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
Old 07-16-2018, 07:57 AM   #1
Triplelandj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
Dozens of cracks in tile- within last month



Hi! Iím a newbie! I have no clue if this would be the place to ask this question, but worth a shot! TIA!

We have a 5 year old home. Weíve had a couple short cracks in our tile appear over the past five years, but itís this past month that has made really been cause for concern! In the past few weeks we have had cracks show up over night. These are multiple feet long, hairline cracks over several tiles. They all run the same way. Many in our kitchen and many on the other side of house in our bathroom.
Can anyone tell me what things may cause this?

Itís worth to mention that we hired someone a couple of years ago to lay some ďwoodĒ looking tile flooring (to replace the carpet that was there)in our large living room. This room is in between the cracking kitchen tile and bathroom tile. The living room with the ďwoodĒ tile has not began to crack. Itís only our builder installed tile. But itís all happened SO quickly and it seems we find a new long crack every other day.

We live in Texas, itís a *really* hot and dry summer. Iím not sure if that matters. We have put in a foundation warranty request and expect someone to come take a look soon.
Is there any other reason for this sudden cracking besides foundation? If it is foundation issues, would this level of cracking floors indicate the problem is likely a large one? (We have yet to find wall cracks).
__________________
Lana
Triplelandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 07-16-2018, 08:36 AM   #2
cx
Da Home Builder
 
cx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boerne, Texas
Posts: 86,537
Welcome, Lana.

It would be helpful if you'd add a geographic location to your User Profile. Texas is a pretty big place, eh?

I'm presuming your foundation is concrete slab on grade and that your tiles were bonded directly to the concrete. Would that be correct?

First thing I'd check is to see if your cracking tile areas have a movement accommodation joint around the entire perimeter. That may be an open joint that is hidden under your baseboards or a soft joint filled with a flexible sealant.

It might also be helpful if you'd post some photos of your cracked areas. Use the paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box to attach photos from storage on your computer.

Have you noticed any cracking on the exterior visible portions of your foundation?
__________________
CX

Y'ALL NEW VISITORS READ THIS HERE!
cx is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 10:22 AM   #3
Triplelandj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
Fort Worth Texas area

Iím afraid I donít know all the answers to your questions, but Iíll certainly do my best. Thanks for your help!

Yes, concrete slab. Tiles on top of concrete. As far as a movement accommodation....that I do not know. I see a soft flexible seal in the bricks, but not foundation. I will include a photo shortly of that.

I have included photos of the tile cracks. These are only two locations of plenty. Youíll likely have to zoom in, as these are hairline. Both of these showed up basically overnight. They didnít slowly get longer, they just appeared This long (several feet).

Iím working on some foundation pictures....will respond ASAP.
Attached Images
  
__________________
Lana
Triplelandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 10:35 AM   #4
Triplelandj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
The first photo shows the slope we have on the side of the house where we question the foundation. (We are thinking we need to put a retaining wall eventually, but that’s another topic).

The second photo shows where our builder came a couple years ago and filled in the “blow outs” of foundation. They assured us that the foundation goes 10-15 feet below ground and these “blow outs” were only cosmetic. We have several of these along this side of the house.

The third photo, which I believe may have upload sideways, shows the sealant that I thought you may have asked about. It is only in the brick, not foundation.

The last photo is of a noticeable crack in the corner of our foundation. Three years ago, we asked the contractor (who was the one who filled in the “blow outs”) about this crack. He assured us it was cosmetic since it was on the edge of the house. ??

Also, along this wall, there is a noticeable spot where the foundation curves out. Again, they said this was no issue. It’s been there since day one, I believe.

Hopefully these photos help. I really appreciate your insight!
Attached Images
    
__________________
Lana
Triplelandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 12:06 PM   #5
Davy
Moderator -- Mud Man
 
Davy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Princeton,Tx.- Dallas area
Posts: 30,578
Hi Lana, welcome. Usually tile cracks like that are following a crack in the slab directly below them. If the cracked tiles end near an exterior wall then sometimes you can see the crack outside on the slab below the brick.

I will say that most slabs in North Texas have a slab crack somewhere, usually slabs have several cracks. We usually apply an anti-fracture membrane under tiles when we install on a slab to help avoid future cracks. The installers may not have done this.
__________________
Davy

www.davystephenstile.com
Davy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 12:39 PM   #6
John Bridge
Mudmeister
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 67,294
Send a message via AIM to John Bridge
Hi Lana,

Get a wooden stick or broom handle and go around taping on the tiles. I think you'll be able to tell which ones are set solid and which are "hollow". Tap around the entire floor area or most of it and let us know what you find. It could be that the tiles are beginning to separate from the slab. That is called "tenting."

The soft joints CX wants you to look for are around the inside perimeter of the tiled floor area. They will either be between the tile and the baseboards or under the base boards. There needs to be a space there, and it there is not, it can cause tenting and ultimately cracking. Your cracks appear to be caused by the slab cracking, and Davy mentioned, but do the tapping too.
John Bridge is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 01:31 PM   #7
Triplelandj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
Okay...so on each 6(ish) foot long crack, there will be, on average one tile that is ďhollowĒ sounding and the rest are solid. Thatís one reason why it was confusing us.
If it is ďtentingĒ....why is it happening all at once within a month? Is that typically how it presents itself? Can it be weather related? Dry, drought conditions.

I could not find a soft joint inside....but it certainly doesnít mean it doesnít exist.

I will say though....from the beginning, we have experienced some crummy craftsmanship on the entire *new* house. So, it would not surprise me to learn they were installed incorrectly. It just doesnít make sense that they all crack in the same month....of course Iím not educated on this though.

If there is a crack on our slab, is that cause for concern on a structural standpoint? If itís breaking dozens of tiles within a month, wonít it be splitting walls next or make us at a risk for a leak? I just submitted a claim with our structure warranty. They require a $250 fee for an engineer to look at everything to determine if we have major structural defect....
I guess that is what I need to do?
__________________
Lana
Triplelandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 01:57 PM   #8
Davy
Moderator -- Mud Man
 
Davy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Princeton,Tx.- Dallas area
Posts: 30,578
Sometimes cracks will appear in the sheetrock above doorways. Like I mentioned, most slabs I've seen in North Texas have slab cracks.

Dry weather can have something to do with it. Some areas have had a fairly wet year so far although it's been dry here recently. Soaking your foundation may be in your future.

It might be worth having the engineer take a look at it.
__________________
Davy

www.davystephenstile.com
Davy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 02:05 PM   #9
Kman
Moderator
 
Kman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NW Arkansas, Ozark Mountains
Posts: 9,982
My guess, the slab is cracked on both places. The only remedy is to remove and replace them.

I would recommend having the installer use Laticrete 125 to replace the tile to prevent them from cracking again.

I would also recommend waiting a while to replace them, especially if they just recently appeared. You'll likely have more.

Your biggest challenge will be finding replacement tile, if it's been a few years since they were installed.
__________________
Kevin

The top ten reasons to procrastinate:

1.
Kman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 02:21 PM   #10
jadnashua
Veteran DIYer- Schluterville Graduate

STAR Senior Contributor

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 12,579
Does your area have a lot of clay in the soil? Clay expands and contracts a LOT as the moisture content changes. This can cause some pretty severe stresses on a foundation and slab.

Already asked a few times, but you should check, probably by pulling off a section of baseboard, to see if the tile and/or grout are tight to the wall, or if there is a gap. They could have filled that with caulk, but that's fairly rare, as a hidden gap is much cheaper and easier. Same is true in areas around say doorways, or up against kitchen cabinets...there must be a gap if the tile butts up against rigid surfaces.

For chance, had you been away on vacation and left the a/c off, and this started when you got back? The humidity levels in the house would have risen, probably significantly while you were away if the a/c was off, or even with the thermostat raised significantly from where it normally is set. Wooden stuff expands a fair amount when that happens.

Someone has said there are only two types of concrete slabs, those that have cracked, and those that will. This is somewhat simplistic, but tile doesn't like movement, and when a crack happens, unless there is something there to isolate it from that movement, it will telegraph up into the tile.
__________________
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
jadnashua is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 02:29 PM   #11
Triplelandj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
Thank you all for your time and input!

So, wouldnít we have to address the foundation first? Do all cracks need to be fixed?
Iíve attached a photo to show that the cracks are only on the builder installed tile. The brown tile has not been cracked (it was installed 3 years ago when we pulled up our carpet). Also, the yellow lines show some location of cracks. I put some on the tv to indicate the cracks on the other side of that wall (several feet of cracks). They are all running (mostly) in the same direction.
Attached Images
 
__________________
Lana
Triplelandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 02:54 PM   #12
rmckee84
Moderator
 
rmckee84's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Southern Illinois
Posts: 2,800
While it looks like foundation issues may be the culprit, its hard to say without being on site. Like mentioned above it would be a good idea to pull a piece of baseboard and see if there is a gap between the tile and the wall. If nothing else that will eliminate one possibility.
__________________
Jack of most trades, master of none...
Ryan McKee
McKee Construction & Custom Tile
rmckee84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 03:28 PM   #13
Triplelandj
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
Jim, Yes, I believe we have some clay soil—many in this area do.
We were not on vacation during the past month, but we are known to go back and forth on our temperature—between 70 and 74 degrees. Not sure if that would cause this.

I’m thinking the $250 will be money well spent on the engineer that the warranty company sends over. If nothing else, just for peace of mind. I’ll let him pull up the trim, as I can’t bring myself to damage my home anymore
__________________
Lana

Last edited by Triplelandj; 07-16-2018 at 03:36 PM.
Triplelandj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2018, 08:21 PM   #14
makethatkerdistick
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: North Texas
Posts: 470
Most foundation cracks are hairline, and unless they shift dramatically (like opening up or a planar shift) will probably not be considered structural. I have lots of hairline cracks all over my 50 year old foundation. There's nothing you can do to prevent that. You can mitigate it a bit by watering around the perimeter of your foundation but the expansive soils will keep doing what they've been doing. Most likely, your house will be ok. Those corner cracks on the edges of your foundation are also fairly common.

Future tilework in your home needs to be protected by proper anti-fracture membranes. There's no easy fix for the existing tilework afaik. Why North Texas tilers don't employ these products in conjunction with highly modified mortars (which promise a little bit of flex) on a consistent basis with the soil we have here is beyond me. They're better protection than a warranty plan which has to first approve a claim and then will cause you to have a mess in your house from tearing up the tile.
__________________
Wolfgang

Last edited by makethatkerdistick; 07-16-2018 at 08:27 PM.
makethatkerdistick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2018, 05:35 AM   #15
Bellsfloors
Tile, Wood, LVT, Home Renovation Contractor
 
Bellsfloors's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,326
I agree with the team that it is most likely the slab has cracked and the bonded tiles have cracked along with it. An anti-fracture membrane would have helped prevent this..

I am not surprised that several cracked tiles showed up just in a span of overnight. If the tiles are bonded directly on the cracked slab and the slab expanded a bit and just beyond the breaking point of the tiles bonded then several tiles would break at the same time as the breaking point would be same for all the tiles.

As to why installers don't use the Anti-fracture membrane? Lots of reasons here. Some of the possible reasons I know of applies to both installers and dealers.

1) They just don't know about the benefits of using it. (inexperience)
2) Some believe it wont happen to them because they are too good. (They will say they been doing tile many years and never had a problem)
3) Some don't use it due to competition in the price wars and they don't want to lose the job due to being the expensive guy.
4) faulty reliance on concrete not to crack
5) Just not in the budget.

Short warranties may also play a part in the install decision. Dealer/Installer only have to warrant installation for a year in Kansas. If it lasts that long then they are off the hook legally and is not their problem.

I'm sure there are more but these I deal with on a daily basis.
__________________
Tracy

Flooring-Tile-Waterproof Showers
www.AttentionToPerfection.com

Last edited by Bellsfloors; 07-17-2018 at 05:54 AM.
Bellsfloors 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

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Not a good month Houston Remodeler The Mud Box 49 01-04-2015 08:28 PM
Help! 6 month old tile needs redo? / Need suggestions on underlayment Jeff1414 Tile Forum/Advice Board 17 06-12-2006 05:32 PM
Pic of the Month John Bridge The Mud Box 15 01-05-2002 04:12 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:12 AM.


Sponsors

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