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Old 04-12-2018, 07:11 PM   #1
jen31522
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Cement Tile installation issues

Hello I am new here and let me tell you first, Im not an installer, Im a designer/distributor. We have installed lots of cement tiles and Ive had lots of issues but this one I'm trying to figure out my best course of action. We installed about 200 Sft of 8x8 cement tile around Christmas. They looked really really spotty and I thought my installer didn't mix the boxes. He's a good installer, and I trust him, he did mix boxes. This was on a screened porch. it was on a new concrete pad. The pad cured for 3-4 weeks before we set. Possibly not totally cured but pretty sure it was. I have come to find out, he didn't waterproof over the pad. I had pretty much decided that was the issue and that we are screwed, going to have to go over the whole floor again. Just to check before we have to go this route, I took a moisture meter out to see what I got. It definitely has moisture 14-18% . I took a hairdryer to one of them for a good 30 minutes. Only one percent change in the moisture read and tile didn't change color at all. I didn't expect it to drastically, but if it is a moisture problem wouldn't it change some in the moisture and the color? Some tiles look wet, some look soaked, some look dry? We sealed with stain proof and you will see in my pictures I'm trying to see if I use intensifia on some to try to help with the color range. Any help appreciated!
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:25 PM   #2
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Jennie,

Welcome to the forum.

Which sealer did you use? The manufacturer may have some suggestions.

The sealer is helping hold the moisture in the tiles. The thinset also contained a lot of water. Eventually it will dry out. Can't say how long. Are the clients patient?

Ripping it all out would be a faster solution though.
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:29 PM   #3
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used a penetrating sealer. Used dry treat stain proof and then tried of few pieces with dry treat intensifia. Both are breathable. We waited several weeks before we did the stain proof so grout was cured.
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:57 PM   #4
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Has it been raining much?

Do you know if there was thick plastic put over the dirt before the ceement was poured?
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:40 PM   #5
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we did the back in December. Was pretty wet that month but its been 4 months no change, might be a little worse looking now. I cant remember about the plastic. Luckily, its a second home and the clients haven't even seen it yet. I have a couple weeks before they will be down.
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:46 PM   #6
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I do know if you rip it out, cover the floor with Ditra, seal the seams, then tile the ditra will trap any moisture below.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:10 PM   #7
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Welcome, Jennie.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennie
I took a moisture meter out to see what I got. It definitely has moisture 14-18%
More specifically, what device did you use to get this particular reading?
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:52 AM   #8
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I'd be curious to know how the slab is constructed. Was there a vapor barrier? Board insulation? What was there previously?

At three weeks it would still be pretty green, although cement is considered fully cured at 28 days.

If there's any hydraulic pressure under slab a topical waterproofing would be hard pressed to mitigate it entirely.
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Old 04-13-2018, 08:02 AM   #9
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Cure times are calculated at 70 F and 50% RH. Something poured at 50F would take about three times as long to cure. I agree, the sealer will extend the dry time. It may dry out and disappear, or, it may become a permanent as the longer the cure the darker the cement coloration.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:39 PM   #10
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Well, it is possible that the concrete wasn't cured. It was In December and it was unusually wet and cold for us so the 28 days might not have been enough. We have been able to wait since the client doesn't live here. I had hoped over time it would get better but it has gotten worse so that is not good. Its a lot of money to replace the whole thing so I was hoping there was something we could do to try to dry it out if it is just the moisture problem. We had a cheap moisture meter so I know its not really the most accurate. The biggest thing was after 30 minutes of heating the tile there was no color change. The stain proof is breathable so I don't think that would delay the drying time? We are talking 4 months so if its gonna dry I would think it would show improvement by now. Not worse.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:04 PM   #11
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Sealers work by plugging microscopic pores. Any sealer will retard vapor passage. I have done some, not a lot of cement tile. I do recall one where a washer let loose and it was 6 months before a noticeable lightening happening. I think it would be premature to call for a tear-out and would ask the owner for indulgence due to a wet cold winter.
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:59 PM   #12
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The long dry time is why I asked if the HO was patient.

We had a pipe leak in a condo a few floors above. The granite floor took a good 9 months to dry out, with the AC running for the full time.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:57 PM   #13
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I've seen it take a couple months for limestone to dry out just from the moisture in the thinset. Under it was a cured slab with a membrane.

Let us know how this turns out if you don't mind.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:43 PM   #14
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I recently completed a job with about 900 ft of three diff design 8x8 cement tiles.In my eyes I feel like they should take these things out of showrooms because they are a very very finicky product.

I have had lots of call backs on this particular job. Including blotchy tiles, grout coming loose and a bunch of cracked tiles every 8 ft on plywood seams.

Install included original 3/4 t&g subfloor. Then I had the builder install another layer of 1/2" plywood (not partical) opposite direction of the first layer, Then Schluter ditra was installed using Laticrete 254 platinum thin set to adhere to floor. Then using Laticrete 317 unmodified to set tile, I pre soaked the tiles, back buttered every single inch of each tile and set with a 1/2x1/2 notch trowel. Once set I waited one week for thin set to cure. Then presealed the tile as specified and grouted with Laticrete Permacolor grout.

what I'm getting at here is there are so so many diff ceramic and porcelain tiles that mimic the look of the printed cement tiles, and every installer I've ever spoke with has had negative feedback on the cement tile. and they are triple the cost of anything else. Sorry to rant but I hope you figure out your problem. After the problems I've had on the one and only cement tile job I did I will never install them again.

If what I mentioned about the install of my job seems like I may have done something incorrect. someone please chime in and let me know.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:00 PM   #15
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Without a lot more information it's difficult to determine how much of your failure would be caused by your incorrect orientation of the second layer of subflooring, Cori, but you certainly did yourself no favor installing it that way.

Cracking tiles are the result of unwanted movement rather than any potential weakness in the tiles themselves. There are natural stone tiles that have inherent weaknesses likely greater than your manufactured concrete tiles that have been successfully installed over properly installed wood framed floors. If you had tiles cracking over your subfloor joints, I'd be looking for something other than the type of tile as the cause.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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