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Old 03-04-2018, 02:57 PM   #1
kddunc
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Marble Floor Tile - Cracks or ???

Hoping for some educated feedback. I'm a homeowner that identified what appeared to be cracks in over a dozen 12x24 floor tiles in our master bath. The cracks are random (not along any specific line or structure and at edges of tile, running in diagonal for 2-4 inches). Please see the attached photos of the floor locations and close-up examples of the cracks.

The GC's sub (tiler) set the tiles over what they determined to be adequate 3/4" sub-floor, over 1/2"backer board with underfloor heating system. The cracks appear to have been present before occupancy or shortly thereafter (we did not use this bathroom for some time due to shower floor pan issue).

After many months and slow response the GC, tiler, and tile supplier visited site and reviewed with supplier main office. All said, the supplier is claiming the defects (not cracks) are natural and result of "dry-veining." From my simple research, such "dry-veining" is not a common term, nor do our issues mimic what is described in those circumstances. Our defects go across veins, are clearly openings, and will catch your fingernail when you drag across.

Hoping folks here could review the pics (location and examples of defects), the supplier's response, and provide their own assessment (cracks or not and what might be the original issue...there at install, developed after, other?). Hoping to get this resolved once we have better feeling about defects.

Thanks for any and all's input in this matter.

Floor #1.pdf

Floor #3.pdf

Floor #4 Crack.pdf

Floor #6 Crack.pdf

Tile Supplier Response to Cracks.pdf
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Old 03-04-2018, 04:19 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Industry standards for the installation of natural stone tile call for two important aspects:
1. The joists or other support must meet the L/720 minimum deflection rating. This is not something that is generally available unless natural stone was specified in the plans and properly implemented. THe size of the room has nothing to do with this...it's the span of the supporting material beneath the floor that is critical.
2. TWO layers of plywood, properly installed, with the first layer being a minimum of 5/8" nominal T&G and the second a minimum of 3/8".

If your only layer of subflooring is one 3/4" layer, they did not follow industry guidelines. The 1/2" cbu on the floor makes no difference...it is not structural and does not add to the between joist stiffness requirements.

A couple of other industry guidelines call for there to either be a perimeter gap or that gap be a soft joint (typically, caulk)...the grout cannot be tight against ANY rigid surface such as doorways, walls, cabinets, etc.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:31 PM   #3
Kman
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I'd want to put eyes/hands directly on the tile to be certain, but your third picture (Floor #4) appears to show a tiny bit of grout in the crack. If that's the case, the installer put it down that way. I don't think it has anything to do with foot traffic or (at least for now) the fact that there is only a single layer of plywood.

To me, if it's a crack in the same place on several tile, and several tile with those identical cracks are installed in a localized area, like your first picture, then it doesn't appear natural, even if the crack is a natural vein.

I don't know what you might work out with the supplier, but if I were in his shoes I would offer to replace a few tile at the least, making sure that none of them have that same crack in the same place on the tile, and take out a few of those that are close together, if not all of the cracked ones.
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Old 03-04-2018, 06:51 PM   #4
jadnashua
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Depending on the span of the supports, it doesn't necessarily take any traffic IN that room...the simple addition of furniture or appliances, etc., in adjacent rooms in the same span can cause the floor to deflect.

If the tile had cracks in them, IMHO, they shouldn't have been installed. So, if they did a good job of installation, the problems happened afterwards. Deflection is the major reason that happens, but compression by not following guidelines on movement accommodation can cause it as well.

You said there is heating in the floor. Turning that on too early can cause some problems, depending on the type and how well it is temperature controlled as well. Things need to cure a bit first.

As said, if there is grout in the cracks, they were there when installed. IMHO, that is a defective tile and should not have been installed.
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Old 03-05-2018, 07:59 AM   #5
Dave Gobis
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Those don't look like fissure cracks to me, looks like movement.That said, if you had to prove it, would be cheaper to fix it. And, I am always suspect of a report written by someone who can't spell.
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