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remodeltime 07-30-2011 03:19 PM

Thinset Breaking
 
Hi All,

We are in the process of updating a new bathroom in an older home. The ceramic tile has been put in and the first time I walked on the floor today after waiting several days for it to completely set, the thinset was cracking all underneath where I walked, especially near the tub. It sounded like it was breaking in a large pieces. If I walked to a different spot in the room, I would hear breaking there, as well. I stepped out of the room, so no more would break and the installers could find out for themselves. Is this normal? It does not seem like it would be for sure.

For a back history, the ceramic tile is set on top of a thinset which is on backer board they installed. The backer board is on a wooden floor. Also, they left no expansion joint near the tub because they said it was not necessary. They also placed the tile into the grout directly next to the tub, and not into the thinset as all other tile had been placed.

Thanks for any insight you can provide! I appreciate your help.

mustangmike3789 07-30-2011 04:38 PM

sounds like a few possible problems. too much deflection in the wood floor. did they put thinset down under the concrete board or install it directly to the wood ? what type of thinset was used? min 1/8" joint should be near the tub with the concrete board and the tiles for expansion. grout is not designed as a setting material. cracking and popping is not a sound that i like to hear coming from a tile floor.
'

oh'mike 07-30-2011 05:27 PM

Keep us tuned in===this sounds like a failure ,I'd sure like to know what was done wrong.

remodeltime 07-31-2011 08:14 PM

I meant to mention the wooden floor is tongue and groove. I just read the receipt with the materials they used. They used 1/2" underlayment - permabase (Durock). They used Mapei Thinset Ultraflex in Gray. I think they nailed the underlayment on the wooden floor. I do not think there is any thinset under the concrete board. I did notice when they set the tile prior to grouting that the thinset was between some of the tiles and there seemed to be no room for grouting, as there was already no space left from the thinset. I do not know if that makes any difference or not though. I hope this helps some to understand what the floor is comprised of with this particular tile job.

oh'mike 07-31-2011 08:27 PM

The durrock should be over plywood--never over dimensional wood like oak or pine tongue and groove---thinset must go under the Durrock to ensure that there are no voids.

I think you see this as a failure already--might not want to waste time grouting it and just remove the work now and start over.

You are there and must be the judge.---Mike---

(Nice place for learning? To bad you didn't find this spot before the project started.)

remodeltime 07-31-2011 08:54 PM

Sadly, this is not a true DIY project. This was put down by a company who has been in business for decades. We went to them to get a "quality" job! This is their third attempt to get the floor correct. The first time, they laid the wrong tile, after me telling them the tile was not correct (may have been a language barrier). I came home to the wrong tile. The second time they did not lay the tile down in an aligned manner and it waved all over the floor when you walked on it and it popped loudly when you walked on the tile, as well. The sanded grout itself looked nice though. The company agreed it needed to be redone. The third time to lay the tile was was this past week. The grout is shaded differently throughout (used unsanded this time and refused to use sanded), some tile is set by grout and not into thinset, and this floor is popping, as well. I give up!! I really think we need to go with a different company. What do you think? Also, I am worried about recouping my money.

DannyT 07-31-2011 09:07 PM

you definitely need to get a different company. there are lots of companies that have been in business for years that do crappy work and just because someone has been doing something for 30 years doesnt mean they are good at it. i worked for a guy like that. worst plumber i ever saw, but he had a license.

Bud Cline 07-31-2011 09:15 PM

All cement board tilebacker is to be installed in a fresh bed of thinset then fastened to the subfloor.:yes:

Grout can never be used as a tile adhesive, that is not what it does, that is not what it is for.:no:

Just because the company has been around thirty years doesn't mean the installers have.:no:

JazMan 07-31-2011 09:42 PM

How on earth can something like this happen.......three times?

Quote:

I give up!! I really think we need to go with a different company. What do you think?
AHHHHH you think?

Quote:

Also, I am worried about recouping my money.
Demand they remove their tile work down to the plywood underlayment AND also refund 100% of your money too.

Jaz

oh'mike 07-31-2011 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JazMan (Post 697786)

Demand they remove their tile work down to the plywood underlayment AND also refund 100% of your money too.

Jaz

In the OP he said the Durrock was laid directly on tongue and groove wood without thinset---

JazMan 07-31-2011 10:23 PM

That's right, an even worse installation. The Three Stooges would have done better.:laughing:

Jaz

remodeltime 07-31-2011 10:50 PM

Thanks guys! You are the best. I am going tomorrow to recoup my money. I am going to find a tile person to hopefully do a correct job for good. Also, did I say we have been without a 2nd bathroom since Feb. 3rd?

One question for you all, before I leave this thread for good. You all seem so knowledgeable. In the FOURTH redo, I want to make sure I know exactly what I need for the room. Please review the following tile steps for my particular room and correct me if I am wrong:

1) Plywood over wooden floor
2) Thinset over plywood to prep for concrete board backing
3) Lay concrete Board
4) Thinset again
5) Leave expansion joint by tub by at least 1/8"
6) Place tile iNTO thinset
7) Grout into proportionally laid tile

My questions to you are the following:

1) Do you recommend a certain thickness of concrete board, as in 1/2" or 5/8"?
2) Do you recommend a certain thinset or concrete board?
3) Do you recommend a certain thickness of thinset?
4) We are using an octagon and dot tile. It is not expensive. Are we wrong to go with Daltile in this style when it is not an expensive tile? Would it last longer if it were a more expensive tile?
5) We have researched sanded vs. unsanded grout. Sanded seems to be the way to go, but they would not allow us to use it for the third job. Is it okay to use it for octagon and dot.
6) How to I go about finding out exactly what the next tile person will be doing exactly. Should I make them verbally tell me all details and give an estimate with ALL details? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

In the past, I had zero familiarity with tile. I have just learned all of this info. in the last few weeks. Sorry if any questions seem to have a lack of tile knowledge. Thanks in advance for your advice!

oh'mike 08-01-2011 06:26 AM

Buy this book--TCNA - TCA Publications

In a nut shell---Make sure the floor joist deflection is O.K. for tile.

Then make sure that the subfloor is strong enough--adding 1/2" or more b/c plywood (exterior glue)
over the 3/4"wood sheeting is minimum.

Next is the backer board--this adds no strength to the system--only an ideal bonding surface for tile.

The backer is set in thinset,just like one big ugly tile--then nailed with roofing nails or Rock screws.

After that goes the tile--set in a modified thinset.

Then grout---sanded grout for gaps over 1/8"

ttr13r 08-04-2011 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by remodeltime (Post 697832)
Thanks guys! You are the best. I am going tomorrow to recoup my money. I am going to find a tile person to hopefully do a correct job for good. Also, did I say we have been without a 2nd bathroom since Feb. 3rd?

One question for you all, before I leave this thread for good. You all seem so knowledgeable. In the FOURTH redo, I want to make sure I know exactly what I need for the room. Please review the following tile steps for my particular room and correct me if I am wrong:

1) Plywood over wooden floor
2) Thinset over plywood to prep for concrete board backing
3) Lay concrete Board
4) Thinset again
5) Leave expansion joint by tub by at least 1/8"
6) Place tile iNTO thinset
7) Grout into proportionally laid tile

My questions to you are the following:

1) Do you recommend a certain thickness of concrete board, as in 1/2" or 5/8"?
2) Do you recommend a certain thinset or concrete board?
3) Do you recommend a certain thickness of thinset?
4) We are using an octagon and dot tile. It is not expensive. Are we wrong to go with Daltile in this style when it is not an expensive tile? Would it last longer if it were a more expensive tile?
5) We have researched sanded vs. unsanded grout. Sanded seems to be the way to go, but they would not allow us to use it for the third job. Is it okay to use it for octagon and dot.
6) How to I go about finding out exactly what the next tile person will be doing exactly. Should I make them verbally tell me all details and give an estimate with ALL details? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

In the past, I had zero familiarity with tile. I have just learned all of this info. in the last few weeks. Sorry if any questions seem to have a lack of tile knowledge. Thanks in advance for your advice!

The backerboard needs to be 1/4" not 1/2"...the 1/2" is for walls. If I may add, you can get a thinset called Flexbond> It reduces or even eliminates tile from cracking. (as long as the subfloor is properly prepped). Prepping the subfloor is one of the most important steps in any install. The subfloor needs to be strong enough to support the weight of tile. The subfloor also needs to be stabilized. Flexbond is found at HD. I'm certain Lowes has a similar product that does the same thing. Daltile has been a reliable manufacturer. There are always going to be higher and lower grades of tile though, price is not always related to the grade of tile. As for the octaganal tile(s), it shouldn't be an issue at all. In fact, it looks really cool, very retro. As everyone else here has said, get rid of those "expert" installers. Wow!! bad news. Tile should never be set in grout. That is not made for setting tile. Also, don't worry so much about the thinset in the grout joints. I will say, however, a good tile installer should "make room" for the grout to be added. Sanded grout is for grout lines 1/8" or bigger. Non sanded grout is for 1/8 of an inch or smaller. As for whoever else you hire to do this, check their previous work if you can, yes, talk to them,( now you have good info from everyone here), and word of mouth is also reliable. Knowledge is power!


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