile- layer may have used mastic as the adhesive. The watery substance smells like vinegar when rubbed on finger tips. The watery substance is only found in the family room and not anywhere else through the house. The bathrooms also do not  show any signs of water coming through the grout.

Thank you for your question Marlene,

    I have been working within the Tile Industry for 37 years so I have seen a lot of weird things over that time. I am stumped as to what I may be looking at. I do not think that what is going on here has much to do with water as by itself water has no smell but vinegar is a mild acid so perhaps there is an acid of somekind at work here this might explain the bubbled substance you are witnessing as grout is a type of cement and does not mix with an acid. It bubbles and foams and could turn green once brought together. While your picture is clear what could be causing this event is not. Something may have been spilled on the surface or was possibly covered over at the point of install. I hate to confess here Marlene but I am only able to provide educated guesses for what you have before you. If the installer used a mastic to install this tile then it would take little effort to "remove" the tile to investigate more closely what is taking place. Have the home owner have the original installer return and begin by cutting out the offending grout joint and test for acid by introducing a Baking Soda rinse that would neutralize (I'm guessing here) any acid in this place. It can then be dried out and regrouted and watched to see what may happen. I know that I have a lot of maybe/possible/might be within this answer, but without actually being there I am limited as to how effective my advice is going to be. I hope this helps to focus a little and begin an investigation as to what is at hand. Ok Marlene, feel free to return anytime.

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Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

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