ReGrout + Tile Repair Fort Myers Sail Harbour 2

Tile Repair & ReGrout | Fort Myers, FL

Homeowner Goals

Symptom: "Black Grout for weeks after rain"
Homeowner Goals:   Client wants to keep the matching interior and exterior tiles. Avoid a lengthy, dusty, removal and retiling project.

1. Pool Cage / Lanai Hardware & Fastener Replacements, ReGrout,  Paint, Drainage/Expansion joint


Cost- $7203 
Symptom(s) Black grout lines
Size-  25x6' (150 SF)
Location- SailHarbor (Fort Myers)
Duration- 3 visits, + 1 follow up check in 


No expansion joint
no uncoupling layer
no slant / Grade
no drains
+22 Tiles Failing
Golf Ball Test
Failed + Rust Fasteners

Client Photos & Report:  Grout lines stays dark, Grout is cracking.  Water pooling along the aluminum channel.  Water is blowing in from gutters which is to be addressed by HOA.  This problem exacerbated after Hurricane Ian.    

Inspection: +22 tile areas fail golf ball test.  Partial grout lines discoloring suggest tiles are still partially adhered.  

Ryan Lutz Headshot4

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Contractor Opinion

An aluminum patio with tile is similar to an aluminum + glass framed shower.  They both need a grade to roll water toward the drain, where the drain carries the water away from the tile.  This tile patio has neither grade nor drains.  This causes the water to pool on the tile, and then absorb into the grout and then penetrate the grout and ruin the adhesive UNDER the tile.    

10+ years of the tile installed without complete lifting/tenting would indicate this is stable enough to salvage.  Hurricane Ian caused a roof/gutter issue which seems to causing a stream of water to be blown on tile.  This rapid cooling from rain water and lack of expansion joint is creating additional stress when the tile expands.  This will likely continue to worse as all 4 sides of grout turn black, and tiles dislodge.  

IF homeowner wants to save the tile, it is advised to get the roof and rain water resolved and also engineer water to drain from patio and ReGrout with Performance Grout to prevent water from getting under the tiles

Contractor Options: 
Option 1- Leave it alone.  The trapped water is an eyesore and growing bacteria/mold.  And then Rip out later and reinstall properly.    

Option 2- New Patio- A full rip out and reinstall, regrade, floor isolation barrier.  The price would be comparable to a restoration and ReGrout.   Estimate is attached here.   A rip out and reinstall of new tile would be a longer 2-3x long and more disruptive.  Given the area is outside, the disruption will be less impactful.  

Option 3- Re-enginer/ ReGrout- Exploratory removal of grout to assess degree of tile failure.  If < 5 tiles are discovered to be 100% dislodged, than Restoration and ReGrout should be successful for many years.  


Problem #1- Lanai Trapping Water

An aluminum lanai has a channel at the bottom designed to let water run out.  However in the photos you can see that the bottom is sealed shut by paint on the outside.  And on the inside the tile has covered the aluminum, which typically allows water to slowly pass under it.  

Water is trapped with little to no grade toward the door.  The water is pooling on floor and along the aluminum patio base moulding and then absorbing down into the grout.   This patio is akin to a shower pan because the water is trapped.   The water can roll out and under the screen door, or follow gravity down into the tile. +22 Tiles are positive for the Golf Ball Test, meaning the glue holding them down is failing.  

Problem #2 No Expansion

Ever had a glass bottle explode in the freezer?  The contents expand as it cools until it shatters the glass.  Ceramic tile is essentially glass and the EXACT same thing happens to tile.    

Sidewalks and pools have the "lines" cut in them.  These mysterious lines are called expansion joints. Afternoon Florida showers fall on hot tile and concrete.  The rain cools these surfaces and the tile and concrete expands.  If those lines were not cut in the pool or concrete surface, than it would cause the tiles 

Expansion joints are hollow areas usually filled with foam, rubber, or plastic.  They allow the concrete to compress them as they expand.  Your tile also needs to be able to expand and contract.  If the tile cannot expand at the edges, than it will expand up and lift or tent.    We test for tile in the early stages of lifting through the "Golf Ball Test."  

Water is under the tile making the grout wet, thus appearing black.

On the inside the tile is mounted directly against the aluminum channel on the front and on the back wall.  There is no expansion joint and this makes tiles prone to lifting as the tile changes temperature.  The tile is startin


Drill and Fill +/- 22 Tiles

Injecting glue under the tiles to adhere them back down and also to push water out.  I start by tapping  on the tiles to find the hollow spots.  Then drilling an entrance hole and an exit hole to apply the adhesive glue.   After I install the glue, I  plug it with empty bottles.  But I do not do that until I step on the tile to lighting compress it and create a vacuum.  This should keep the tile held down while the glue dries.  

Expansion Joint

You tile also expand when cooled.    Florida sun can heat surfaces well over 100 degrees and the rain can rapidly cool the tiles and a lack of expansion joint causes separation.  I cut a gap around the perimeter to allow the tile to move through heat cycles in the future.

To make the expansion joint I took a 4"  angle grinder saw and cut all around the walls about 1 finger width, or 3/4 of an inch.  I then install "Backer Rod" from Floor and Decor.  This Backer Rod is fills up the gap and then silicone is put atop.    I use soapy water to spray atop the silicone to try to prevent it from sticking to my hands.  The saw scratched up the wall and this is ok because the entire wall is getting repainted.  

Remove Old Grout  

Now its time to grind out the grout lines.  We use a dust collector filter before the vacuum so most of the dust is picked up.   We grind the grout out and then install new performance grout.  

Add Performance Grout

Now its time to grind out the grout lines.  We use a dust collector filter before the vacuum so most of the dust is picked up.   We grind the grout out and then install new performance grout.  

Cut Drains

This process involves the same tools as the expansion joint cut out.  Its very dusty cutting the tile and requires protective respiratory gear, gloves, and fans to remove dust.  After I cut the drain, I have to chisel out the problem areas at the bottom.  

Then I fabricate a drain slope with the extra grout, a makeshift solution instead of fabricating a stainless 1/2" drain.  This is a nice option that allows the homeowner to sweep dirt and lizard poop to the drain.  The water is then carried out by rainwater, or the homeowner can spray the area out with a hose. 

There is a 6" cut on the inside and out side of the aluminum channel to let the water exit quickly.  I also had to remove the paint on the outside and bottom of aluminum  to prevent water from being trapped inside the aluminum channel.   

Lanai Restoration

Patio Fastners, PestGaurd

This patio has masonry bolts anchoring on all 4 sides.  All of them were varying stages of rusted.  The bottom were mostly rusted out out and broke the heads off.  This creates a unique problem.  So to deal with that I drove holes adjacent to the current bolt.   The TapCon were covered with plastic to prevent electrolysis and rusting.  These screws will be there until this lanai is torn down.  

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