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Unread 10-05-2020, 01:24 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: NM
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2000sq New Construction Problem, Is there such a thing as bad tile???

Installed New tile on Cement Floor with Radiant heating, Standard Concrete 3500psi. Thinset stuck to floor slab only. All tile poped off clean, Yes used the proper Thinset For large tile Versabond FTL, and another as well. Used a 1/2 trowel, Backbutter on the second round, floor is warm. Using Dal-tail with Spin Doctor floor leveling system. Any takers??????
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Unread 10-05-2020, 05:43 AM   #2
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I'm no pro, but you mentioned that the "floor is warm", I wonder if by warming the floor, you allowed the thinset to cure prematurely before the tile was pressed into it. Could have been that the thinset sat on the floor too long and the cement wicked a good amount of moisture out before the tiles were pressed in.

I don't see the typical "100% coverage" thinset indicator on the back of the tile that occurs when the tiles are back buttered or back troweled either...

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Unread 10-05-2020, 07:18 AM   #3
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What did the back of the tiles look like before you put them down? Were they covered in white? It is possible that the kiln release was still on there, creating a bond breaker. As Ali mentioned the heated floors could have been a issue also.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 08:33 AM   #4
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Here’s a picture of the tile, it could be that the moisture to get sucked out I had a floor set at 65 to 70°, but what concerns me the most is that not one single piece bonded. You would think that out of 2000 ft.² one would at least stick and break off, all tiles came off clean. Here’s a picture of a different tile We laid next to it, and the cement stuck to the back of the tile.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 12:19 PM   #5
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I'm only a noob, but I had one tile do this, I waited too long between troweling and setting so the thinset skimmed over(open time?)
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Unread 10-05-2020, 02:49 PM   #6
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It can help immensely if you back butter the tile prior to setting them. It does not appear that any of that was done. This is particularly important with larger tile, as you cannot apply much weight to the tile on a psi basis because it is so large - it just gets spread out too much. Backbuttering the tile works best when you use the edge of the flat side of the trowel to literally push thinset into the pores of the tile, creating a 100% coverage, and essentially filling in the waffles in the process.

While you need the room temperature to be above 50-degrees F for most thinset, they don't usually recommend in-floor heat to be on for maybe a week or so after setting the tile. To get the surface at 70-degrees, the wires need to be hotter. Cement setting is an exothermic reaction meaning that it generates heat in the process...adding heat externally will make it 'cook' faster, shortening your pot life and limiting how much surface you can trowel prior to setting any tile down. IOW, keep the in-floor heat off at least for a few days after setting your tile.
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Unread 10-05-2020, 06:18 PM   #7
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I'm not a big fan of leveling systems. I'd rather get the floor flat instead. Maybe the leveling system pulled the tiles up off the thinset.

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Unread 10-07-2020, 12:54 PM   #8
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In the inimitable words of MAPEI's Sam Biondo "We don't make one sided mortar." If the mortar stuck to the floor but not the tile that means the the mortar wasn't sticky when you placed the tile on it. Usually that's a function of how long between mixing the mortar and installing the tile. In your case it sounds like the under-floor warming system didn't do you any favors. It likely heated up the mortar and dried it out, shortening its pot life.

There are cases where the kiln release can interfere with the tile/mortar bond but you would normally see lots of white powder on the mortar when the tile comes off. I don't see that here. As was stated above, back butter the pieces and check the coverage you're getting by prying up a piece every so often while you're installing them. You should have much better results.
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