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Old 02-15-2008, 03:32 PM   #1
edwb
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Big Dog + Grout = Headache

Hi there!

I was wondering if anybody could help with with a problem I have encountered. About two years ago i installed ceramic tile in my kitchen and grouted using normal sanded grout from home depot. It was fins for the first few months and then it all started to crack and fall out in the high traffic areas. After some investigating it turns out my 90lb Labrador Retriever's Nails also act as a grout saw.

I am wondering if anybody has any suggestions as to what type of grout I should use. I am assuming something extremely hard, or possibly just an additive to add to the typical sanded grout. Any information or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:52 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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Welcome, to the forum, ed (if it is ed).

The dog's nails may dig into the grout, but if the grout is actually cracking and falling out, it's much more likely that the tile is moving in relation to the floor and an indicator of more intense problems. If this is the case, replacing the grout will only be a temporary fix.

We'd love to help. At this point, let's eliminate some possibilites. Can you tell us how you installed the tile and what materials you used? (Like, I installed cement board to my plywood floor in a bed of thinset mortar and nailed it down. Then installed the tile with the same thinset.) The more details about what materials you used and your methods, the better.
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:46 PM   #3
edwb
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Thanks for the reply Tool Guy!

You pretty much already guessed my install.

I started by laying "Wonderboard" over top of the 3/4" plywood. I attached the Wonderboard using thinset and screws. I then laid the 12x12 tiles using the same thinset with 1/4" gouts lines.

I am pretty sure there is more than one cause. In some places the grout is worn down from when friends play tug of war with our dog on the tile......a game which has now been banned. In other areas it appears as though the grout has shrunk and pulled away from the sides of the tile....and is now loose just sitting in the line.

I am not sure if I just did a poor job on grouting as it was my first time with ceramic.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:36 PM   #4
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Evening Ed -

What kind/type of thinset did you use to install your tile?

Trowel size?

If you knock on various tiles with your knuckles, do you hear any hollow sounds or does any of the tile feel loose specifically where you're having the grout problems?

Finally, what kind/type of grout was used?

Thanks -

Jonathan
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:47 AM   #5
edwb
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The thinset used was Versabond Fortified thinset mortar, grout was polyblend sanded grout.

Trowel was 1/4 x 1/4 if i remember correctly.

There are only a couple tiles that appear to sound hollow when knocked on. These seems to be where the grout appears to be loose in the lines.

The majority of the other areas when the grout is worn away is definitely from the dogs nails.
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #6
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Morning Ed -

I have three big dogs (Dalmation, Labrador and German Shorthair Pointer) and the only flooring damage they could accomplish would be to carpet and hardwood floors. My tile floors were installed in 95' with no problems to date, so, I'd give yer' dog a bone and a scratch on the head because he/she's not your grout problem.

You may have a subfloor that doesn't meet deflection standards and through movement/deflection is causing the tile to lose it's bond and in turn, the grout to crack. If the tile remains bonded, the grout can still crack from movement in the floor. But I'll let the deflecto experts chime in on that area.

Your choice of thinset and grout was fine. I prefer to use a 3/8"x1/4" notched trowel for 12x12 and I also backbutter the tile. Using a 1/4"x1/4" trowel is probably acceptable, but without backbuttering the tile, I could see where the tile would not be seated in enough thinset to bond properly. When this tile breaks its bond, the grout will crack and crumble, and the customer/installers first thought is bad grout.

If your tile is bonded properly and the floor deflection is with in standards, I would look at how the grout was mixed and installed.

All the best -
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