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Old 02-20-2012, 12:21 AM   #1
mcu
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Just ripped out a newly installed floor because of a defect in tiles and need advice!

Hi,

We had a 24x24 tile installed by a pro, and even though our floor was really off (as much as 3/4") the installer did a good job with 1/16" grout lines and a very level finish. We have had to rip off the tiles due to a defect in the tiles and the tile store is replacing the tiles with new ones. The installer is an old school italian installer, so he installed it the way they do it in italy using spots of glue. After removing all the tiles, the floor looks like the pic attached. There is an existing tile which is scratchcoated before starting to lay the new one and a sandcoat underneath. The extra weight concerns me a little, but a few people told me it's fine.

The installer's plan was to fill all the voids with a mix of sand/concrete and then just trowel install since it's all level already. Does this sound right and solid? Is there anyway/tool that I can rent to sand 1/8 or 1/4" off the existing, dried thinset in order to bring the new finished tile at the same height as the old tile?

The new tile we are installing is also a 24x24" porcelaine tile, but a matte finish that the company tells me once installed, before grouting, I need to clean with with a acid based cleaner and seal. Then once grouted I can seal the grout. Does this make sense and should it worry me that I need to seal it and will I have to do it every couple years? Should I be looking for another tile?

Thanks
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:51 AM   #2
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I'm sure a pro will be by here soon, but in the mean time:

-What is the subfloor like? And is it supported well? Those are really large tiles and need a sturdy subfloor for sure. Check the "deflecto" in the menu above.

- I'm no expert, but that doesn't look like a good way to install tiles.

- If it were me I'd prefer to get all the old thinset/glue(?) off the floor. Either tear up the subfloor or spend a lot of time making a big mess with a large floor grinder.

But what do I know
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:45 AM   #3
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Matt, I think you got lucky that your tile had to be replaced at the store's expense. The way they were installed would have lead to failure due to adequate support. I agree that the remaining thinset should be removed. Looking at the blobs in the last picture, I doubt they are well adhered to the floor.

Quote:
There is an existing tile which is scratchcoated before starting to lay the new one and a sandcoat underneath.
I have no idea what this means.

It sounds like you are contemplating an un-glazed porcelain tile. If resealing the tile on a routine basis does not appeal to you, find another tile. Procelain should not require sealing, and if you use a epoxy grout, it won't either.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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You can get away with spot setting tiles on walls but floors need excellent coverage, 95% or better. We like to see 100%. Watch this video to get the idea.

Aside from new tile, you need a new tile installer. He may be an old tile guy, but he cut some corners on this install. With hard porcelain tiles, back burning would have secured the tiles to the thinset and not made the grid pattern you see.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:04 AM   #5
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By scratchcoat i mean he backbuttered/glazed the entire floor (old tile) with a mix of Kerabond and Keraply after cleaning the entore surface first. A day or two later he started installing his new tile (spots). In some areas where there were low spots he used a mix of sand/cement mixed with keraply and then thinset. It all seems solidly bonded to the subfloor. Do you still think it would be unsuitable to re-install over? He was going to refill all the empty between spots now with a mix of sand/cement mixed with cement glue or keraply, which will allow for the new tile to have 100% coverage, but if you think it will fail, then I guess i have a lot more problems. The tile store saw the install and said it was fine, but now I am wondering.

Regarding the backbuttering on the new 24x24 tile, he did not do this and maybe this is why they all came off with a prybar in whole pieces.

This is already causing my family very big issues as we were suppose to be moved into our new house on Feb 1st and we are now living in a small part of the basement which is unfinished and with no kitchen and half working bathroom, so looking to get this done as fast and easily as possible and obviously we would like an install that lasts. Maybe I should look into redoing it myself
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:10 AM   #6
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This is going from bad to worse, installing over existing tile is generally avoided.

How is the floor constructed underneath (so you can double check the deflecto before the re-install).

There's lots of help here to do it yourself, but large tiles and small grout lines is not the easiest thing to do.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:35 AM   #7
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I checked the deflecto a month or so ago and seemed to be fine as my joists are 2x10 at 12".

Yes the small grout lines is what I want and scaring me off a lot from doing myself
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt
I checked the deflecto a month or so ago and seemed to be fine as my joists are 2x10 at 12".
That's not enough information to evaluate your joist structure. You also need to know the unsupported span of the joists.

The actual industry standard for setting such floor tiles in an interior application is that you have a minimum of 80 percent coverage on the back of each tile with good coverage on all corners and edges.

Your installer seemed to get the edges and corners fairly well, but he's far short of the minimum coverage requirement.

The industry also recommends "keying in" mortar on the back of each tile when installing such large format tiles. Another thing he failed to do.

I agree with Injineer Bob that it's a good thing you needed to replace this floor at someone else's expense before you needed to replace it on your own dime.

I'd recommend you require the floor be brought back to its original condition and then new tiles be installed per tile industry standards - at least.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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I still don't understand why the tiles were defective. The sizes were irregular, and that's why they were 3/4" off?

What was the "glue" used to set the tiles? I hate to say it, but with such small dots, it almost looks like a caulking gun was used. Can we see a picture of the backs of the tiles? From the way the floor looks, I would think that hardly any of the "glue" stuck to the backs of the tiles. The tiles shouldn't have been that easy to pull up, and that would have been another red flag.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:31 AM   #10
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The spots were definately not done with a caulking gun. They are from 5"- 8" in diameter depending on tile. The company is covering the tile and not the install job. It was a polished 24x24 tile and the tiles had a very easy to scratch surface (it looked like an ice rink with skate scratches everywhere) and was full of scratches/dullness under the shiny glaze. We wanted to go with another shiny tile because loved the look, but after this tile we are very scared on scratches having 4 kids and a lot of sunlight in the home. This is why we were leaning more towards a matte tile, but I hope other problems don't arise from that.

I am sure many of those scratches are the fault of the installer's tools or being careless, but I and the tile store agree the tile surface should not scratch that easy and this is why they are agreeing to replace the tile with a new one.

I was thinking since the place is levelled now, install would be much easier, but now if i have to remove it all, then that is a big problem.

Marble and granite medium bed by Custom building products was used and in a small seperate closet where the subfloor was double layer of plywood, I found the medium bed did not adhere well to the plywood or tile even though some of it was spots and other with trowel. Do you guys have any issues with this product?
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:33 AM   #11
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We have generally good reports on CBP's Marble & Granite.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:40 AM   #12
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CX, My lowest deflection is L/463 because of a 14' span (this is where there is the most glue/cement though) and L/750+ in other (most) areas.
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear about your troubles.

Most mortar benefits greatly in terms of bond strength from the intimate contact afforded to it when it's keyed onto a surface that it will be bonding to.

You saw how easy it was to pry up those tiles in full pieces. The tile was only pushed down onto the blobs. The lack of keying the mortar onto the tile made for a weak bond between the blobs and tiles. Now, while those blobs may be adhered a bit better to your cement board (as cement board is easier to bond to), it may be a weak bond, nonetheless. Consider how painfully obvious the weak bond was between the blobs and the plywood...and ask yourself if you want that weak link under the remainder of your brand new home's expensive tile job.

Do you really want to keep those blobs? The answer from the pros on this forum is, "No".

It's your house and your money. You have to decide what's best. I will say this, though. Even though you aren't able to move into the house properly, this is no time to take shortcuts.

If the tile is obviously defective because it scratches far too easily, I'd push for more than just replacement tile. Was the installer supplied by the retailer or did you hire the installer completely on your own?


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Old 02-20-2012, 11:11 AM   #14
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First, listen to these guys. Grind off those blobs and find someone who knows how to get better coverage. Big tiles like the ones you prefer need a nice solid and consistent foundation, not random bits of this and that with a few air voids thrown in.

Second, not all glazed porcelain is going to be like the tile you just removed. I can scrape mine with a metal putty knife and the marks wash right off. It takes a direct hit with a carbide scraper to scratch them. You can have shiny if you want it. You just need a better quality tile with a better quality glaze. I don't know if I'd put a light colored shiny tile in a high traffic area, but that's just me.

Bob, do you need to seal even unglazed porcelain? I thought it wouldn't absorb the sealer so there's no point. At least that was true of the matte porcelain I used in my mosaic. You could soak it for days and it wouldn't get wet beyond the surface.
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:38 PM   #15
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I tried sanding with a grinder and 16 grit paper and did not come off very easily. I also tried chiseling and would not come loose. Is this a good thing? How do you suggest I remove them and if they are solid enough and fill the voids with something else to make the subfloor 100% filled, then backbutter the tile and trowel install, am I still not good?
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