What constitutes a mortar failure? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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05-06-2009, 06:50 AM
I was wondering how to tell if the mortar failed on a job versus an installation error. I've got a job that I laid 20" porcelian tile on a kitchen and laundry with Custom Building Products Complete Contact Mortar. I used a 3/4 moon trowel and followed their instructions on the bag to a "T". I have been setting tile for 7 years and have never had this issue. I spread out enough mortar for 2 tile at a time then set them and went to the next. My helper dried each tile after he cut them as well. I measure and mix each batch of my mortar as well.

Here's what I've got now. The job started releasing the tile from the mortar about 6 months after installation. The tile are coming up clean as a whistle. The imprint of the lugs on the back of the tile are left perfectly imprinted in the mortar on the floor. I had mortar coming up in the joints as I seated the tile as well. There is no sign of powder residue on the back of the tile either.

Where do I go from here? I've been told it is nearly impossible to win a claim against a mortar company, but I feel that I went by the book on this job. I would appreicate any feedback on the situation.


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05-06-2009, 07:10 AM
Hi, Eric! Sorry about this mess. I moved you into the Pro's Hangout so the other pros can help figure this out.

You said the helper dried the the cut tiles, but did he wash and dry the whole tiles too? Did the cut tiles release the same as the whole tiles?

Have you contacted your local Custom's rep.?

Chad Deiter Company
05-06-2009, 07:52 AM
Yah thats what I was thinking also how thick was you thinset. I know you said you followed their directions but if it was too thick that doesn't help either. :(

05-06-2009, 07:55 AM
Dosen't sound like you back buttered the tile.:bonk:

The Kid
05-06-2009, 08:56 AM
Ive never herd of complete contact, what type of mortar is this? I will second the burn coat on the back of the tile. I always burn the the floor before combing also, IMHO its a must to do both.

05-06-2009, 09:15 AM
Data Sheet (http://www.custombuildingproducts.com/docs/msds/Complete%20Contact%2010%20Part%20Spec%2012-08.pdf)

The Kid
05-06-2009, 09:20 AM
what was the substrate?

05-06-2009, 10:03 AM
From the data sheet;

Complete Contact™ Fortified Mortar offers full mortar transfer to
the back of the tile eliminating the need for back-buttering or
beating-in techniques; saving time for the installer.

Similar to Mapei Ultracontact. I was given a bag of the quickset version to test a few years ago. Rougher sand than the Mapei, about as loose if mixed per instructions. Used it over Ditra in a laundry room - no failure to date.

05-06-2009, 10:09 AM

Did you pull up tiles periodically to check for coverage?

Dave Gobis
05-06-2009, 10:24 AM
Did you grout the tile into the wall?

05-06-2009, 10:27 AM
did it stick to the substrate??? if so it might be one sided thin set!!

The Kid
05-06-2009, 10:32 AM
understood backbuttering is not required but, it may have been the difference between a good install and a failure.

05-06-2009, 04:50 PM
Thanks to all who have responded. I just got home, so now I have a little time to respond. I didn't backbutter or burn the back of the tile as the instructions indicated that it wasn't necessary. I did pull up tile periodically through the installation process and found that I had good coverage. The tile is installed over an "I-joist system 16"oc. with 3/4" OSB and then I installed Custom's 1/4" easyboard that is muded nailed and taped. I did burn the floor before combing the mortar. I know it sounds like mortar that is sticky on one side because it stuck to the easyboard, but WHY is the stuff releasing from the tile? The cut tiles are coming clean as well as the whole ones. I don't grout my tile to the walls either. The tile was installed before the base trim and there is about 1/4" gap all the way around. I set different 20" tile in the master bath only I used Custom's Porcelian tile mortar and I'm having no problems there. I did backbutter there since it was a different mortar.

I know most situations are put as installation error, and I'm willing to take responsibility if I was at fault, but have you guys ever had mud fail and the company take the blame.


05-06-2009, 05:32 PM
I failed to mention that tomorrow I do have a rep from Custom and from Dal tile coming to look at the job. I'd like to have a course of action to take if you guys have any ideas.


05-06-2009, 08:37 PM
for the most part if it stuck to the substrate and not the tile its not bad thin set.They havent figured out how to make one sided thin set.

Levi the Tile Guy
05-06-2009, 10:36 PM
It is a porcelain so I would say it is because you didn't burn mud into the back of the tiles. I know the spec sheet says you don't have to, but with a large format porcelain I think you really need to. I haven't ever used that mud before though. Who is the maker of the tile? I would guess they require burning into the back. When you take the tile off do you see trowel marks or a solid bed of mortar? Also how long was the floor set before you grouted? It could be a moisture thing, and just took that long for the grout to release the tiles also. But you would think if that were the case the grout woulda cracked almost immediately.

05-07-2009, 05:45 AM
Ok, I think maybe this could shed some light. I just got to thinking The kitchen is positioned over a basement and has no walls or jacks directly underneath it. It was a new build and we went in before cabinets and appliances. The kitchen is about in the middle of the span which is about as I recall close to 18 or 20 ft. The kitchen has granite 2.5ft. on each side of the stove, a large fridge, a large neo-angle cabinet facing the living room that has the sink in it and has granite on the sink level all the way around and also has granite up for an eating bar over hang all the way around. There is also a granite island in the middle of the area that is about 4ft. by 5ft. My mind is going toward deflection here. They noticed the problem starting at Christmas time when they had several people there. Could have the extra load that kept adding to the floor caused it to bow down and then have reached a certain point that a little more with sudden changes could have cause sudden lateral movement that the mortar's bond strength to the back of the porcelian tile could not have held? If so would it be isolated or would it transfer throughout all the tile installation?

Dave Gobis, I would appreciate if you could comment on this because I think maybe I heard you talk on this once at one of you semminars at Coverings once.


05-07-2009, 09:17 AM
Dave is doing a NTCA road show this week and may be in the truck on his way to South Bend IN. from Grand Rapids MI. ..Im sure he'll be popping in later ..

The Kid
05-07-2009, 09:55 AM
still doesnt address the non bond to the porcelin.

05-07-2009, 10:41 AM
I think you are on to something with the spans, tile dead loads, granite dead loads, people live loads, etc...

Before installation of tile flooring and granite tops, an engineer should be consulted to determine structural suitability. Currently involved with a kitchen remodel with 3cm granite tops over existing tile floor. Weighed the granite and it's 20-25 lbs/sf or so. Add that to the tile and you quickly exceed most typical design loads for residential.

Wonder if the granite was an upgrade or afterthought after the initial structural design was completed? It's a tough one, good luck working through it.

Levi the Tile Guy
05-07-2009, 11:26 AM
I'm with Jeremy on this one. You may have a deflection problem, but that doesn't explain why there is no mud bonded to the tiles. If every single one of them is coming of clean I would guess (though I'm definately not a technical guru) it has to be a bonding issue.

05-07-2009, 08:43 PM
I've seen this happen with certain types of porcelain and other mortars.... the answer I believe is to backbutter. That being said I don't always backbutter everything though I should. Also another cause can be the morter being a bit to thick--- I know the spec sheet says not to backbutter so I guess you are ok there.

If it were deflection, and the tiles were bonded properly, you would have either cracked grout or cracked tiles. But the tiles weren't bonded properly.

I had this happen on a small job once due to the fact that the mortar (versabond) had been in the bucket too long, and was thick too.

scott anthony
05-08-2009, 04:10 AM
Removed quite a bit of tile in the last couple years and I noticed that a porcelain tile will 90% of the time just pop right off the floor. Thin set bonds to the floor but not the tile no matter what thin set was used.
Not my floors guys this, my removal service I'm speaking of.

05-08-2009, 05:40 AM
I always get flack from guys about my consistent obsession with backbuttering. I think you have a two fold problem. Deflection seems to be a big part of the problem. Did they switch from wood to tile?

Scottish Tile and Stone
05-08-2009, 03:00 PM
Seems just a backbuttering problem. Cant see how deflection is going to make the tiles release. They should be cracking and breaking.

05-08-2009, 09:32 PM
I hate to say it but you really need to back butter them BIG tiles. Especially BIG porcelain tiles.

No matter what the bag says.

05-08-2009, 10:20 PM
I've found most porcelains also have a kiln release powder on the back hindering any sticking to the combed thinset.Sometimes you can rub your hand on the back and not feel it but if you use a wet sponge it will wipe off.Backbuttering is best for large format tiles...as said.Add to that a little deflection and it's like poping the top off a can of Pringles.

05-09-2009, 02:43 AM
I always backbutter tiles 18" or larger, and also porcelain tile of any size. Over the average job, it probably doesn't take more than an extra couple of hours and maybe an extra bag or two of thinset. Small price to pay considering the downside is a complete failure.

05-09-2009, 09:29 AM
So you are right back to the thinset NOT doing what it claims it can do. :shades:

Dave Gobis
05-09-2009, 11:24 AM
I met up with Eric at an NTCA worshop in South Bend IN. It is sounding like island cabinet deflection compounded by a Christmas party. But, there are still a few other items to look at. The mortar was at the end of it's shelf life. There is some testing be done and we will see what happens.

05-09-2009, 01:02 PM
My opinion on this.

To get the tile to 'pop' clean without breaking, it seems the strength of the bond of the thinset to the tile would have be less than both the strength of the bond of the thinset to the easy board and the strength of the tile itself.

It makes sense to me that the thinset stuck to the easyboard and not the tile, he burned the easyboard not the tile. So the bond to the easyboard was stronger than to the tile.

It also makes sense, and i think everyone agrees including myself, that burning or backbuttering the tile would have stuck that thing better. The manufacturer claims, when using this thinset (the common manufacturers have them) no need for backbuttering because they meet ANSI minimums without doing it.

So, i think if the installer did everything by the book, and the products performed as advertised, and the structure was built to support the loads applied, then they wouldn't have had the failure. If either the installation products or the structure do not meet industry standards, nothing the installer does can be expected to make up for it.

JMO.........I'll be interested to hear the testing results.

05-09-2009, 01:59 PM
Backbuttering makes infinate good sense. Having said that, I generally mix my "Pooky" a little loose and sponge down the back of the tiles....particularly porcelean before installing. Never had a failure this way......(but, then again...it's still early...)


Levi the Tile Guy
05-09-2009, 04:09 PM
I am interested in the test results also. How do they test these types of issues? Is there a true way to actually pinpoint the exact reason of failure?

Crestone Tile
05-09-2009, 04:15 PM
Did the island go in after the tile? Is it granite?

Levi the Tile Guy
05-09-2009, 04:21 PM
He said the island is granite, but no mention if it was installed after tile.
I guess it just surprises me that deflection would cause all of the tiles to pop clean. I can't see how faulty mud, or something else that would cause the mud not to adhere to the tile at all, doesn't play some part in this.

05-10-2009, 09:09 PM
I just got back on here and I was glad for all the responses. I do normally backbutter 16" and larger tiles. I went by the book's recomendation on this tile to try it out. I pulled several tile to check them out through the install and had good coverage. I didn't know what the kitchen was going to be when I did the job, but it ended up they set the cabinets and the granite tops after the tile was in for a couple of weeks. It lasted about 4 to 5 months the way it sounds.

I really enjoy the talk Dave Gobis gave at the NTCA meeting, and would encourage anyone to go if there is going to be one in your area.

I will be sure and give a report of the testing results when they get back to me. At this point I think all that's happening is the customer's patience is being tested while we wait. I can't wait to get this one behind me.


The Kid
05-10-2009, 09:53 PM
Eric, Have you been using the easyboard alot?

Good luck on the results, I would hate to have to go through something like this.

Crestone Tile
05-10-2009, 10:07 PM
I asked about the island / granite because of creep deflection.

05-10-2009, 10:18 PM
Lurking amateur here, just trying to learn all I can.
Could someone please define 'burning'?
I will eventually be having a porcelain tile set down in the Versailles pattern over Ditra on slab.
Tile will be coming independent of the installer. Should I just water rinse all the tile (front & back) down before the setter arrives to start? Better to use a scrub brush on the back? Arizona Tile, Prairie Series, Frost color. Thanks Guys.

The Kid
05-10-2009, 11:25 PM
Matt, No doubt that the floor has some creep to it. With that being said, any good architect should have calculated what is going to be the finished load on said structure, and properly speced the frame accordingly.

Gobis said that he thought that the morter may have been outdated, so if thats the case, whos at fault? Sorry to say Eric but the manufacture of said morter may play this card. If you can get ahold of a set of plans for that particular house do it and recheck the arch's specs. may find something there. Also, it is the builders job to check all plans before proceeding with build, some blame of failure may result in their negligents.

05-11-2009, 05:38 AM
Yes, I do use 1/4" easyboard alot on my residential floors, but I don't use easyboard anywhere else. The tile store that I subcontacted to on this job sold the mortar and tile. I guess I didn't think to check the dates on the bags. The mortar couldn't have been more than 15 months old though. I'll be getting the prints on this house and giving them a real going over.

I'd like to learn more about creep deflection also. Dave told me a bit how it works, but if some of you others have input, I'd appreciate it.

05-11-2009, 05:47 AM
Could someone please define 'burning'?
"Burning" is the method of spreading thinset on a surface by using the straight side of the trowel held at a low angle and applied with downward pressure to force the thinset into pores of the surface. When used on the backs of tile, it is not the same as "back-buttering" in that you are not trying to build up a lot of thickness. You can also burn in thinset on the floor or wall, in preparation for combing out the thinset.

Bill Vincent
05-11-2009, 07:11 AM
I have a feeling that backbuttering and all the rest wouldn't have helped. 3/4" plywood over 18-20' I-joists? With 20" tile? Even if it meets L/360 requirements, I'd think that would still be a problem. That's just way too long a span for large format tile, and the 3/4" subfloor doesn't help matters any, either.

05-11-2009, 01:29 PM
Posted by Eric

I'd like to learn more about creep deflection also. Dave told me a bit how it works, but if some of you others have input, I'd appreciate it.

The Kid
05-11-2009, 08:24 PM
Dana, good reads!

Lets still not forget that the portland crystal in the thinset never got ahold of the tile. Yes, sketchy floor system that seems overloaded, but if the tiles were stuck, they would have just cracked and not lifted.

I am so curious about the test results its making me sick.:sick:

Bill Vincent
05-11-2009, 11:01 PM
but if the tiles were stuck, they would have just cracked and not lifted.

Not necessarily. That's why Dave G. Asked about grouting the tile to the wall. Perimeter pressure, when it causes a floor to tent, will do exactly the same thing. The tile will usually come up clean as a whistle, even if it was well bonded previously.

05-11-2009, 11:10 PM
Posted by Bill Vincent
Perimeter pressure...

= shear ?

Bill Vincent
05-11-2009, 11:12 PM
Ed Zachary. :D

Crestone Tile
05-12-2009, 12:07 AM
Also, there is compression versus tension depending on which side of the curvature the stress is occurring. If the bond strength is less than the breaking strength of the tile, it should shear without significant damage to the tile.

Disclaimer: I don't know what an unmodified thinset is, so what I stated above could be absolute crap.

The Kid
05-12-2009, 09:27 AM
Bill, good point. However, its been my expierence that most failures do to tenting that ive seen have had morter on the backs of the tiles, but youve been around alot longer then I so Im sure youve seen this a time or two.

Matt, not really understanding the compression issue as curvature is introduced.:scratch:

Disclaimer: I had alot to drink last night so my mind is a little cloudy.

05-12-2009, 11:08 AM
Hmmmmmm.Perhaps your thinset got a little stiff.Sometimes when your thinset is to dry either from not enough water,weather conditions,or just sitting in the bucket to long,these failures can happen.This is very apparent when doing large demolition,be it floor or wall,you can tell where the thinset got to dry and the tiles pull right up.Also when doing large tiles,and you wanna keep your lippage consistent,a little stiff might help but then youd definitely have to burn/backbuttah(just an educated guess:dunce:)....Good luck!:)

Forget CSI,we got TSI(Tile Scene Investigation:suspect:)

Dave Gobis
05-13-2009, 09:44 AM
The vast majority of tile I have seen tented was clean on the back. Thinset is rated for shear bond. That can be anywhere from 150 to 600 PSI. To crack a tile laterally from compression, depending on the type of tile could be anywhere from a few thousand pounds to as much as 30,000. Thinset will always shear at the weakest interface, which should be the tile. Exceptions are instances such as membranes, who's shear rating is only required to be 50 PSI to pass standards for example. However, most membranes are high in deformation which makes a high shear less of an issue. The flexural value of the thinset is also a consideration in this application. Complete contact is designed for application without back buttering where as others are designed for flexibility or other characteristics.

Some of the Custom Latex Portland Cement Mortars

ProLite™ Tile & Stone Mortar
High-performance, lightweight mortar offers non-sag, non-slump performance for large format tile and stone.

MegaLite® Crack Prevention Mortar
New crack prevention mortar with CustomLite® Technology.

MegaFlex® Crack Prevention Mortar
The ultimate in flexibility and bond strength for the most demanding tile installations.

FlexBond® Fortified Thin-Set Mortar
Premium quality mortar provides maximum flexibility and high bond strength.

VersaSet Fortified Thin-Set Mortar
High performance modified thin-set mortar that delivers good bond strengths for basic tile and natural stone installations

VersaBond Flex® Fortified Thin-Set Mortar
Pro formula, all-purpose mortar that's an excellent choice for porcelain and glass tile installations.

MultiSet Modified Thin-Set Mortar
Offers good bond strength for tile installations over most surfaces.

MultiSet Admix Concentrate
MultiSet Admix Concentrate is a liquid polymer designed to be mixed with water to increase performance and bond strength of MultiSet Modified Thin-Set Mortar.

MasterBlend™ with CustomFlex™ Additive
A premium, two-component, flexible mortar system for demanding installations.

PremiumPlus® with CustomFlex™ Additive
High performance unmodified mortar with increased flexibility and bond strengths.

PremiumPlus® with Thin-Set Mortar Admix
High performance mortar mix for best results or when setting dense tile.

Complete Contact® Fortified Mortar
Offers full mortar transfer in thin-bed or medium-bed installations.

Porcelain Tile Fortified Thin-Set Mortar
Designed for setting porcelain tile, also excellent for glass and large tile.

Universal Fortified Thin-Set Mortar
Highly flexible, water-resistant, cement-based thin-set.

Levi the Tile Guy
05-13-2009, 02:13 PM
I definately trust Bill, and Dave and the others on this sight they have way more experience and knowledge than I do for sure, that just seems weird to me to have all tile come off clean. I always just assumed deflection would crack or break them. I have seen trapped moisture cause them to break clean.
This is a very interesting thread, and I too, can't wait for the test results. Eric I feel your pain though because regardless of the outcome it will effect you. And I feel for the HO also because they are just sitting there with a defective floor waiting for answers, or more than likely a solution.

05-13-2009, 03:03 PM
Dave - Would a softer, clay body tile with a higher absorption coefficient have reacted differently than the porcelain ones did? Also - would "burning" the mortar into the backs have made a large difference, since the tiles were porcelain and not very porous to begin with?

In my (inexperienced!) view the fact that the tiles came up clean just indicates that strength of the bond of the tile to the mortar was less than the inherent strength of the tile, and in a situation where flex was added to the installation, separation occurred where the weakest link was - the bond between the impervious tile and the mortar.

I am just guessing, but can base my guesses on working with stone. Just like water (or electricity, for that matter), extraneous force will impact/manifest at the point of least resistance?

Nothing really to add to this thread, but I was just curious whether my observations were close and what the answers to my questions were :stupid2:


Bill Vincent
05-13-2009, 04:58 PM
the fact that the tiles came up clean just indicates that strength of the bond of the tile to the mortar was less than the inherent strength of the tile

Not quite. If that were the case, you'd see half the bisque of the tile left behind. What it is, is that the strength of bond between the thinset and substrate is stronger than that of the tile and thinset. So you're right in that it's a matter of losing bond at the weakest link. AS for using a softer clay tile and burning the thinset into the backs of the tile-- that would all change the LOOK of the outcome, but it wouldn't change the outcome itself. In other words, you might see mortar stuck half and half on the tile and floor, but the tile would still pop.

I'd imagine Dave'll be by to get a little more technicicicical about it. :D

Dave Gobis
05-13-2009, 08:17 PM
Pretty much what Bill said. This is all that holds the tile.

05-13-2009, 09:49 PM
I've got some pictures of the the kitchen and some close ups of the floor where I popped the tile up. I just can't figure out how to post the pics. If somebody wants to let me know how I'll try to bring up at least the one with the mortar stuck to the floor.

Dave, maybe you could post it from the email I sent to you.



The Kid
05-13-2009, 10:17 PM
when you post there is a button below "manage attachments" click that and then search for your pics

05-14-2009, 06:27 AM
Thanks, I have to try to figure out how to reduce the picture size. I overloaded Dave's inbox so he couldn't get the pictures either. Sorry about the confusion. It looks like I got this one to upload.

05-14-2009, 08:18 AM
more pics please

05-14-2009, 08:55 PM
Here are some pictures of the tiled area that will show you the kind of weight that was placed on the system. The middle island is 2X4 and the neoangle is about 6'-5'-6' with the same on the over hang bar only the bar is 20" instead of the 25" below. The lady said she had around 4-5 people between the little island and the big island at a time and during the home show the builder says there were quite a few more at a time. What do you think?:shrug: Please note: I don't think there is a tile that you see in these pictures that isn't loose sounding when you go around and knock on them. The ones going down the hall to the laundry are some of the loosest.

The Kid
05-14-2009, 09:08 PM
With all that weight I was wondering if the easy board wasnt being compress causing the tiles to break loose, but then you said the ones down the hall are the loosest.:shrug: How current of a product is that thinset you used? Custom has had products pulled of the line.

05-14-2009, 09:25 PM
Complete Contact mortar and it is still in the product line.

Bill Vincent
05-14-2009, 09:27 PM
Does the tile go under the baseboard, or does it butt up to it? If it abutts it, is it grouted or caulked?

05-14-2009, 09:35 PM
Posted by Eric in Post 13

The tile was installed before the base trim and there is about 1/4" gap all the way around.

Bill Vincent
05-14-2009, 09:40 PM
Sorry about that-- it's been a long assed day-- I'm just now getting home, and I left this morning at about 5:45. I think I'm gonna go to bed before I do something even stupiderer. :D

05-14-2009, 10:01 PM
your today sounds like my yesterday. got home from jobsite #2 at 9pm last nite, wasn't planned that way. whatever it takes to make them customers happy and keep em smilin:) oh, and payin:)

Levi the Tile Guy
05-14-2009, 10:59 PM
once again I'm no tech guy, but it looks to me the tiles never really bonded to the mud. You can still see trowel marks in the thinset, that mud could've been old, or a little stiff or something. I always have told people if they can pop tiles and see the trowel lines they don't have good enough coverage/bond..

Levi the Tile Guy
05-14-2009, 11:00 PM
well I guess when I adjust the color of my screen you can see the imprint from the back of the tile also.

05-15-2009, 07:10 AM
I just got a call from the granite company and they said that there is 114 sq.ft. of granite in the kitchen. Weight wise I think we talking about 2280lbs.:scratch:

05-15-2009, 07:25 AM
That sounds about right for 3cm slab. The counter-top weight is not a 'uniformly distributed' dead load like we normally figure for floors, so the precise location and size of the slabs will have some bearing on how it affected the tile floor.

This is an engineering problem. By checking the "as-built" structure, an engineer can answer whether the floor structure was up to the task.

05-15-2009, 04:21 PM
yeah but it is funny that deflecto wouldn't just cause the tile or grout to crack.....there apparently was some type of bonding issue with the mortar as well.

Bummer because it looks like a mighty nice tile job

Dave--were you impplying earlier that if he had used fullflex this wouldn't have happened?

05-15-2009, 08:14 PM
The customer tells me now that I can leave the cabinets in for the redo. I'm glad for that. I don't want a repeat of loading the floor after the fact. I do want to ask you guys if any of you have a real slick way to cut or break the tile away from under the toe kicks of the cabinets with minimum damage to the cabinet? I was planning on using a small air chisel and trying to break them right at the toe kick. I've used that method in the past, but I keep hoping there is a better way!


BP Tile
05-15-2009, 09:07 PM

If you want to go that route..... I even own one of those and it work great.....

05-15-2009, 10:01 PM
Bill how good is the Diamond blade they sell for it? I have only used one once and only on wood. It worked great for toothing in damaged hardwood floors.

Eric I wish you well. Just don't know how to help! Know when this is over you did right and you will be rewarded for all your hard work.
good luck

05-23-2009, 02:00 AM
First of all - Nice looking job. Too damn bad about this failure.

You're a stand up guy.
I've read your post carefully, and I feel that you are really looking for a solution, and not going witch hunting.

I work for a manufacturer of thin-set, so feel free to take my comments with a grain of salt.

In my opinion I'd also bet on deflection creep. This amount of weight settles stuff. Tile hates to be settled.

Generally if the mortar is stuck to the floor, and the tile appears to be shearing clean - two possible things are happening: 1. deflection (many flavors) and/or 2. bond breaker on the back of the tiles.

For the fix select a thin-set with very high sheer strength, and a performance grout. You need to throw something very capable at this problem so you don't have a 2X loser on your hands.

If your Custom rep hasn't offered assistance on this job; I will be happy to sample some material to help you out.

Send me a PM. I'd like to help, and perhaps make a new friend.

Ron Nash
Director of Sales - North America
Laticrete International Inc.

05-23-2009, 05:39 AM
Creep deflection- That's what the women I meet in bars call it. :stupid2:


On topic- would an anti fracture or uncoupling membrane have helped in this situation more than the easyboard?

Levi the Tile Guy
05-23-2009, 02:48 PM
I haven't ever used easy board, but I'm assuming you mud it down, that is gonna be a rough tear out. I really do feel for you Eric, and you are a stand up guy. There are a lot of people in this trade that wouldn't be found right about now. Sorry for your issue, but good for you for doing the right thing.

05-24-2009, 12:06 PM
This isn't the Chinese tile with the melamine in it, that thinset won't stick to? I wouldn't think the tiles at the wall or bearing point would have as much shear load as the tiles in the middle of the span. In other words they should have stuck better.

05-24-2009, 01:17 PM
The customer tells me now that I can leave the cabinets in for the redo.

Sounds like you've taken ownership of this? Are you saying the floor structure was designed to support the tile floor, granite tops, cab's, people at parties, etc... If you're not sure, I'd be calling an engineer and have him verify. I can usually talk to them for free, but get charged when they have to write up something with their stamp on it.

06-15-2009, 09:31 PM
I'll share more of the conclusings to a mind boggling ordeal. :scratch: Custom Building Products ended up being very helpful in the ordeal. I'm pretty convinced that there were a couple of issues that caused the failure. 1. There was too much weight put on the tile and that caused the creep deflection.
2. There was too much moisture in the house and when it dried down the floor already under stress went POP! The home owner had forgot to mention hearing an explosion during the night in the middle of the coldest days of the winter while the furnace would have been running full tilt.

I took all the tile out and the underlayment. (A REALLY STINKY JOB!) All the tile came up clean. The interesting part was there were some big cracks in some of the high traffic areas that went through the mortar and clear through the Easy Board. I took some pictures, but I haven't had a chance to load them up yet.

I put the floor back in around the cabinets using Custom's 1/4" WonderBoard and using MegaLite on top. I followed their recommendations and I really hope this is the last time I will ever see that floor.

Johnny T
06-17-2009, 12:12 PM
The customer is probably grateful for your hard work in fixing this project. Sounds like a satisfactory conclusion to the mess Eric.