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Larry Hopper
01-29-2003, 06:11 AM
During a recent cold snap, I had to be out of town for 3 days so I turned my thermostat to about 48 deg. Upon returning home I found that the 8x8 ceramic tile in my den had buckled in one area in an inverted V about one inch high, two tiles wide and four tiles long. No tiles were broken. The tiles are laid on a 6 inch reinforced concrete slab over a basement. Neither the den or the basement dropped below freezing. This is the first problem with this floor since the house was built 15 years ago. Over the years, the house has been cold before with no problems. Any information you can provide on what caused this buckling would be appreciated. How should I proceed with a repair?

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01-29-2003, 06:56 AM
Hi Larry,You will need to saw through the grout lines.A 4" grinder with a diamond blade works well for this.It will raise some dust so have someone have a shop vac running and hold it behid the blade as you saw. Saw through each individual grout line.If The Morter sheared underneath(which is what it sounds like,They should pop right out. You would then clean any old thinset off the backs of the tiles and off the floor.If you do not get them clean,they will end up sitting higher than the rest of the tile.Clean the old grout off the sides of the tiles also. restet with modified thinset and grout 24 hours later.You may find when you do this that more tile have loosened than just those few.
To avoid this again, Saw through a gout line every 16 feet and remove the grout.Fill these lines with a sanded caulking that matches your grout.(we call this a soft joint and or an expansion joint. Good Luck!!

John Bridge
01-29-2003, 07:22 PM
Hi Larry, Welcome. :)

Can't add anything to what Todd has said. It happens, especially over a concrete slab. Difference in coefficients of friction between the tile and the concrete. It's called "tenting."