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Unread 08-29-2003, 04:23 PM   #1
SusieQ
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Angry Exploding ceramic tiles

I need help???????? I have had tiles on my concrete slab for 6 years now and my tiles are lifting and exploding. When I lifted a few of the tiles there was no glue on the backs of the tiles. Why and how is this happening??????? How can I prevent more tiles from exploding???? I actually heard the popping and snapping of the tiles.......Is this improper installation and is there any literature on this?????
Any and all help would be appreciated..
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Unread 08-29-2003, 04:47 PM   #2
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Your floor is buckling from excessive movement. The fact that there isnt any thinset on the backs means that was the weakest bond area as opposed to the slab being clean and the tiles having thinset on them. The fact that you hear them popping I wouldnt stone your installer just yet.

Do you live on the water? Has your AC crapped out and caused a severe temperature swing inside the home?TCA reccomends I believe expansion joints every 16 ft on interior installations. I dont know anyone who does that and I havent done it my self.
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Unread 08-29-2003, 04:59 PM   #3
John Bridge
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Hi Susie Q. Welcome aboard. My wife and I are trying to remember when that song came out and who did it?

You have what it called "tenting." It means that the slab has contracted further than the tile installation can absorb. The Tile Council specifies movement joints all the way around the perimeter of the floor and every 25 to 30 feet in the middle of the installation. Whether this would have prevented the problem you're having is uncertain.

I'm afraid there is only a short-term remedy for the problem. Remove all the tiles that are loose and re-install them using a better quality thin set than was used originally. All tile installers have their favorite brands. A movement joint needs to be provided (sanded caulking) between the repair and the remaining floor area, or other areas will delaminate in short order. And other areas may delaminate anyway. There is really no way to predict it.

I install tiles directly to concrete slabs all the time, but I always make my customers aware of the hazards. It's just not the best thing to do, but sometimes it's the only way it can be done.
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Unread 08-29-2003, 05:22 PM   #4
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You might find that you will have to trim a row of tiles by a 1/4 of an inch to get them to fit back in.
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Unread 08-29-2003, 07:10 PM   #5
OnAMission
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John ... if I have a 21 ft run of tile (installed directely on a concrete slab) connected to another 9 feet around a corner that has no flexible joints anywhere ... do I need to 'fix' that?

There are no expansion joints at the perimeters ... tiles are grouted up to the baseboards. The house was started last September and apparently completed by the end of November ... was vacant until May ... and there are no signs of cracked grout or tile yet. However, there are no extra tiles here if I ever need to replace any ... and the builder doesn't have a record of the tile delivery that identifies the tile. It will be a real challenge to replace any damaged tiles at a later date.

Cathy
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Unread 08-29-2003, 10:40 PM   #6
Maurizio Bertoli
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Hi, SusieQ!
You finally found this here forum!
For everybody's information, SusieQ and I are good buddies from quite a while! And, let me tell ya, she's sumthin' all right!
Now, girl, let me tell you: you're a regular 4th of July! (No pun intended, with the tiles explosion 'n' all! )
Where on earth do you find all them "unique" problems? Do you have a secret that you would care to share with the rest of us?
Or do them "unique" problems find you!
Now that you found this place, don't be a stranger!
Ciao and good luck,
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Unread 08-30-2003, 05:32 AM   #7
jjwq8
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SUSIE Q

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Unread 08-30-2003, 06:53 AM   #8
tileguytodd
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Welcome aboard Susie Q!
Cathy, you could cut in an expansion joint if you are concerned and fill with a matching sanded caulk.A 4" Grinder with a diamond blade, a shop vac 2 people wearing safety glasses and a pail of water with a sponge will get the job done.It wouldnt hurt to have a crew to do a little dusting when your through though
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Unread 08-30-2003, 08:15 AM   #9
SusieQ
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Exploding Tiles

I am back again..... Sorry, for the after thought>>>>>>>>>

John....All the talk about expansion joints and such, why does no one do it i.e. Rock polisher???? Don't mean to use you as an example but if this is such an important procedure why isn't anyone doing it. The area throughout my house for the tile covers about 860 sq ft. and I would have thought this would have been done.
I am just a homeowner who has no experience in these matters except like Bertoli said always seem to be in trouble.

Thanks again.
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Unread 08-30-2003, 08:37 AM   #10
Steven Hauser
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Hi SusieQ ,

Sorry for the trouble but people do put the soft joints in the floor.

The people on this website are probably some of the best in the world. Unfortunately they represent a small minority of knowledgeable trades people.

In a you get what you pay for world the good thing is that the solution is not terribly painful to do. It is dirty but does solve the problem.

With all the rain we have had on the east coast this year it certainly is viable that moisture under the slab is the culprit.

Your unfortunate situation is one of my pet causes and I wish you well.


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Unread 08-30-2003, 11:26 AM   #11
John Bridge
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Cathy,

If you only need to make a short movement joint, I wouldn't use the grinder. Use a manual grout saw instead. Notice Todd advises to find someone to do the dusting? Dust goes through the entire house when you use a grinder.

I would do whatever it takes to get some extra tiles right now. They are most likely still available.

Susie,

With that large of a tiled area you should have several soft joints added. The best places are where the installation goes through doorways and in narrow halls, etc. It is seldom necessary to run a soft joint through the middle of a room.

If you can post a drawing of the tile installation, we can advise where the joints should be located. You may still have additional problems, but the effort should be made.

As to the perimeter, on the expensive custom homes I work on the baseboards are never installed until the flooring is in. The installation can then move freely underneath.

What's done is done. Get the other joints cut in, though.
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Unread 08-30-2003, 12:25 PM   #12
OnAMission
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Bridge

...
Notice Todd advises to find someone to do the dusting? Dust goes through the entire house when you use a grinder.

I would do whatever it takes to get some extra tiles right now. They are most likely still available.
Do the kids count as the 'crew' to do the dusting??? (Thank you Todd!) Isn't this where you tape that plastic up in the doorways and plug off the vents??? We removed a tile floor once in a previous lifetime ... it was NOT fun ... and the dust WAS absolutely horrible!

I'm getting the phone book out ... but the names that were dropped as potential sources of our tile were 'Master Tile' and 'American Tile' ... ring a bell with you? Would they have a showroom I can go to and try to track my tile down even if they wouldn't sell directly to me? I can push a little harder with the builder ... may have to track down the original construction superintendent (they're on the 4th one since last September) to find out WHO they actually purchased the tile from ... since the records seem to be non-existent.

Cathy
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Unread 08-30-2003, 04:18 PM   #13
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Have you checked up in the attic? There may be a partial box up there. It would help if we know the name of the tile and the manufacturer. Houston is the main import point for tile in North America. We have beaucoup distributors here. Master Tile and American Tile are two of my providers. Yes, they have showrooms that you are welcome in. Master Tile in on 43rd between Old Hempstead Hwy and 290. 713-688-2271.

American Tile is on the corner of Old Hempstead and Pinemont. 713- 939-1077.

If you find what you need, I'll order it for you and you can pick it up. We have to buy full boxes.
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Unread 08-30-2003, 04:45 PM   #14
OnAMission
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Thanks John ... I'll check the showrooms out.

There are a few tiles in the attic that look very similar to what is on the floor ... but when you look a little closer ... they are NOT the same tile. There are actually two kinds up there ... and neither of them match what is on the floors.

Cathy
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Unread 08-30-2003, 11:06 PM   #15
DaveinDallas
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Hey SusieQ - I had the same problem happen to me. About 6 of my kitchen tiles popped up one December after a week of 80 degree weather followed by a 50 degree temp drop one day. The tiles literally exploded. I solved my problem by completely removing all the kitchen tiles & thinset (very difficult job) and putting hardwwod flooring on my concrete slab. I just didn't trust my slab to hold tiles anymore. I noticed several hairline cracks in the slab once it was cleaned. I think a combination of a weak slab with the extreem temperture drop was my problem.
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