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Old 01-26-2011, 10:23 AM   #1
HeatherG
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circle marble tile grout question

Hi,
I have 1" circle tile that is polished marble and where the tiles meet, they touch and therefore have little to no space for grout in places.

I am about to grout the tiles and am unsure of what grout to use. I would like to use sanded because it is on the floor and when I walk on the thinset cured tile, I can hear slight cracking due to slight movement in the floor.

Because of the varying grout lines, should I use sanded or unsanded? Also, I don't want to harm the polished finish. Please help, I am confused and afraid to ruin my tile!

Thank you,
Heather
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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I think this is a perfect candidate for Laticrete Permacolor grout. It is a sanded grout, but the sand is superfine. This allows it to be used in really tight joints and big ones as well, because it doesn't shrink like normal unsanded grout.

You may have to go to a specialty tile shop to get it (or order it online) but I would give it a try.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:32 AM   #3
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Heather, grout is not going to make the slight movement in the floor go away. That means something is not quite stiff enough in your floor. Tell us about the floor structure, starting with the joists (size, spacing and span), the subfloor ( type of material, thickness, number of layers), and what underlayment you used.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:34 AM   #4
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.........um didn't read your post carefully the first time.

You should definitely not hear any cracking in your tile when you walk on it. No grout is going to help you there.

Please tell us what you have for subfloor and underlayment,exactly how you set your tiles, and what the specs on your joists are. Your new floor may start to pop off if something wasn't done right. And cracking noises when you walk on the tile, even if it is not grouted, is a BAD sign.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:02 AM   #5
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The floor is made of the following;

16" center rough cut 2x10 joists with 3/4" subfloor, then thinset, Ditra and more thinset to place the circle tiles.

Thank you,
Heather
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:10 AM   #6
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Rough cut? Does that mean full dimension, as in really 2 inched by really 10 inches? Or does it mean that the surfaces of the lumber were not planed smooth? What is the span of the joists?

Was the subfloor glued and screwed to the joists?

Is the plywood tongue and groove?

These tiles are 1" rounds. Ditra has a 2" minimum. Did you fill the waffles and let that cure before setting the tile?
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:58 AM   #7
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yes, actual 2x10" joists with rough texture as well. Subfloor was T&G I believe but was just screwed, not glued. The span is 16" OC.

Ditra was not allowed to cure before placing the tiles but all little squares were made sure to be properly filled.

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Old 01-26-2011, 12:18 PM   #8
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actually, just nailed, not screwed
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:28 PM   #9
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I think the movement is from the plywood's less than full contact with the joists. Not sure that there is an easy way to fix this.

The 2" minimum tile size has to do with point loading. A woman (or man, I suppose) in high heels could punch one of those waffles flat. Some folks pre-fill the waffles to be sure they are completely full, then take a chance that all will be well.

I don't know what to tell you. You've got 2 issues that I wouldn't want in a floor, and no easy fix. You could go ahead and grout and live with the floor for as long as it holds up, then do something about it. I don't know enough about this floor to say how big it is or how you intend to use it, so I can't guess as to your risk of failure.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:42 PM   #10
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It is a 6'x7' main bathroom of our house. There will be no high heels on it and if I catch anyone with heels

All sub-floor issues aside, if it was a stable floor, what grout would you choose to use on it?

Thanks
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:02 PM   #11
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If I couldn't find the Permacolor Gregg was talking about, I'd use an unsanded grout. I'd mix it as stiff as I could, then if there were any shrinkage cracks, I'd mix another batch but a bit looser, and go back to fill in the cracks. Pros don't like doing this because it means 2 trips and only one is paid for. In the old days, there was only unsanded grout, and the tile setters did what they had to do. Since they were often at jobs for weeks and months on end, that wasn't a big deal.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:08 PM   #12
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Thank you Bob and Gregg!
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:00 AM   #13
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Ya you are in a tough spot with the floor. I think the ditra was a mistake for that tile. But at this point like bbcamp said you may just want to go ahead and finish it and see how it goes. If it is just the ditra and not the subfloor tearing it up down the road to tile again won't be too hard.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:40 AM   #14
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This is a tough one to try salvaging.

That's why the others are suggesting to just leave it and enjoy it while it lasts. But if this were my house, I wouldn't want to throw another $30 in grout and the labor to complete that knowing that the floor is very likely to crack in the foreseeable future. I'd want to correct it now.

That Ditra wasn't designed for such small tiles. There is a 2" size minimum for a reason. With the size and location of the air grid within the Ditra, there's too many little tiles that are hanging out over the edges of the solid thinset pillars. They are unsupported. Even w/o high heals, the sound coming from the floor is telling you that there's a problem. Ignoring it or grouting it won't make it go away.

Out of a real long shot, how long has it been since you thinsetted the tiles down and what thinset did you use? Please be specific.

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:35 AM   #15
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Thanks guys,
To bad I didn't know about the 2" tile min. on the ditra

On a good note, we crossed braced the floor joists under the bathroom and have heard no more movement. I am hoping this is the end of it and hoping the Ditra will not be an issue with the small tile.

I tracked down the Laticrete Permacolor grout after quite the process. Turns out it is not carried in Ottawa where I live. When I called Laticrete they put me through to a rep. in Alberta and then he gave me the name of Bill Sturok who is a rep. in Montreal. Bill was AMAZING and met with me in Ottawa since he was coming to the area and gave me a sample to try. It worked great! I now have about 700+sq ft. of Travertine to install and think I will use the Permacolour again (they are 18" squares this time). Any advice before I get started?!

Time will tell with the Ditra issue but keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for all the advice.
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