Re-appearing cracked tile [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-13-2017, 11:45 AM
Hi All,

It's been a while since I have been on here. I have seen many threads about cracked tile but no idea how to sort through. So to beat this further to death: I have a new house, on a slab, that had a warranty repair done on a cracked tile. A slab crack translated through the tile, and a guy came and replaced the tile in October. Yesterday the new tile cracked in the same way, along with the tile next to it.

The builder is coming out to look at it and hopefully they will stand behind the repair. What should I expect the repair man to do in replacing this tile? I have a pichure (I hope) showing the area after the cracked tile was removed.

Any thoughts appreciated.

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Houston Remodeler
01-13-2017, 03:02 PM
Replacing the tiles over and over will get you the same results over and over.

Many more tiles come out, enough to install a crack isolation membrane (of your choice) then the tiles are re-installed. This is easier to type than to do.

01-13-2017, 06:30 PM
Maybe a bit more info first! What is the tile butted up against there, if it is butted up against something?

At any change of plane, there MUST be an expansion accommodation. That can be a caulked joint, or you can leave a gap (not a good choice there, I think), or you can use an engineered expansion joint. If they grouted the tile in the room tight to the walls, you can expect further problems. They're more likely to happen in the summer when the hot sun is streaming in, heating up an area (that expands, and can't go anywhere because of no expansion accommodation), but can happen anytime. A cold slab in the winter with sun coming in can be as bad as in the summer, too. Something like this could work where the edges of the tile can't be hidden with a gap underneath say baseboard (in stainless), or with various colors in PVC. It looks like there may also be a crack in the slab...that requires a different technique - the addition of a crack isolation membrane underneath it. But, to work properly, it must extend out from the crack quite a install one, you'd have to break out more tile to allow the crack isolation membrane to span the required distance. So, you might have a combination of more than one issue that will now, and maybe continue into the future, if it is not addressed properly now.

01-14-2017, 08:06 PM
The tile in that area is right against a slider that opens into a lanai. The sun does not hit that area but the slab is cracked at that point. Zooming in on the picher will show it.

Anyway the builder rep said they will cover it and will be sending out a tradesman to deal with it. He also told me that they only use isolation membrane on the control joints.

I have several tiles left from the warranty supply that the builder supplied. When the repairman comes I will see how many I can get him to replace and use the isolation material.

Thanks for your responses, this forum has helped me in more ways than I can possibly say;)

01-14-2017, 08:40 PM
Depending on the one you select, a crack isolation membrane often needs around 2' width across a crack...placing it only under one tile will probably not help nor will butting the tile up against the doorframe. If the crack isolation membrane does not extend far enough, it won't do anything.

01-28-2017, 08:24 PM
OK A guy will be here on 2/3 to work on the floor. I will ask him what the plan is before he starts chipping out the tile. If he just plans to replace the two tiles we may just have to send him away and hire a seasoned pro if I can find one here in the Sarasota area. No need to risk justified complaints from DW. :rolleyes:

Todd Groettum
01-29-2017, 07:44 AM
Since you are in New jersey is this a radiant heat slab???

Also, your General contractor if he is worth a pinch of salt Knows concrete will shrink up to 1/2" for each 100' of run...

I do not want to assume but am guessing this is fairly new construction...Town home /Condo??

01-29-2017, 11:42 AM
In the past I have successfully replaced single tiles like you have and used an crack isolation membrane under just those tiles being replaced. Like the others said, usually we will paint over the crack making the width a total of 3ft or more but of course you would have to replace many more tiles to do that. I would paint a couple coats of Redgard or other membrane making sure you get it thick enough, let it dry and stick the tiles with a good thinset. Like Jim said, I would caulk against the door.

01-29-2017, 12:52 PM
I have a new house, on a slab, that had a warranty repair done on a cracked tile.

02-03-2017, 08:48 PM
As promised the guy showed up today and removed the two tiles and the thinset. He cleaned right down to the cracked slab. I asked about the isolation membrane and he said he had it in the truck.

What he brought in was a roll of 5" Kerdi membrane. He said that it will do the job. So he embedded it into some thinset covering the crack. He then laid the two tiles and grouted them.

I may get a lot of commentary on this or not. But I did not pay for this so I really had no vote on the repair. The last "repair" lasted 4 months. The guy was evasive about a guarantee....

I am thinking about ordering a case of tile just in case I have to bring somebody in myself.:shake:

02-03-2017, 09:22 PM
Ken, that's not a fix. Putting a little Kerdi, which is not even listed as a crack isolation membrane by its manufacturer, over the cracks under a single tile or partial tile is not even equivalent to putting lipstick on a pig.

To actually function as a crack isolation membrane, a material, which is certified as meeting the requirements of ANSI A118.12, must be installed in an area covering a minimum of three tile widths centered over the crack. Here's a PDF for NobleSeal CIS ( ions_ENG_0310.pdf&usg=AFQjCNF3P4l2MVWq886TeIw7gh_R5Q8Oww&cad=rja), a well respected manufacturer of tile installation products. Note the drawings near the bottom.The guy was evasive about a guarantee....No surprise there.

You've got a failed floor and the product installed to allegedly fix the problem was not made for that purpose, is not advertised for that purpose by the manufacturer for that application, was not installed per any manufacturer's recommendation nor any ceramic tile industry standard. You been had again. I recommend you take a lot of photos - hopefully you took some of this "repair" - write a lot of documentation and send a complaint to your builder. At least.

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-04-2017, 03:25 PM
I'd go ahead and order that box of tile for future repairs. I think you'll need them.

02-06-2017, 04:29 PM
I am working on a letter. In the meantime I am not clear on isolation membranes. Should it not have been painted on the entire tiled area? I get different stories and I think I'm hearing a lot of "alternative facts" talking to ppl in the area, e.g. the warranty guy and the construction super.:wtf:


02-06-2017, 05:18 PM
Someone once told me that there are two types of concrete slabs...those that have cracked, and those that will crack later. So, if you believe that, the entire surface would be better off with some sort of crack isolation on it.

But, on older installations, where there are cracks evident (or, I suppose new ones, too), to protect the tiled installation from the obvious, current ones, whatever you install must be done correctly. In general (you'd have to read the specifics of the one you end up using), you cannot just cover the small area around the crack, you must extend the crack isolation membrane material (whether painted on or sheet) a considerable additional distance beyond the crack. If your surface has numerous cracks, you might need to cover the whole thing for what's showing today, and if you were prudent, you might seriously consider extending it to the entire surface, but the slab MIGHT have finished cracking, and some would consider that an expense verses looking at it as insurance for future issues. How lucky are you feeling today?

02-06-2017, 05:43 PM
Ken, to qualify as a crack isolation membrane the product must have been tested to meet the requirements of ANSI A118.12. If it doesn't meet that, it is not a crack isolation membrane.

Schluter does not advertise their Kerdi membrane as anything but a direct bonded waterproofing membrane meeting ANSI A118.10. While it might provide some crack isolation protection in some applications, the manufacturer does not advertise it for use in that manner nor do they publish any crack isolation test data they might have for it. It is simply not a correct material to use even if your installer had used it correctly, which he certainly did not.

There are two methods recognized for the use of such A118.12 membranes. One is to cover the entire substrate under the tile installation, the other is to use it to isolate particular cracks or joints. If you'll look at the link I posted in post #12 you'll see how one very reputable manufacturer specifies the second methods.

As Jim points out, the membrane must be installed per the manufacturer's instructions. Period. There is no room for discussion there. No "alternative facts" apply.

Has your new tile or grout cracked yet? :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

02-06-2017, 09:13 PM
Thanks guys. And CX, yes I looked at that pdf. So here is what I am listening to: warranty guy says they only coat this material along the control joints. Builder super thought they coated the whole slab. That is what I meant about "alternative facts", probably referred by you guys over a cup of coffee as BS. I think if it fails again they will just give me another crappy job.

So, here we have new construction in S. Florida with almost 2000 sf of tile on a slab. I will write the letter but with little expectation.

I will change my question to "How can I identify a journeyman tile setter in my area?" I'm guessing the first thing is a small shop that has been in business for a long time but that isn't enough.

I would rather pay for a good repair than have a poor one done for free..and though I have put down a lot of tile with your help I have not the skill (nor energy at my age) to tackle this repair!


02-06-2017, 10:00 PM
While not very widespread, there are agencies that run classes and actually keep track of people that pass and have shown industry standard skill levels with tiling. There are a few states that also have an exam for people to indicate that they are a decent tile installer. Unfortunately, we seem to have lost the prestige and pride that a truly skilled craftsman abides by for many construction skills in the USA. There are people that are highly qualified, but there are a huge number of people that grew up in the Walmart mentality that cheap is good, and who cares about longevity or high quality! Faster and cheaper is the primary mantra. To some people, quality is important, but unfortunately, many people have not been exposed to it or think it is unattainable.

Places like this help to build knowledge of what is a quality result. Now, if enough embraced it, the market for it might thrive. The good ones are hard to find, and if you do, they're busy, so you may have to wait!