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Unread 12-14-2016, 10:42 PM   #1
Mark53
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Really Tricky Problem?... Why are these tiles Raising?

Really Tricky Problem?... Why are these tiles Raising?

In a commercial kitchen, 12" square terra-cotta tiles on the floor,
and they've been there, with no problems for over five years.
The entire tiled area is about 55' X 75', including walk-in fridge and freezer.
All of a sudden, tiles in one area are raising, separating from the
concrete sub-floor, creating random apexes up to one inch high.
Barely noticeable a week ago, in the next few days it spread rather rapidly.
Some tiles are cracked, some not. We pried up / busted a large area,
about 5' X 6', trying to discover a cause underneath the problem tiles...
Found no moisture, or roots or any other evidence of a cause.
There's an average of about 3/8" of grout between tiles.
In the outlaying area, where the raising was just starting to show,
I used a masonry grinder to remove the grout, to release some lateral pressure,
and let the tiles fall back to "level", hoping to halt further raising.
Didn't solve the problem... next day, more tiles were raising at the perimeter.
Most of the Raising is happening in an area that is parallel to an exterior
(tilt-up) concrete wall that is about 12 feet from the damage,
though some of the damage is appearing perpendicular to that wall.
There are no big trees outside of, and no cracks in: that exterior wall.
Problem area is about 40 feet from the refrigerator and freezer units.
SOMETHING is causing some lateral movement... Which Is Continuing.
The guy that laid the floor has allegedly been doing this work for 25 years.
He's never seen this before,... doesn't know what's causing this problem.
Any of yous experts got some ideas? Might extra-terrestrials be involved?
Thanks very much.
Mark53
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Unread 12-14-2016, 10:51 PM   #2
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Mark,

Welcome to the forum.

Is it getting colder outside where you are? Can you add your geographical information to your User CP (Linked in the dark blue bar above)

Look around the perimeter. Are the tiles grouted to this outside tilt up wall ? Are the tiles grouted all around the perimeter?

WHat you are describing sounds like classic "tenting"
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Unread 12-14-2016, 11:14 PM   #3
argile tile
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here's my un-professional observations:

i agree - check tile is not in contact with any walls (should be 1/8" gap all the way around), that's just code to do so, and can be fixed by doing it

but i'd say what you said sounds drastic (1" raising) and not completely clear how many instances (post photos so others can get a better idea)

my idea would be you need a building/foundation inspector to check the building is safe BEFORE worrying about the tile. secondarily, the inspector might know how to remedy the issue off-hand. it may even be a municipal issue.

your intuition may be right it may not be the tile (that a pro installed it, and he didn't think it was possible).
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Unread 12-14-2016, 11:25 PM   #4
eurob
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Fast track or lack of soft joints , expansion joints , etc . or a combination of all of these . Take a look.....

Popping tiles 1

Popping tiles 2
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Unread 12-15-2016, 09:02 AM   #5
Dave Gobis
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A common complaint when there is lack of movement accommodation and/or tiling over control joints. There should be a 1/4" open or soft joint at the perimeter and every 20-25' if it is interior and they don't clean it with a hose. This is not exactly covered under building code. There are countless articles and technical bulletins on this subject.
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Unread 12-15-2016, 09:56 AM   #6
Todd Groettum
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Large fields we always ran soft joints every 16-20 feet depending on the tile size etc....

And concrete control joints got cut nd soft jointed that could not be figured into the layout... ( cheap insurance against this type thing)

Also with large fields we stayed out 3/16 - 1/4" from all walls...

Standard thinsets will shear much faster on polished slabs than a modified and some modifiers are better than others...Keralastic was commonly used in areas where alot of weight would be rolled over the tile...Keraset was the Minimum used...We never used straight Kerabond in Large field jobs...

Dave G would have the shear numbers ( probly knows em all by heart )
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Unread 12-15-2016, 11:37 AM   #7
Mark53
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Wow. Thanks for the fast replies, people.

HoustonRemodeler, we're about an hour south of Los Angeles.
And,... it never gets Really cold here, in California.
I'll confirm today, but I think that... yes, the tiles are grouted all the way to the wall.

DaveGobis, it's all interior, and it's not cleaned with a hose, but they do wet-mop it every day.

Sorry that I don't have pictures of the actual problem, but...
Yes! That's exactly what parts of this look like.
This is a screen shot from your 2nd video, Eurob...
Name:  sample 11.jpg
Views: 290
Size:  12.7 KB

My floor is not moving so fast that one can watch the changes happening,
and I certainly haven't heard any popping, but the end-result looks like that.

OK, to stop this further damage, we should...
1. cut the grout around the entire perimeter, where there's a wall.
2. cut the grout line every 16 feet.
3. replace that removed grout with Soft / Expansion material.
What's your suggestion for the particular Soft material to use there?

Thanks Very Much, guys.

Mark53
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Unread 12-15-2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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100% silicone caulk that matches the grout from www.ColorRiteInc.com.

Their RTV sealant, ColorSil, is floor rated
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Unread 12-15-2016, 05:46 PM   #9
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Mark, PM me an email address and I will send you 3-4 articles on the subject. CA don't get a free pass. This photo is entitled "Death takes a Holiday". Floors or walls, I got lots more.
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Unread 12-15-2016, 06:08 PM   #10
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There is tremendous stress put on the cement joints and bonding surface if things can't move as intended. FWIW, the nominal expansion rate between a slab and typical tile is about 2:1. That usually can be accommodated if you have expansion joints and a decent thinset. Keep in mind that around the freezers and underneath the stoves/cooktops, it can get really warm or cold after them running for hours on end...this can emulate being outside and having the bright sun shining on a part of the install and the next section in deep shade. Things DO expand and contract with temperature changes. Then, if you've ever seen a microphoto of thinset, you'd see that it really makes its bond by growing thin crystalline spikes that interlock into themselves and imperfections in the substrate (the slab and tile). They can only flex so much. Overextend that stretch, and they start to break off. Break off enough, and you've lost your bond. That can take some time, depending on the particular circumstances. The picture is courtesy of Mapei. When modified, it adds a coating onto the crystals, which can act sort of like a bumper, but given enough flex, and they'll still break.
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Unread 12-15-2016, 11:01 PM   #11
eurob
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That picture looks like a black and white of some wild grass

What is presented in the picture ? A cured sample of mortar -- type of - in what state -- powder or larger piece -- ?
If modified -- polymer or latex -- , how you can distinguish in between ?
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Last edited by eurob; 12-16-2016 at 08:04 AM.
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Unread 12-16-2016, 07:50 AM   #12
Todd Groettum
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Dave, i hope nobody was standing under those when they let loose OUCH!!!
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Unread 12-16-2016, 08:07 AM   #13
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That is why I titled it Death takes a Holiday. Have another one someplace where a shard buries into a deck.
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Unread 12-16-2016, 08:13 AM   #14
eurob
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Mark ,

This one is of the ET's involvement version of it ,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K3EAO0LMrM
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Unread 12-16-2016, 06:13 PM   #15
argile tile
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i'm sorry i mean for residential (or commercial?), because tile expands/contracts at a different rate than frame memebers, it is code and required the tile+mortar not be in contact with frame members, and be some distance from them, because it would shift/damage frame of building
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