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Unread 08-03-2007, 09:31 PM   #1
Sarita
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Unhappy My tiles are popping up! Help!

Here is my situation: we had nasty vinyl flooring that we wanted to rip up and put ceramic tile over. When we removed one of cabinets we realized that we might have a layer of asbestos tile under the laminate. We decided to lay 1/4 inch plywood over the vinyl flooring to lay our tile on.

4 days ago my husband and I laid our new ceramic tile with FlorCraft Ceramic tile floor and wall mastic (per a recommendation from the guy at the home improvement store.) The floor went down beautifully with 1/4 inch spacers.

We still have to tile under the appliances, but have company coming in so we decided to wait to do under those until they leave at the end of this week. Yesterday we noticed two tiles were loose and we went ahead and pulled them up. They were slightly tacky in some places and solid in others. Today another tile popped up!

Please help me with what to do. The rest of the floor seems solid, but I'm worried about grouting and then cracking the grout and the tile popping up.
Thank you!
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Unread 08-03-2007, 09:49 PM   #2
mctile
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Sarita-

Mastic has no place in the tile world IMO. You have to realize that mastic needs air to dry, and there ain't much air getting to the mastic under a 12" tile. That being said, putting any tile directly onto plywood is a big no-no no matter what any thin-set product claims. My advice would be to pull up the tiles (Believe me, this should be a piece of cake) and clean them up. Go out and get yourself some Ditra to put on the ply before installing the tile, and do it again. And lastly, check that your floor meets the deflection requirements foir your installation (look at the deflecto in this forum at the top) and if you put the plywood on the old vinyl without filling the voids underneath (i.e. trowel applying thin-set, liquid nail under the ply) your installation is bound to fail.
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Unread 08-03-2007, 09:55 PM   #3
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Welcome, Sarita.

Unfortunately, you're not gonna like a single thing I'm about to tell you.

I'm afraid I don't see a single step in what you say you've done that falls into the catagory of correct for a ceramic tile installation.

First thing we would have advised you to do is check to ensure that you joist structure and subflooring were adequate for a tile installation. We'll get back to that later.

Next, we would have advised you to remove all that vinyl flooring.

Next, we would have advised you (assuming you found your subflooring to be adequate) to install a Cementitious Backer Unit or uncoupling membrane over your subflooring to set your tiles on.

Next, we would have advised you to use an appropriate setting material, which would have been a cementitious mortar rather than an organic mastic that you were ill advised to use by the "Expert In The Isle."

I'm afraid I'm still gonna advise all the same steps. After your company is gone, of course.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 08-03-2007, 10:00 PM   #4
Splinter
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Sarita, you have a few problems here.. First, using a premixed adhesive on the floor is generally frowned upon... It doesnt dry well as you've noticed. Second, tiling to 1/4" ply over vinyl (which is probably over another layer of 1/4" ply underlayment) is a very bad idea.

The best option is to pop the tiles off the plywood and soak them in the wheelbarrow to get the glue off. Pry up the 1/4" ply, vinyl, and if there's more 1/4" ply under that, it should come up as well. Assess the remaining subfloor, and check back here for advice on how to proceed. You're just going to have more of the same issues if you leave the floor the way it is now.
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Unread 08-03-2007, 10:08 PM   #5
mctile
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On second thought, better to get rid of the vinyl all together.
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Unread 08-03-2007, 10:15 PM   #6
Dan Clark
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Sarita,

I'm an amateur like you. I have only one piece of advice...

The people here are EXTREMELY knowledgable and are giving you VERY good advice. What you are reading is probably painful. But you will get better advice on this forum than all of the home improvement stores combined. Please listen to them.

The tiling itself may not be difficult, but the prep work can be very difficult, time consuming, expensive, and painful. Choosing the right materials and methods is critical. Remodeling my master bathroom has been one horror story after another. Unfortunately, there are not too many shortcuts. Virtually EVERY time I've taken a shortcut, it's bitten me badly.

Good luck with your project.

Best regards,

Dan.

p.s., spend time reading through posts on this forum. Unfortunately your story has been repeated over and over. Above all, don't listen to the people at the home improvement stores. Their job is to sell you things, not get the job done.
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Unread 08-03-2007, 10:53 PM   #7
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Hi Sarita,

First, I want to welcome you to the forum. Hope we can be of help to you.

I'm sorry to hear your install is not going well. Everything you have read here so far is on the money. Preparing a floor and using the proper mortar is critical to a successful tile installation. The advice you are receiving may seem overwhelming, but it will make or break the long term success of this install.

No one faults you for following the advice you got. As was mentioned, we hear it way too often around here. We just want to help you make it better. It's a good group of folks around here.

Let us know what we can do for you!
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Unread 08-04-2007, 12:13 PM   #8
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Welcome Sarita

After watching enough episodes of Holmes on Homes, I got over my aversion to tearing things up to get down to the basics and check everything. If you have satellite or cable, spend a couple of hours watching his show. It's an eye-opener for us amateurs.

If you're worried about asbestos, have someone come in and test the <tile>. If it's cost-prohibitive to remove, maybe the pros here can give you some alternatives, including using a floor material other than tile.

Good luck!

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Unread 08-04-2007, 07:27 PM   #9
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Welcome Sarita, sorry to hear about your problem. Not much more to add to what the others have said.
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Unread 08-04-2007, 09:46 PM   #10
Elkski
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What everyone else says...

I know you don't want to hear it but in the end if you get educated enough you will take these guys advice.
I only disagree with the overall negative generalization of the isle guys/gals.
Every once in a while you find a true expert or very helpfull person there also.

one more thing. At least one thing is positive here. You found the right place for help.
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Unread 08-05-2007, 10:24 AM   #11
mctile
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Elkski-

You have to understand that the isle guys/gals giving advice is something that boils the blood of most tile professoinals that care about the preservation of our trade. Most (and by most I mean 99.9%) of the isle guys/gals I have talked to have no business giving any kind of sound advice in the tile department. Here is the problem as I see it-

Joe Schmoe goes to the big box and gets "sound advice" from a isle expert on a tile installation.

Joe Schmoe's tile starts to pop and the installation fails.

Joe Schmoe Figures that since he followed the installation advice to the letter, the problem is not the mastic under the 12"x12" tiles or the installer (Joe did it himself, right?). Logic then tells ol' Joe that tile in itself is not a good choice for his floor (or shower, tub, etc.).

Joe Schmoe rips it out and installs hardwood floors and vows never to install tile again (as well as sharing his now "professional opinion" with anyone who will listen).

I wish that all the so called pros in those stores gave advice that would lead to lasting installations but ease of installation seems to be a common theme in the advice that I have heard. You know, "you can do it, we can help" which translates to "do it the easy way, not the right way so we can sell you stuff" What I am trying to say is that no one is trying to attack any single person but the sales techniques of the people in these stores hurts our trade and yes, to hear of problems like the ones that Sarita is having always stings a little.
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Unread 08-05-2007, 12:14 PM   #12
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What Matthew said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkski
I only disagree with the overall negative generalization of the isle guys/gals.
Every once in a while you find a true expert or very helpfull person there also.
Find him and bring us his name, Teddy, and we'll make him famous.

We at TYW, being of good heart and honorable intent, did, a few years back, present to Homer a plan whereby we'd provide online training and a 24/7 hotline for his tile-isle employees so that they could, in fact, give good, sound advice to the customers. Homer was not interested.

And, while it was our intent for this to be a profitable venture, it would have represented not even a noteworthy line item on Homer's balance sheet. Still not interested.

And we knew that Homer had already done a similar (best we could tell) sorta training thing for his Garden Center employees. Still not interested.

So, we continue with the attitude we've always expressed about Homer's and similar big-box stores: Get your materials there; get your advice here.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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