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Old 09-10-2011, 07:22 PM   #1
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


OK I'm hoping someone can help me with my flooring issue in the kitchen. We purchased a brand new home in May 2009. Our entire kitchen floor area is ceramic tile (approximately 300 sq ft). Ever since we moved in we have had nothing but issues with the grout cracking everywhere. In the first year, the house was under warranty so we had the flooring company out probably 1/2 dozen times to re-grout and each time it starts cracking again within 30 days. Now we are no longer under warranty and basically our on our own which is ok because I don't think they have any clue whats wrong or how to fix it. I'm hoping someone can really help us with some advise on what it may be or does anyone know a contractor in the Dover, DE area that may be able to assist us. We do have a finished basement underneath but I'm not sure what type of subfloor was used when they layed the tile. I have asked around and consistently hear it could be the grout they used, the subfloor not being secure and so on. It has been a nightmare and we are really desperate for some help.

Thanks in advance,

Dave

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Old 09-10-2011, 07:57 PM   #2
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


You need to help us---Lift out a floor vent if you have one and see what the floor is made up of.

How thick is the subfloor---is it plywood or OSB (flake board)

Is there a layer of cement board under the tile?

Or a layer of an orange plastic waffel looking stuf?

If there is an unfinished part of the basement--measure the floor joists--and tell us if they are regular wood --I-joists or web joists(2x4s built like a truss bridge.

How far apart--16"--24"" or what.

How far from the foundation wall to the center beam of the house.

Get all that and we can help---the failure you describe is most often caused by the floor system flexing---seldom is it the grout itself.---Mike---

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Old 09-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #3
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Hi Mike,

From what I can see there is cement board under the tile. I can't tell if it's plywood or flake board. The floor joists are wood and they are 14 1/2" apart measuring from the inside.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:59 PM   #4
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


There has been nothing wrong with the grout. The problem is "deflection" in the floor for some reason.

You have already said the floor joists are 16" on center and that is typical but:

What style are the floor joists?
What size are the floor joists?
What is the unsupported span of the floor joists?
What type of subfloor was used?
How thick is the subfloor?

You may still have a claim against the builder if the floor system doesn't meet minimums for a rigid floor tile installation and for some reason it obviously does not.

While looking inside that floor vent you must also determine if the cement board was placed in thinset. That may be difficult for a novice to determine.

If you can answer the above questions (ALL OF THEM PLEASE) we can proceed.

Your best bet will be to have a professional inspection by a qualified flooring (only) inspector if you choose to pursue the matter.

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Old 09-10-2011, 11:20 PM   #5
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Hi Bud,

Thanks for the reply. You are correct that I definitely need a professional to look at it. I'm located in Dover, DE. I'm having a tough time finding an expert and don't know where to look.

Any recommendations?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:29 PM   #6
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I can probably find you a ligitimate inspector but you haven't answered any of the questions that have been asked so far. Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Provide the information and we can proceed from there.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Hi Bud,

I'm going to answer the best I can

What style are the floor joists? No sure what you mean but they are wood
What size are the floor joists? They measure at 1.5x11.5 so I'm assuming that means 2x12
What is the unsupported span of the floor joists? The floor joist run approximately 14.5 feet from foundation wall to center beam.
What type of subfloor was used? Not really sure. I took some pictures of the bottom of it if you would like to see them
How thick is the subfloor? Not really sure how I can measure this but I did take some pictures of the bottom so maybe you can tell from what is written on it?

Let me know if you want to see the pics.

Thanks again for your help.

Dave
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:06 AM   #8
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Pictures will help--especially if the plywood has a stamp on it---

Your deflection should be O.K. for ceramic--not natural stone.

Deflection for your floor--567

Ceramic requires 360
natural stone 720

Suspect : Ply to thin--cement board not cemented-improper fastening of cement board---improper or defective thinset under tiles--
High humidity in lower level.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:52 PM   #9
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Hi Mike,

Do you want me to post pics right here or send out an email? Do you know anyone in my area (Dover, DE) that could possibly help me? I'm having a feeling the only way to fix this is to rip it all up which I'm fearing will cost a fortune.

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:13 PM   #10
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Post the pictures here--others come to learn.

Bud or Jazman will do their best to set you up with a pro. Both of them have experience in investigating tile failures and have many more professional contacts than I do.

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Old 09-11-2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Dave,

Please post the pictures, we want to see pictures.

Let's try to figure out why your installation failed. Someone obviously did a poor job, it sounds like poor installation perhaps by someone who doesn't know the right way to do it.

The joists system look OK, except we don't know the species of wood or the grade of the joists. See if you can get that info. The typical species and grade of 2x12" joists, spaced 16" and spanning 14'6" should be well within specs.

We need to know the thickness and what type of wood the subfloor is made from. It's probably plywood or OSB, min. 5/8", hopefully 3/4". This should be kinda simple to find out. Just look up from below, I'm sure you know what plywood looks like. If not, Google the words, then hit images. Your pictures would answer that. The sheets are stamped on the bottom, so also look for the thickness. It will say something like; 23/32" or 19/32".

Quote:
I'm having a feeling the only way to fix this is to rip it all up which I'm fearing will cost a fortune.
Yes you're right there. There little chance of fixing this without starting over.

Let's try this first, cuz an expert inspector will cost you $250-500 (or more), including a short written report.

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Old 09-23-2011, 02:09 PM   #12
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


I can't see the pics right now, but do you have blocking/bridging between joists? I have seen exactly your problem before and that was the cause. Heck, I even saw an episode of Holmes on Homes where they dealt with repeated grout cracking by adding the extra bracing. With the bracing the floor can flex as a whole, rather than small sections at a time. Maybe you have them already though.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:33 PM   #13
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


Before I start panicking I think I would grout 1 more time and see if they appear again . Maybe everything has settled and you just need to fill the gaps
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Old 09-25-2011, 04:28 PM   #14
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Need advise on grout cracking on kitchen floor


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Before I start panicking I think I would grout 1 more time and see if they appear again . Maybe everything has settled and you just need to fill the gaps
Waste of time and money.

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