Tiles coming loose on recent bath remodel Need advice [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Tiles coming loose on recent bath remodel Need advice

07-21-2016, 10:30 AM
I had finished this bathroom remodel around Xmas
The particulars:

Florida tile 6x24 plank look tiles

Warm tiles cable sytem embedded in Henry 565 leveler from Lowes

tiles set in Tec 390 Fullflex from local tile supplier

Tec Accucolor grout

About 200 sq. ft of floor

~ 80% of tiles are loose

I pulled up a loose tile and saw what you see in the attached pics.

looks like there is a white "efflorescence" on the tiles that has transferred to the thinset

most of the good (not loose)tiles seem to be on the perimeter meaning they were cut and perhaps this white "stuff" was washed when I cut and wiped them.

Has anyone seen or experienced this?

any suggestions for how to proceed with the repair?

I was looking at Ardex CA20P repair adhesive

My tile supplier has recently started supplying Ardex thinset in place of Tec so I could order the CA20 if it is what is needed.

Anyone think that it is the tile and that they should stand up and make it right?

Or is that just a pipe dream???

Thanx in advance for your time and expertise on this PITA


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Premier Designs
07-21-2016, 10:47 AM
Hello Tony, without seeing more ... looks like your mortar was too dry, and you didn't butter your tile, especially with these large tiles today that needs to be done to facilitate bond.

07-21-2016, 10:49 AM
Not an expert - but curious. Does that white colored stuff just wipe off with rag? What is it (powder, dried thinset, etc.)?

Did you install these yourself? If so, do you have any more - where you could check the unused tiles see if that white substance is on the unused tiles, or if it came from the thinset or install process.

Generally it is advised when large format tiles are set, to back-butter the tiles (apply thinset to the back of the tile with the straight edge of trowel) then apply thinset as normal to the floor with notched side before setting tile.

If you did this job yourself, how much (how big of area) thinset was applied to the floor at the same time. Could thinset have skimmed over (dried) before you finished setting all the tiles?

07-21-2016, 12:21 PM
Hi Tony from your neighbor north on rt390. :wave:
From the pics it does look like the thinset skimmed over. What size trowel size did you use?
And as Dan said,no skim or burning of the thinset on the back of the tile. Really need to do that with plank tile.

07-21-2016, 01:08 PM
The only thing I might add would be, how long did you wait before turning on the floor heat after it was installed? Some manufacturers have a set amount of time to you need to wait after installation to allow for proper cure. But everyone else has pointed out the obvious installation hiccup.

07-21-2016, 04:55 PM
There's usually a bit of kiln dust on the back of those tile. Skimming the back of the tile with thinset mortar immediately before setting it is typically enough to overcome that problem.

But I agree with the others that there simply wasn't any bond between the thinset mortar and the tile. Whether or not it was the kiln dust, lack of skimming the tile backs, skinned-over thinset, or some combination of those three, the only remedy is to remove and replace them.

07-21-2016, 04:58 PM
most of the good (not loose)tiles seem to be on the perimeter meaning they were cut and perhaps this white "stuff" was washed when I cut and wiped them.
Probably what occurred is that the water you didnt wipe off the tile partially reactivated the skimmed over thinset. Still not the greatest bond but better than the rest. Just a guess.

07-22-2016, 05:34 AM
thanks for the info
Now how do I proceed with the fix?

Is the thinset a reliable base to reapply the tiles?

What about the Ardex CA20http://www.ardexamericas.com/en-us/Products/tilestone/Pages/CA-20-P.aspx

or is that going to be an expensive mess?

Or should I resign my self to pulling it all up and redoing it?

If it is not clear, I am a remodeler and this job is for a customer, so it needs to be fixed right.(not that you guys would suggest otherwise)

Again, Thanx a bunch!

07-22-2016, 05:51 AM
First things first, you did this job for a client? You charged money?
Yet you didn't know what trowel size to use, didn't know that you needed to back butter the tiles, and are at a loss of why they are coming up.
I'm trying to be nice here, but do you carry insurance? Do you have a licence?
Would you try brain surgery if a client requested it?

Tear it out .
Hire a pro

Sorry if this is mean. I'm just tired of this situation

07-22-2016, 05:56 AM
Ask yourself this....how many times do you want to come back and fix loose tile and cracking grout?

Or bite the bullet and take it up now. Remember it's going to be just as much of a pita to the homeowner to call you back for loose tile.

I think you would look better to the homeowner by saying" look,we had some bonding issues and we want to make sure there will be no problems down the road. We are going to redo it"

You can probably save most of the tile.

Just my 2 cents.

And what Cain said if you are way over your head at setting tile.

07-22-2016, 06:27 AM
Perhaps I missed this, but was the floor assessed to see if it is even acceptable for tile? probably not why the tiles are coming up; but if starting back at step one....

Karls tile Inc
08-02-2016, 05:21 PM
Its a combination of not back buttering the tile and excess kiln release. Also the thinest may have skinned over.
The tile backs need to be pressure cleaned prior to installation.

08-02-2016, 07:14 PM
If you've got 80% loose tiles, there's really no other answer than to replace it all.

And I'd remove any mortar that stuck to the floor.