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Unread 09-06-2011, 08:56 AM   #1
Eschbach
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Hairline Cracks

I have two customers with hairline cracks in their grout.The grout is from the same company.The first floor is double two by twelves with a 13 ft span,one layer 3/4 glue and screwed and second layer of 1/2 inch plywood installed to Schluter specs.Ditra installed with versabond and slate tile installed with Kerabond.It seems the grout has seperated itself from the slate on one side and jumps to the next tile.It is a couple hairlines here and there.It took about six months to show up.It does not appear to be on a seam or have any pattern.
The second floor is porcelain installed over 3/4 tongue and groove.I cant remember the deflection but it passed.Ditra installed with versabond and tile installed with kerabond.This floor has cracks everywhere.Its not crumbling just little hairlines off the tile.Once again the grout has seperated off of the tile.
I cant figure out what went wrong and how to prevent it.I need a little advice to give me some other ideas.Also whats the remedy?I have talked to my rep from the grout company and cant really pinpoint a problem.They have sent me grout colorant and color match caulk.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 09:32 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Sanded or unsanded grout? How wide are the joints? Did you preseal or use a grout release?
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Unread 09-06-2011, 10:01 AM   #3
tilejoe
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I had the same problem recently with tec grout. Color was clay, and it never achieved full strength. Stayed powdery.

I'm assuming you didn't over water it.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 02:44 PM   #4
JC
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on the second floor you say it is 3/4 T&G but is that sheets or strip wood planks? I will assume it is sheets for now.


First lets check the answers to what Bob said to eliminate the obvious. I might also add improperly mixed grout..is it blotchy?

also was the kerabond mixed with water?

If those answers check out..and the floor meets deflection as it does from the sounds of it. Then I would suspect possible expansion of the wood underlayment/subfloor..this could be from drastic changes in humidity, from floors getting rained on in the building process. changes in moisture from additional building..like pouring a basement floor,plaster etc..and even just from new wet lumber.

Now Ditra should in theory be able to absorb alot of these expansion/contraction changes so I suspect it would have to be pretty big change in wood moisture content to cause this..but maybe not. You can test the wood if you want..technically it should have been moisture tested and acclimatized prior to installing the floor..but we know thats not done very often in the real world.

In richmond virginia I think the moisture content should be about 6-8 % for pine plywood..but you might want to check that number and make sure.

Another possibilty depending if the cracks are from shrinkage or from bouncing is was the ditra installd the same day as the flooring? Especially with slate to install properly it needs to be lifted many times to add or subtract mortar in order to have even joints and not get much lippage..now if the ditra was installed the same day and you have to lift a tile to adjsut mortar it is very easy and hard to avoid pulling the ditra off the floor as well and since the versabong is semi set up it may not rebond to itself..so essentially you have a loose tile prone to movement. Even if the ditra was installed prior to the floor it can still debond easily. Tapping the floor for hollow sounds might expose this possibility

Anyways answer those questions and lets go from there.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 04:45 PM   #5
Eschbach
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Sanded grout.3/16 joint.I always put Ditra down and tile the next day just to avoid those problems of pulling up.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 06:47 PM   #6
enormis
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Hairline cracks

Kinda sounds as if grout was mixed a little too loose, or possibly over washed!
No need to over analyze, regrout with a prism type or Mapei's opticolor, it will be hard to go back to regular grout once you try the Prism! Oh, and are they on well water? Ive had a well water grout issue before, too much lime in the water! Just curious...
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Unread 09-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #7
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C'mon people, Brian knows what he is doing!
Brian, have you talked to a Schluter Rep?
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Unread 09-06-2011, 08:35 PM   #8
Eschbach
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No Mike I have not talked to my rep.I only talked to the grout company rep.I wanted to know if this is happening any where else or if I made a mistake.The first floor I personally built it from the dirt up.All plywood has expasion room and second layer is installed per Schluter instructions.I know it is not a movement issue there.They sent the grout color and matching caulk to fill hair lines.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 06:38 PM   #9
MHI
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I've had that happen before, even with TEC over Ditra. I blame it on the grout. It may have been an old bag, not to uncommon in these slow times.

I grind it out with a Fein making short work of it, and re-grout with a bag from different distributor to make sure I don't have the same problem. Never had to fix it again.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 07:18 PM   #10
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I had this happen once, Same situation, double ply, Ditra. I scratched out the grout, regrouted, it was tec grout. Used the acrylic additive when regrouting. All good, been a couple years now.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 09:03 PM   #11
steve26
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Chuck, you are not the only one,
"Used the acrylic additive when regrouting".
That makes the difference; the whole floor is laying on one layer of unmodified thin set mortar and the acrylic additive (modified) in the grout holds the floor together. The floor sounds hollow, but the modified groutline doesn't crack.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 09:16 PM   #12
Eschbach
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I really liked this grout because of color retention but I may have to find a replacement.My confidence level is down a little bit.I am nervous because this happened on two different jobs.I suppose it is a grout issue.I will have to slow down and re learn how to grout and just be more careful.Thanks for all the input and sharing your stories.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 10:43 PM   #13
dhagin
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...just thinking about this from a different angle.

What kind of loads were put on the floor? Are these.....uh.......'large' individuals? Heavily used floors? Teens and parties?
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Unread 09-08-2011, 11:56 PM   #14
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what Dana said
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Unread 09-09-2011, 02:09 AM   #15
Higher Standard Tile
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Brian, not sure what type of grout you used. But have you only had problems with this grout on Ditra jobs over wood substrates? Have you used the same brand grout on any concrete slab jobs? Do those jobs also have hairline cracks in the grout? Just trying to figure if it is a grout problem or a movement problem.

Sounds like you did everything right. Hope you find a solution.
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