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Old 12-03-2017, 11:49 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Large tile coming loose on step -- help!

Hi all,

I am writing due to issues I am having with large tile coming loose on a step. We have 18x18 tile installed in various areas in our home (built 2014). Between our laundry room and trash room there is a 1' rise, and here there is a 6" high step which is in the laundry room to transition the two areas. The step is traditionally framed, built with regular 2x6s 16" OC, and then has a layer of 3/4" advantec on it. If I had to guess the tile is adhered directly to the advantec rather than to any sort of durock. Most of the house where there is tile, there is 3/4" advantec + 1/4" durock + tile.

Anyways, unsurprisingly, the tile has come loose on the step. In addition, there was and is some looseness of the nosing, which is a regular 3/4" oak with overhang and a radius edge, which was nailed into the framing.

I realize that tiled steps are generally problematic and not advised.

I assume that extra stress/tension was placed on the tile as a result of the nosing being loose, and that this at least partially culpable for the tile coming loose.

No matter what, especially with large tile, i feel that the edge of tile will be subject to quite a bit of tension and am wondering what I can when reinstalling the tile to prevent this from happening again.

Some things I thought of were:
-Raising height of nosing slightly and reinstalling with large headed screws/wood plugs to prevent stress on tile
-reinstalling tile w 1/4 durock underneath to enhance stability of step
-possibly using construction adhesive or something more flexible as an adhesive here to account for the flex that will be present in the step.

Any advice is much appreciated. My feeling is that the stress on the tile from pressure/foot traffic on the edge of the step and tile contributed more to the tile coming loose than flex in the base, but that is just my gut feeling.
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Old 12-03-2017, 12:11 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Princeton,Tx.- Dallas area
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Hi Mike. There's nothing wrong with tiling steps, as long as it's done right. I would remove the tiles and set them aside until you're ready to stick them back down. Walking on the loose tiles can break them since they aren't supported well.

They may have left the Durock off the step to avoid making one riser higher than the other. The framing might be too weak also causing the step to flex when stepped on. Best I remember, the Advantec has a coating of wax or sealer on the surface which can make it tricky to bond directly to.

Post us a pic or two when you lift the tiles.

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