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Q&A: How do I make a tile stall water tight?

Q: I’d like to build a tile shower stall. How do I make sure it’s water tight?

A: “First, make sure that the cement board is tight in the corners by applying a 100 percent silicone sealant before tiling," says Salvadore Vines, director of operations for kitchens and baths at Alure Home Improvements in Plainview. He says that the silicone comes in a caulking tube. "Don’t use a latex sealant because it’s not as watertight," he adds. "There are other types of sealants that can be applied with a brush that are easier to use if you have to cover a wide area.”

Both kinds will seal corners and cracks and prevent water from penetrating.

After you tile, it’s time to grout. “Make sure the grout is mixed properly — a good consistency is similar to mayonnaise, because this can also impact the water tightness," says Vines. "Use a grout float, which is a rubberized tool to help you glide the grout on properly. Fill in all the voids consistently. After the grout dries, clean off the excess grout and residue by using a dry cloth. Buff off all the excess haze within 24- to 48 hours. After you finish, take a look for cracks in the grout or the tiles you might have missed."

If you see dark spots on the sheet rock outside the shower, it means that water has seeped in.

Need some home improvement advice? E-mail your questions to realestate@newsday.com.

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