Is Glazed Ceramic Tile Permeable To Vapor? - Flooring - Page 2 - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 04-08-2013, 12:46 PM   #16
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I appreciate those who have tried to help us.

I want to clarify something. Our symptoms began right after the old tiles were removed and only the mastic (cutback) and old plywood remained.

Since I posted the first message in this thread, I learned that
A) old cutback can re-emulsify and possibly never cure. (The abatement company used water when the removed the tiles.) It will wick its way through.
B) You should never lay tile over old cutback mastic. It should be scraped down to a film.

I wish had known those two things before.

We have installed a ventilator and have an air purifier running that is designed to remove VOCs. This has been hugely expensive, and we need to make a decision as to what to do.We are getting close to tearing out the floor.

If there is anyone out there who knows of any alternative to tearing out our floor, please let me know.



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Old 04-08-2013, 01:49 PM   #17
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Pam, not too sure I can add anything really useful to this thread but I'll try.

Look, it appears you are particularly chemical-sensitive - who know why, but you are. Sorry 'bout that; but knowing that, there will be a certain added cost associated with materials and processes you use in renovations, and this may just be a good chance to become aware of that fact first-hand.

One you tiled over (what thinset did you use?) a cutback adhesive for linoleum, you have given yourself a few more headaches than you already have. But there 's some good news, of sorts: it's on plywood, so it is relatively easy to replace the right way.

And by that I mean, do the deflection calculations to ensure that you actually can just tile over plywood. Because in many cases you can't without adequte preparations. So although it means ripping up the existing tile job, it's one avenue your sensitivity will, alas, take you down. Cut the plywood out altogether and replace it with T&G 5/8"...

Look, it only takes a few parts per million for adhesive solvents to become noticeable in the air we breathe; so you may be running that air scrubber for a while with no guaranteed, I can only put forward that you cut your losses now and replace the floor. And to start that you'd need the exact dimensions and the nature of the floor joists underneath.

Wish I had a cure-all for you, but I don't.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:20 PM   #18
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I'm very sorry to hear of this problem for your family.

You definitely need a reputable company conduct a thorough air quality test. At the same time you should consult with a doctor who is knowledgeable about these things.

As for your floor, at first I thought you had a concrete floor, but then you said concrete backer was installed, is that right? If your floor is a suspended wood structure, please tell us how it's built. I'm not necessarily interested on the joists at this time, just the layers of sub flooring and underlayment over the subfloor.

I recall you said you had 9x9" tiles. I'm guessing they were vinyl asbestos, (and not asphalt), on account of a plywood underlayment and the cutback adhesive. Can you verify that? You said there was no asbestos, please clarify.

At another time you mentioned cutback and laying tiles over it. You didn't do that, did you? Concrete backer was installed over it, right? Normally you'd have a thin layer of underlayment over the subfloor, to which the tiles are bonded. I'm wondering why this 1/4" ply (if there), was not removed.

TILE GUY - retired- TROY, MI - Method & Product suitability consulting.

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Old 06-28-2013, 01:24 PM   #19
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Jaz, as you can see, we are still dealing with this issue, even though it's late June now. To answer your questions-- the house was built in the 50's, and the original flooring was 9x9 tiles on plywood, with some kind of black adhesive. We know this, because we had an abaatement company tear out the flooring down to the plywood. We have no idea if the tiles or adhesive have or had asbestos in them--we were just being careful and used an abatement company just in case. We have a basement. When the abatement company tore out the flooring down to the plywood, my son and I started having a reaction, but figured once the tile was put over the plywood and adhesive, we would be fine. But we still were having reaction to it after the new flooring was put over it (thinset, then Durock, then more thinset, then matte glazed ceramic tile. We finally had our air tested, and it showed elevated formaldehyde and elevated alcohol. Neither were extremely elevated, just elevated. My son and I are chemically sensitive, so it's enough to make us feel terrible. We got an air purifier and it has helped, but we still have problems. So now we are thinking of putting a sealer called Mexeseal over the floor to see if that might block the vapors from coming through. We have no idea how the vapors could be coming through glazed tiles, but we have already sealed the grout with a blocking sealer, and we still are having the reaction. No one we have talked with has heard a story like ours--lucky us. No one is at fault--the abatement company and our floor installer did everything they said they would do. We are just very sensitive. We figure that the formaldehyde must be from the plywood that was exposed when the 9x9 tiles were ripped up, but we don't know where the elevated alcohol level is coming from. Do you think the old adhesives had alcohol in them? The report said that solvents can have alcohol in them.
Anyway, we are trying to figure out a way to keep from tearig up this beautiful floor andalso the plywood. So next we're going to try sealing it. If you, or anyone else has any other suggestions, please let me know, and thanks,
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:36 PM   #20
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Wow. That's terrible that you are still dealing with this.

As a test what if you covered the floor with thick plastic and taped all the edges down. Use cardboard as a temporary floor. I was going to suggest plywood or luan but the could have chemicals. My thinking is the plastic would seal in whatever might be the issue.


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