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Old 04-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


I have granite (12" x 12&quot installed in an entryway and hall way. Over the years the granite has loosened in the hallway.

Pulling the tiles up I found that there was about 1/2" to 5/8" mortar over hardi backer. It turns out that the installer had used thick mortar to match up with a thicker tile that it is adgacent to. It had loosened its grip over time and the tiles wobble.

My thought was to add another layer of hardi-backer of 1/4" using a thin-set base. My question was how to fasten and bond the hardi-backer to the old hardi-backer. This will cut down the thickness of the thinset needed to fasten down the granite tiles.

I would like suggestions on how to attach the hardi backer to the existing including thinset and fasteners.

Thanks,

Jim

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Old 04-18-2013, 02:29 PM   #2
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


Sorry about the inches designation which brought up quotes. The tiles are 12 x 12 and the existing mortar is 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick.

Jim

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Old 04-18-2013, 04:31 PM   #3
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


You don't want to drive nails or screws through layers of set thinset. So, either pull everything out, including the old backer and thinset, OR remote the loose tiles, clean up under them, then resecure them down with new thinset.
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:49 PM   #4
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


This shows the picture of the tile removed.
This shows relative thickness of thinset over 1/2 inch.

Last edited by modela1; 04-18-2013 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Add text
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:35 AM   #5
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


The installer had no clue what he was doing. The seams between the hardi weren't taped and mudded. Also, was it screwed down with drywall screws or backerboard screws? I don't see any thinset on the installed backer board...were you really able to remove the thinset that easily?
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:30 AM   #6
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


The backer board was stapled and held with a few screws that stuck up slightly above. There are way to many joints in this area and no reinforcing mesh. The thinset just pops off easily from the tile and the backer board. You can see how clean it came with just a light scraping and vacuuming.

I would agree that it was a poor job by what was supposed to be one of the better local installers. The only good thing about it lies in the fact that it is easily removed from both the tile and the backer.

It took me about an hour to pull everything up. The substrate is solid. The fact was nothing seemed to bond. I just popped the pieces off the tile in the picture with a little leverage. It came off in big clumps. I think the grout was holding it together as much as anything. Once the grout started going more and more pieces popped up.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:04 AM   #7
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


Is there thinset mortar under the Hardie?

I suspect the "hack" used unmodified mortar, or just let the mortar skin-over before setting the tiles. Are the tiles porcelain?

I'd remove the whole thing since the boards are stapled and not nailed or screwed with the proper fasteners. Although it's possible you might be able to keep it and just add screws and of course tape all the seams.

So, this guy is "one of the better local installers". Don't believe that for a minute.

Jaz
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:28 AM   #8
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


The tiles are granite--galaxy granite.

I believe there was thinset underneath. The hardibacker seems well seated and the substrates solid. The fact that the thinset pealed up so easily off both the hardibacker and the tiles makes me wonder what he used or if it was too dry. It just came up too easily.

I was not impressed with the round blobs applied to the tiles but I suppose he did this to make up for the 5/8 inch gap between the hardibacker and the tile. I believe basically it was held together by the grout. When one loosened up they all just started loosening as well.

The only good thing was the fact that it was easy to get the mortar off both tiles and the hardibacker. Attached is a picture of the "sample blob". I have buckets full of these.

If you look closely you will see multiple unreinforced joints in the backer. I could cover this all with one sheet of hardibacker.

My concern is the 5/8 inch plus gap between the tile and the backer. That was why I was thinking about adding a 1/4 hardibacker sheet.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


Jim,

Yes sorry, of course it's granite, cuz the title says so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modela1
I believe there was thinset underneath.
That's not an answer. I need a yes or no. However............

I didn't realize he used the "5 spot" method. Rip it all out. That is not a suitable method for floors. It's only ok for vertical application in dry areas.

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Old 04-19-2013, 02:21 PM   #10
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


I am not surprised to find out the method was inappropriate. I must admit I would be concerned about getting the thing leveled out with that much of a gap. I think he took the easiest way out.

Am I right in concluding that this was a failure in the technique and the bonding?

Jim
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:39 PM   #11
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


It's hard to determine from here but; I think there's several problems.

He probably quoted the job then realized the floor was not flat enough for the tiles. So he used the five-spot method to make it come out better. The right thing would have been to stop and tell the customer of the problem. But doing that always creates more problems, so he continued. The job probably looked ok in the end.

He also either used the wrong mortar or mixed it too dry compensating for the anticipated thick blob so it wouldn't droop as much. And I'm positive he didn't hydrate the thirty Hardie. So several things. He may have done the same thing dozens of times before with no known problems. How long ago was this done?

Also, before you re-install natural stone tiles, be aware that they require a much stiffer subfloor system than ceramic tiles do. I'm betting your joists and subfloor isn't up to par either. Just a hunch.

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Old 04-19-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


The house was new sixteen years ago. The joist system is really solid and built to code so I am not too worried about that. We were dealing through the contractor so who knows what really happened to the tile. We have quite a bit of tile in the house and nothing except this has given us problems.

The tile in the kitchen is a thick sandstone and I think he just was too lazy to use a thicker backer board. I agree that he probably didn't hydrate the board or used the wrong mortar.

It started about eight years ago. I hate to say that we put up with it that long, but we did. The tiles wobbled and kept spreading. We were indecisive about replacing the kitchen floors and so we put it off.

I would like to eliminate the need for such thick mortar and so am looking laying an additional layer of backer board. There is definitely enough room for it.

I have done about a dozen or more tile jobs in the past. The most recent was a couple of commercial bathrooms I did in a building I build about four years ago. The tiles are porcelain (all the way through) 2x2. It was a lot of work but came out quite nice, I thought.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:47 PM   #13
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


How about this for a suggestion:

Jaz,

A few years back I had a tile floor laid over existing concrete in a sun room using a flexible underlayment. I think it might have been Ditra. It has stood up very well. Given that I wonder how this would work.

1. After checking underside tighten up all joints, add additional screws, and use fiberglass tape on joints.
2. Use an underlayment like Ditra. This will give additional height and cut down the needed grout thickness.
3. Remove old grout from tiles and rough up a bit.
4 Reset the tiles with appropriate thickness of thinset.

Thanks again for your insights.

Jim
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #14
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


Quote:
Originally Posted by modela1
The house was new sixteen years ago. The joist system is really solid and built to code so I am not too worried about that.
You should be concerned. Please define what The joist system is really solid means. You say and built to code. Is built to code a good thing or a bad thing?

Wrong! it's a bad thing. Code is the worst it can be, a home can be built better than code and for natural stone tiles, it has to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modela1
The tile in the kitchen is a thick sandstone and I think he just was too lazy to use a thicker backer board
Thicker, thinner, makes no difference. Backer board does not add structural strength to the subfloor, its purpose is to provide a tile-friendly surface for tile. Strength is gained by the proper joists and subfloor combination, which is different for natural stone than for ceramic. And, it can be much different than for regular flooring to meet code.

Quote:
I would like to eliminate the need for such thick mortar and so am looking laying an additional layer of backer board. There is definitely enough room for it.
Your thinking on this is all wrong.

In the last post you mentioned Ditra. Good move. But the subfloor still has to meet specs. Let's talk more later cuz I have to go soon. Meanwhile: go measure the joists and inspect them. Need to know; their size, species and grade if possible, their spacing, and the unsupported span. Also the type (s) and thickness of the subfloor sheets.

Jaz
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:19 PM   #15
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Hardibacker support for granite tiles.


I crawled underneath. It is post and beam 4x8 beams supported every 6 feet. The decking is 1 1/8 plywood on 32 inch centers. Like I say, it is very solid.

Jim

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