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Old 08-01-2008, 06:25 PM   #1
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replacing ceramic tile


There is ceramic tile in my dinning room. There is one tile that is cracked, the previous owner said they dropped something on it, and one that is way out of level with the rest of the tiles. Also the grout is coming out all over. This weekend i am going to scrap all the grout out and re grout it and i figured while i am doing that i might as well replace the two tiles. What is the best way to remove the old tiles and thinset to put down new tiles? Hammer and chisel? Thanks for any advice with this.

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:00 PM   #2
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Cracking grout is the sign of a more serious problem with the overall installation. I doubt the new grout will last because the grout isn't the issue.

The best way to remove those tiles is to cover them with cellophane packaging tape or duct tape and pulverize them with a hammer. The tape keeps the flying debris under control. Remove the pieces and scrape the adhesive back down to the the substrate. The pieces will have very sharp edges so be be careful, wear gloves and use eye protection during the demolition.

Just for fun use a wooden broomstick and tape on every tile. Listen to the sound you get. If the sound is hollow the tile is loose. I'll bet you find some. If the sound is solid the bond is in tact.

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Old 08-01-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Bud. I did a lot of searching and from what i read on here from previous posts sounded to me like the grout is failing, maybe from mixing with to much water or something. I didn't tap on them with a broom but to me it was more like the grout is just coming apart, chunks of it coming out. I'll do some checking tommorow with a broom to see what i find but i think i am just going to remove the grout for now and replace those 2 tiles and re grout. It will cost me some time but not to much in materials so if it is a bigger problem i won't be out alot of money and will have to deal with that then.

Is there any advice/tips on removing grout? I have a dremel and rotozip and bought the grout removal attachment for each of them and also bought a grout saw. hopefully these work alright. What is the best way to scrape the cement board after i remove the tile, masonry chisel and hammer? Thanks again for the help with this.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:37 PM   #4
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I have had great success using my RotoZip with the router attachment and the tile bit. Set the depth correctly and the bit will glide along the tile edge without damaging anything. Never tried the Dremmel angle thingy.

Quote:
...previous posts sounded to me like the grout is failing, maybe from mixing with to much water or something.
OK whatever you say but todays grouts are usually good performers, it's hard to ruin grout using too much water but it can be done I suppose.

Quote:
...to me it was more like the grout is just coming apart, chunks of it coming out.
And that is what is telling me the structure is not adequate and you have movement in the substrate.

If it was too much water the grout would simply fail in a dusty fashion and be soft when you dig at it.

Even weak grout from overwatering doesn't just one day decide to chunk without some encouragement from something.

I think you are using the correct approach at this point. Fix it and wait and see.

Last edited by Bud Cline; 08-01-2008 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 08-01-2008, 10:56 PM   #5
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Any of the three tools will work. Try them and report back.

As Bud already mentioned, I doubt the grout is at fault. If grout cracks, you have movement in the floor. The grout is supposed to crack in cases like that. You certainly wouldn't want the tiles to break first.

Use a broom stick, or the handle of a screwdriver, (bounce a golf ball if you're feeling lazy), to check the bond. I'll guarantee at least the few tiles where the grout is cracked are being held in place by gravity.

You seem to know there is cement backer under the tiles, are you sure? Any idea if there's thinset under it? Do your repair, hope it works for you.

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Old 08-03-2008, 08:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for the help guys. I have most of the grout torn out, what a pain that was. the grout removal bits for rotozip kept snapping and i tried a tile bit that worked good for a while but then burnt up. Dremel worked alright for a while but then burnt up. Grout saw works pretty good but gives the arm a nice workout! Hammer and screw driver worked alright. You guys were right about the floor. There is hardi backer under the tiles but not in thinset, they used drywall screws that don't even go all the way threw the subfloor, they didn't tape the seems of the hardi board, and probably alot more i can't see. Probably should just rip it all up and start over but can't at this time so a temporary band aid is going to have to do. Thanks again for all your help
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:10 PM   #7
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Just for future reference:

Quote:
"There is hardi backer under the tiles but not in thinset,..."
That right there is more than likely the root cause of the cracking grout problem.

Cement boards are to be placed into a fresh bed of thinset mortar not to glue them to the floor but to eliminate the cush that will result from the voids when the boards are screwed into place. ALL cement board manufacturers require it.
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:05 PM   #8
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OK you tile guys....

Go back to a project you finished a few month back and do the broom stick thing.

Don't worry, that hollow sound you hear is the small void (air pocket) that remains after setting tile in thinset spread with a notched trowel.

If you are inspecting some other guys work it must be loose tiles...
and the whole floor needs to be replaced.

ponch,

I don't like tile on anything, but a well poured slab with 6x6 wire mesh.

Lot's of stuff to HELP make your project work... Check out latex additive
to your new grout and prep area with bonding agent.

Will this problem come back? ....... Maybe

Last edited by Big Bob; 08-03-2008 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
OK you tile guys....

Go back to a project you finished a few month back and do the broom stick thing.

Don't worry, that hollow sound you hear is the small void (air pocket) that remains after setting tile in thinset spread with a notched trowel.

If you are inspecting some other guys work it must be loose tiles...
and the whole floor needs to be replaced.


If the tiles are installed properly there won't be any hollow reports when sounding the tiles.

Quote:
I don't like tile on anything, but a well poured slab with 6x6 wire mesh.


You don't use (and never need) wire mesh on concrete.

Quote:
Lot's of stuff to HELP make your project work... Check out latex additive
to your new grout and prep area with bonding agent.
No properly prepared tile substrate requires a special bonding agent.

Most of todays cement grouts already have the required additives and to add you own will only wreck the chemistry of the grout.

Yet another post from someone where rules mean nothing and researching proper methods just isn't necessary.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:10 PM   #10
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Sorry if I hit a nerve. ( so lets attack the poster) hmmmm..

So now you want us to add if installed properly to the "hollow report" thing.

Before the widespread use of Fiber Reinforced concrete 6x6 wire was the spec. (or was this before your time) Today's FR concrete slabs are subject to spider web cracking. So a CYA prep: liner is recommended before tile on FR slab.

If the substrate was installed properly that happens all the time

I'm sure glad you have never had to try a solution outside the box. Think of all the money you have made.
All of today's product are perfect right out of the package.

PS. This possible solution was recommended and used on four projects with similar problems. This was my tile subs idea- 80 years in the biz... and top notch reputation ... No call backs or complaints. These were insured loss clients..looking for any little thing to go wrong...and they have a 5 year warranty.

No offence intended...

PS PS I like your "cover it with packing tape recommendation" I know a guy that lost an eye to removing ceramic tile.

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Last edited by Big Bob; 08-03-2008 at 06:59 PM.
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