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Unread 10-06-2019, 10:26 AM   #1
Mama Di
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Failure to Bond

We installed 1' x2' ceramic floor tile in mstr bath approx. 5 years ago. After about 2 years we had movement and grout cracking on 5 tiles. Husband has now lifted those tiles to start repair. Thinset adhered to concrete board but backs of tile are clean. The area of failure is at the beginning of the project before back buttering tiles. All other tiles are in great shape. Also suspect that not enough pressure was applied during setting as grooves are still defined in thinset. Question is how to continue. Will a new coating of backbuttered thinset stick to existing dry thinset? Goal is to repair but would really like to avoid having to chisel old thinset. Is there an adhesive we could use other than thinset? Original installation is mortored and screwed Hardie backer and Versa Bond Natural Stone & Large Tile thinset.
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Unread 10-06-2019, 12:13 PM   #2
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I think the only way you're not going to remove at least some thinset would be to hire someone else to do it, assuming you want your replacement tiles at same height as rest of floor.

Demo doesn't have to be pretty, but any thing you use will have zero strength at zero thickness, which is what you'd be asking it to do.

As much fun as it isn't, removing most of existing thinset and resetting with mortar and back buttering is your best bet.

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Unread 10-06-2019, 12:58 PM   #3
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If it’s cbu there. You could maybe cut down into the cbu and then remove it all. No chiseling involved. Screw down some new cbu. Might be easier.
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Unread 10-08-2019, 06:14 PM   #4
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I would grab a $10 rub brick from the masonry department of any box store. It’s like a small brick with a handle on it. And you rub it over the mortar to grind it away. It’s made with silicon carbide, so it’s far harder than any mortar. You’d be surprised at how fast it grinds down on something as soft as old tile mortar.

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Unread 10-09-2019, 12:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Charlie
You could maybe cut down into the cbu and then remove it all.
The only problem with that is you can't tape and mud the seams between the new and old. You could end up with the same problem that caused all this.

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Unread 10-09-2019, 08:43 AM   #6
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I was thinking about that a little. Could you cut and leave a 1-2" perimeter uncut. That'll give you the ability to screw down both edges of the cbu and tape properly. Guess it depends on whether cleaning 10 sq ft of thinset is easier with that rub brick vs cutting out some of the cbu.
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