When we moved into our house the master bathroom shower tile had clear caulking in it and mildew had begun to form under it. We contacted someone and they cut out all the clear caulking and put a glaze over the tiles which we were told would seal the shower. Sometime later we noticed that there was a leak behind the shower (the paint had started to pucker and a tile fell off).
We have not used the shower in over 6 months and we would like to get this fixed but are not sure if we need to have all the tiles replaced or have the tiles resealed?
From the photo you posted it looks as though there may be a leak in the wall that the plumbing is on. If you want to see the extent of the problem without going through the tile, it is possible to go in through the back of the wall and check and repair the leak from the back side. Typically, this sort of situation has usually gone unnoticed for some time before it ever gets to the point that yours is, and I would be concerned about "sealing" it.
If there is any mold or sign of water damage to the structure, you would be wise to replace not only the tile but also the existing backer board. I don't believe that sealing it will solve your problem since grout is porous. Once you have any rot, just the slightest bit of damp will cause the problem to carry on and worsen.
I don't know a lot about how insurance works, but you may check to see if this sort of damage is covered under your policy.
The water could be coming from the plumbing behind the wall, but unlikely. More than likely it is coming from that corner, you have 3 surfaces that are tiled there and is usually a weak spot. Especially if there is standing water there after a shower. That being said, your shower is more than likely done by the builder, which means it was not done right in the first place. You can try to caulk every joint and seam in that corner, just so you can use the shower. Don't worry about what it looks like, you can just patch your shower right now.
The only real solution unfortunately is to rip out the whole shower and start over. Remember that the whole shower is built to the same standard, so more than likely it will fail again. There is no sealant that exists that will seal your shower. The tiles themselves are waterproof, but the grout is only water resistant. The sealant you can buy for grout helps, but are mostly designed to keep dirt from getting into the grout so it's easier to clean.
Maybe what I'am going to say will not be a happy note for you, But I would suggest redoing the shower and getting it done right. If you just do what has to be done and not really solve the problem and it still continues and you have more and more issues in the long run, it will be more costly after then just ripping it all out now and fixing it all in one shot.
I have learned from experince that water damage is the worst damage of all, as you think you have found where its leaking from and then in a week or 2 it starts in another area!! So my advice is rip it all out and have the shower you so wanted and it will last as long as you have your house!
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