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Unread 05-31-2016, 09:17 AM   #1
andrewj
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Inject a floor the right way to address problem?

Good morning.
I have a house on the east coast of Florida. House is one year old. Over 60 of the floor tiles (installed on slab) are now hollow for some reason. 18 were replaced prior to this. The builder is offering to have someone come in and use "inject a floor" in an effort to hold the tiles down. I am not comfortable with this as it does not seem to address the problem,(although I have no idea what the problem is, nor do they) only bandaid it. My feeling is that other tiles are also going to come up over time for the same reason these are.

I am not a contractor and I cant seem to find much information on the inject a floor process or the long term results. I am hoping some of you folks can weigh in on this pro or con. What is the correct way to handle a situation like this?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Regards,
AJ
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Unread 05-31-2016, 09:23 AM   #2
Lazarus
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Sounds like a Band=Aid fix to me. If a tile floor is delaminating, the only "fix" is replacing it..............
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Unread 05-31-2016, 11:06 AM   #3
dhagin
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Welcome AJ.

Your floor has failed and needs to be replaced by someone who knows how to build and install a proper tile floor. Any other remedy is a short term fix only and is being used as a cheap alternative to installing a proper floor. Sorry.
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Unread 05-31-2016, 02:07 PM   #4
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Injecting epoxy under a tile floor works if you have a tile or two that has come loose due to poor bonding. The area should be localized, and not spread over a large part of a room.

It's a benefit to the installer, and to the contractor, for several reasons. First, when replacing the tiles, you have to be able to get replacement tiles, or be able to grind the backs of the existing tiles to reuse them. If the tile are no longer available, then grinding is the only answer, something no installer enjoys doing. Second, the installer saves a lot of time since they just have to drill a few holes in the grout and inject the epoxy, and tap it a few times with a hammer. Third, the contractor pays (typically) much less in labor costs vs. reinstalling the tile.

The first one (having enough tile to replace the loose ones) is the one that gets a lot of contractors. When the tile is gone, they don't have much choice other than to replace the entire floor.

If they're just trying to get you past the warranty stage, I would decline the offer to inject the floor. They probably know that the problem will continue, but it'll be past the year warranty so they don't have to worry about it then.
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Unread 05-31-2016, 02:26 PM   #5
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Kevin

Are you suggesting that an epoxy fix is appropriate for this project?
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Unread 05-31-2016, 03:09 PM   #6
jadnashua
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A few common reasons for delaminating tiles:
- a sealer on the slab prior to tile installation, or lots of construction overspray from say paint or drywall compound
- omission of expansion joints. Especially in sunny Florida, a larger expanse of tile must have expansion joints all around the perimeter, and often, though the tile at various intervals. Differential heating from large windows and strong sun can play havoc with tile movement relative to the substrate.
- poor coverage, letting the thinset start to cure prior to covering with tile, improper thinset for the application, high vapor pressure (hydrostatic pressure from within the slab caused by high water table and improper slab prep)

I'm sure there are more, but any one of those can cause a tiled floor to fail.

Until the reason is identified, there is no reliable fix.

How big is the area, are there lots of windows, is there a gap all around the room edge (might be underneath baseboard, but it must be open and not grouted or full of thinset)?

A picture of the back side of one of the loose tiles and the slab might help with a diagnosis.
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Last edited by jadnashua; 05-31-2016 at 04:06 PM.
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Unread 05-31-2016, 06:10 PM   #7
Bobtail2
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I think they should redo

I recently removed carpet from one of my rooms to switch to tile, and our builder had left paint & drywall compound or texture all over the floor. It was a lot of work for me to get it all cleaned up before I did any tile work and make sure that the concrete would absorb water/no sealant on it. I agree with Jim's reasons for tile failure and am guessing that the builder's workers left a mess on the floor, the tiler tiled over it, there wasn't good adhesion in those areas, and the tiles are popping up. I'd have the builder redo the whole room with proper floor prep prior to laying tiles before your warranty period expires. The other feels like a short term band aid that is going to cost you money to redo when it fails.
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Unread 05-31-2016, 07:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana
Are you suggesting that an epoxy fix is appropriate for this project?
Not at all. It's not localized to a small number of tiles, and since it appears to be the result of more than just poor bonding, I would decline that offer.

Sorry if i didn't make myself clear in that earlier post. Tool Guy is rubbing off on me.
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Unread 06-01-2016, 01:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Tool Guy is rubbing off on me.
good un
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Unread 06-01-2016, 06:16 AM   #10
andrewj
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Good morning.
Thank you all for reinforcing what I suspected. I have no intention of letting them do this. I just have to research my rights as a consumer under Florida law now and decide where to go from here. Seems to me that the contractor either used the wrong thinset, never properly prepped the areas (problem tiles are in two different bathrooms, a living room a dining room and a kitchen area), or there is a bigger problem that I have yet to discover.
This is very troubling.

Regards.
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Unread 06-01-2016, 06:20 AM   #11
jcsa
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Tenting

I get a lot of calls of the loose tiles and some floors that have tented. Tenting is when the tiles move inward and buckle causing them to rise to a peak. This is always an indication of the lack of movement joints. The tiles have not had sufficient movement joints placed every 20-25 feet, if it is a large floor and have been hard grouted to the baseboard or cabinets. A little moisture and the wood swells causing stress on the tile assembly. It is amazing when the wood expands. the pressure it puts on the tile and grout. Or it could be as others have stated, poor floor prep in removing contaminants before installing tile. Good Luck John Cox
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Unread 06-01-2016, 12:42 PM   #12
dhagin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ
I have no intention of letting them do this.
Good for you. To determine the underlying issues as to why the floor failed, we need lots more info. Photos showing the rooms, the tiles, close-up details around the walls and failures, etc... would really help.

Did you see the concrete before they started tiling? Have any photos? Remember any cracks? Was it cleaned, or ground down, or?

Do you have any idea how they installed the tile? Was it a thicker mortar bed, or over some type of membrane, or simply thinset to the slab?

How large are the areas? Any south facing rooms with larger windows? Any in-floor heating? Any indication of moisture in the grout joints, or known moisture issues with the slab?
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Unread 06-01-2016, 02:21 PM   #13
andrewj
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Hi Dana,
It was a spec house so I have no idea what the conditions are under the tile. They are 18 inch tiles and the rooms are roughly 20X30 each and the bathrooms are 12X14. There are no large windows and the blinds stay closed most of the time to keep the heat out.
When we closed on the house last year, they came in and replaced 18 tiles that were "hollow". This year there are 60 more (at last count) with a few others that have cracked but are not "hollow". At first they tried to convince me that the tiles were in fact "hollow", when I contacted his supervisor, things changed a bit. At this point all they are offering me is the inject a floor. I did not agree to it and I wont. I am not sure where this leaves me, but I am in the process of researching my rights in the state of Florida.

Regards.
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Unread 06-01-2016, 02:33 PM   #14
Lazarus
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If many of the failing tiles are in a line, it could possibly be "tenting" from lack of expansion joints...either in the field and/or at the perimeter. I have doubts that this is the case and think it was simply shoddy workmanship.

Likely is that the morter "skimmed over" and didn't bond properly to the tile. Also highly likely is that they took the lowest bid and the "installers" used the cheapest morter they could find.

Is there a tile loose enough that you could pop it up? See if the morter bonded equally to tile AND slab. I'm guessing the answer will be "No."

If any of the above applies, stand your ground, take pictures and invite them to meet you in Court.
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Unread 06-01-2016, 03:04 PM   #15
dhagin
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Here's some highlights from the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Standards.

https://www.tcnatile.com/products-an...lications.html

Movement (expansion & contraction) joints for interiors are to be placed every 20-25' in each direction. Decrease down to 8-12' if exposed to direct sunlight or moisture. Additionally, there should be a joint around the entire perimeter. These joints are typically left open around the perimeter and covered with base moulding, and within the field of tile filled with a sealant (caulking) specific for the purpose. Minimum widths of movement joints are generally preferred to be 1/4", but never less than 1/8".

This may be part of the problem, but there certainly may be others too. Lots of possible contributing factors, and only a thorough investigation will find them. Document everything, take photos, take notes of what you were told & offered, what repairs were done and when, who told you what, etc...
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