Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

Welcome to John Bridge / Tile Your World, the friendliest DIY Forum on the Internet


Advertiser Directory
JohnBridge.com Home
Buy John Bridge's Books

Go Back   Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile > Tile & Stone Forums > Tile Forum/Advice Board

Sponsors


Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Unread 04-17-2008, 01:05 PM   #1
HA1311
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6
Need help with cracked tile and grout mystery

Hi there. I'm new here and very inexperienced with all of this, so please forgive me if I do something wrong. I am trying to discover the source of a problem with my kitchen tile. After a bit of research, here is what I came up with: We have about 400 sq. ft. of 12 inch porcelain tile in our kitchen and dining area. The home is four years old and was constructed with TJI Pro 130 Joists (2 5/16 wide by 11 7/8ths tall) 16 oc with 3/4" OSB on top. 1/2 inch Durock was then set in thinset and well screwed with the joints taped and covered with thinset. The thinset was mixed from a powder on site (not premixed).

After a couple of years, we began to notice a few of the tiles making a popping noise (not good) when stepped on. This only occurred during the humid summer. Eventually we began to notice cracked and crumbling grout in high traffic areas and hairline cracks in a few of the tiles.

We also have a master bath on the second floor with the same tile, set in the same thinset. It is perfect to this day (no cracks or grout problems). The only differences in the bath install were the brand of grout used and the installer. The kitchen grout was from Home Depot (not sure of the brand) and the bathroom grout was from Lowes (Mapei I believe). The kitchen tile was installed by my father-in-law. The bathroom tile by my husband. While he is no tile expert, my father-in-law is a general contractor and has installed thousands of sq. ft. of tile over the last 40 years (mostly in his own homes, with no problems over many years of use). My husband is most definitely a novice, but has done several small tile jobs.

Adding to my confusion, I dug the grout out around one of the problem tiles yesterday and easily popped it up (with a butter knife no less). There was almost no sign of thinset on the back of the tile and the thinset on the floor looked nearly undisturbed. I've only done the one tile so far, but I'm a bit worried that the tiles weren't pushed down into the thinset properly (which is hard to believe given my father-in-law's experience with tile). Of course I know next to nothing about tiling myself (except what I have learned reading this forum - thanks). Shouldn't there be a decent amount of thinset attached to the tile? I can't recall if the tiles in the kitchen were set the same day as the bathroom or not. It is very possible they were different batches of thinset, though the same brand.

We know the grout needs to be replaced and the cracked tiles. What I'm fearful of is that once we start digging out the grout, we will discover that most or all of the tiles are loose. Even if they are not, I'm afraid we will knock them loose trying to clean the old thinset off of the Durock.

So, my first concern is making sure that the joists and subfloor are adequate for the tile, and are not the cause of the problems. Any thoughts? If they are fine, then I am wondering if anyone has a guess as to the real cause of the cracks. I'm also open to suggestions on what to do. More and more I am realizing that we are probably looking at tearing it all out, but I'm not looking forward to explaining that to my husband (he was hoping to just regrout). Any suggestions on removing thinset from Durock without too much damage?

Basically, any advice you can give me would be amazingly helpful. Thanks in advance!

Amy
HA1311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Unread 04-17-2008, 01:25 PM   #2
HA1311
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6
Okay, just read the post from B Parker a few threads down about using the right thinset for porcelain tile. I'm wondering if this could be at least part of my problem. Any thoughts?

Still, I wonder why the bathroom tile upstairs is fine.

Amy
HA1311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-17-2008, 01:30 PM   #3
Jeff from CT
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 26
How far is the total unsupported span on your joists?
__________________
Jeff
Jeff from CT is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-17-2008, 01:31 PM   #4
HA1311
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6
Sorry about that. It is 15 feet at the longest point.

Thanks!

Amy
HA1311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-17-2008, 01:38 PM   #5
Jeff from CT
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 26
Looking at the chart on pafe 4 on http://www.ilevel.com/literature/TJ-4000.pdf , it shows TJI110's to have support for L360 (minimum for ceramic tile) @ 17' 3" for 40/20 live/dead. For L480, you're max distance for 40/20 live/dead load is 15'3". I couldnt find the TJI 130's on the webite.

Give it some time and someone with more epxperience will pop over and speak with more knowledge. Is the floor even w/o dips? Check on top and below to see if its level (given the age of the house, you may some settling.
__________________
Jeff
Jeff from CT is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-17-2008, 02:16 PM   #6
Scottish Tile and Stone
Ohio Tile Contractor.. Hydroban shower specialist
 
Scottish Tile and Stone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Painesville Ohio
Posts: 5,107
Im not liking the OSB for a subfloor.. OSB on the second floor also? Same thickness? Did they screw the CBU into the floor joists in the kitchen area? The tile you popped up easily, is it a cut tile or a full tile? If a cut, he might not of cleaned all the water off before setting it, or it may of had dust on the back, and thats why there isnt a bond from tile to thinset.
__________________
Scott.

www.scottishtileandstone.com
Laticrete hydroban showers
Mud set stone.

ditra kerdi stone showers waterproof mudset stone backsplashes glass tiles,laticrete, hydroban,ohio,cleveland,painesville,backsplashes,
Scottish Tile and Stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-17-2008, 02:40 PM   #7
HA1311
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6
I'll try to answer your questions the best I can with my limited knowledge. The floor appears very level (using a four foot level) and doesn't have problems with dips.

I just checked and the "OSB" is AdvanTech flooring from Huber - http://huberwood.com/main.aspx?pagen...antechflooring. I don't know anything about the stuff, or whether it is suitable for tile.

I don't know if the CBU was screwed to the joists, but I know it was done exactly according to the Durock instructions (every 6 or 8 inches or something like that). I remember it took forever and a ton of screws.

The tile I popped up was not a cut tile. I'm also pretty sure their wasn't any back buttering of the tiles, so if adhesion is a problem with porcelain, we may be in trouble.

As far as I know, the bathroom framing, CBU, etc. was the same as the kitchen. It's possible my husband may have been a bit more aggressive in pushing the tiles down up in the bathroom. I also believe this may have been my father-in-law's first time laying porcelain tile (as opposed to ceramic). I could be wrong though.

Let me know what else I can do to help.
HA1311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-17-2008, 09:04 PM   #8
HA1311
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6
Hi again. Just came back to say that I popped up another of the bad tiles and found the same thing. Very little of the thinset was attached to the back of the tile, and I had no trouble getting the tile up.

I will try popping out a tile from a different part of the room tomorrow to see if it yields the same results.

Amy
HA1311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2008, 08:05 AM   #9
esobocinski
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 139
Read enough threads around here and you'll see that there are lots of reasons why the thinset might not have adhered to the tile (or popped free). I'll leave that diagnosis to experts. The grout is probably fine and merely disintegrated where it was adhered to a tile that was moving.

Are the loose tiles all in one area or are they distributed around the whole floor?
__________________
Eric Sobocinski
DIY Junkie
esobocinski is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2008, 08:25 AM   #10
HA1311
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6
Thanks Eric.

The loose tiles seem to be fairly randomly spread throughout the kitchen and dining area (same with the cracked grout).

To add another layer to the mystery, my husband pointed out that we have the same tile (set in the same thinset and grout) in our front entryway. It was set the same day as the kitchen tile, and the same batch of thinset was used. That tile is perfectly fine (no cracks or grout problems), just like the bathroom upstairs.

I'm pretty much at a loss here. Just don't want to take the time and money to fix the kitchen and have it happen again. The entryway is over a much shorter span of joists, but the upstairs bathroom is not. In fact the joists under the bathroom are the largest span in the house.

Amy
HA1311 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 04-18-2008, 08:49 AM   #11
bbcamp
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 30,274
Amy, some of the causes of thinset not sticking to tile are:

1) Not enough thinset applied to floor.

2) Not backbuttering the tile.

3) Dry tile sucking the moisture out of the thinset before the thinset sets.

4) Mold release powder on backs of tile.

5) Thinset skinning over before tile was set.

6) Using a poor grade of un-modified thinset.

My guess would be a combination of 2 and 5. On a big floor, you tend to spread more thinset than you should. From the description of the tiles backs, he didn't backbutter.
bbcamp is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Stonetooling.com   Tile-Assn.com   National Gypsum Permabase


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:51 AM.


Sponsors

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2018 John Bridge & Associates, LLC