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Old 07-01-2013, 08:28 AM   #1
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


This is probably a topic that can be in two places, however, I'll start here. A few months ago, I had 16" X 16" ceramic tiles installed in my kitchen and breakfast nook. The two rooms are adjacent to each other and the kitchen is roughly 11'X11' and the nook is 10'X10'. The house is almost 10 years old.

Durock was laid over the vinyl flooring and screwed in every 6". The first floor sits over a crawlspace.

After the tiles were installed, some started coming loose and cracking. We went in the crawlspace to try and figure out what was happening. I was told that the I-joists (9.5" width) running 24"oc. The carpenter said they really should have been installed at 19.2"oc, but it is what it is. We also found a problem where two joined I-joists (supporting a load bearing wall) is buckling (topic for another day ).

We "sistered" the I-joists (nailed in sheets of press board against the webbing on the I-joists) in an effort to help limit the flexion. I'm just not so confident that this will do the trick. So, I'm wondering what suggestions there are for installing a support beam under the joists. There are support beams in the crawlspace, however, none are under the kitchen or breakfast nook. There is no damage, so I'm not lifting or correcting the floor. I simply want to place something solid under the beams to prevent the bounce.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Old 07-01-2013, 09:38 AM   #2
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


#1 No way should that tile board should have been laid over a vinyl floor.
#2 Just a guess but often times there's just 1/4 louon or plywood under linoleum which also should have been removed.
That's some small engineered floor joist for that far a spacing, what was installed over it for a subfloor and underlayment?

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Old 07-01-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


Trust me, I'm kicking myself (in hindsight) for not having them remove the vinyl floor. They assured me that it would not be a problem b/c the Durock was securely drilled in.

I believe the builder used 1/4" Luan laid over top of pressboard subfloor. And, I think it's 5/8" pressboard sitting on top of the I-joists.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:03 AM   #4
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


Don't know what to say.... but I think it's possibly a good idea if you're experiencing alot of deflection.... sounds like you are.

However, you might check some engineering figures on it before going to the expense and time of installing that beam.... as that may not be your material problem right now.

Your floor performance is a function of course of both your substructure and floor sheathing.

TJ has an engineering book, and a technical line that can probably give you your deflection criteria, given your product, spans,spacing, and beefed up web. I think you would want at least an L360.

But it also may be an issue of your flooring, or considered another way, an issue of your joist spacing. You might, (if possible /feasable), achieve better performance with installing additioal joists verse a beam support.

Or hate to say it, your flooring may just be defiecient and need 1 1/4 TnG super floor.

Just some ideas for thought.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:06 AM   #5
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


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Trust me, I'm kicking myself (in hindsight) for not having them remove the vinyl floor. They assured me that it would not be a problem b/c the Durock was securely drilled in.

I believe the builder used 1/4" Luan laid over top of pressboard subfloor. And, I think it's 5/8" pressboard sitting on top of the I-joists.

See my above comments.... we X-posted.... now I'm most concerned with your flooring.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:59 AM   #6
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In looking at the blueprints, I see that the builder used 3/4" T&G OSB (not 5/8" pressboard sitting on top of the I-joists - sorry) for the sub flooring.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:21 PM   #7
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


I think the problem starts with the cheap-ass builder who seems to build to the minimum standard to just meet code. Remember, code is the worst things can be done. The worst part is 24" o.c. No way was that floor gonna last a long time.

The handymen that installed the floor aren't much higher on my list. Also, no mention of placing a layer of thin set under that Durock? But that's the kind of work you get when they cut corners to keep the price low. Do you know how it was done using which specific products?

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Old 07-02-2013, 05:51 AM   #8
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


JazMan, you couldn't be more on spot. Many of my neighbors and I have echoed that same comment, about the builder and code. I know that no thin set was put under the Durock. Here is what I know: the I-joists (either TJI 210 or TJI 230, I need to get exact measurements to be certain which one) are spaced 24" o.c. Layered on top is the 3/4" t&g OSB sub floor, then 1/4" Luan, then vinyl (one sheet), then Durock (attached every 6" with screws). Then, obviously the mortar and tile.

That's the best I can do. I have another issue, that I discovered when I was "sistering" up the I-joists. At the end of a load bearing wall (supporting the tray ceiling and 2nd and 3rd levels), they used a double I-joist. When we were moving the insulation we saw that double I-joist is buckling. I'm waiting on the builder to reply to me regarding fixing this. The house is almost 10 years old, so if the builder won't cover this, I'm going through the 10 year Home Warranty.
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:55 AM   #9
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We found this when we moved the insulation, to sister the I-joists. The bottom floor is an open floor plan, with a tray ceiling. This is the location of the wall that supports the tray ceiling and upper two floors (it's the stairway wall).
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


Someone saw that and still went ahead and tiled the floor?
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:45 AM   #11
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@joecaption, no, this was not noticed until after the tile was installed.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:30 AM   #12
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Now it is very easy to be a Monday Morning Quaterback, and I have kicked myself many times for doing the same thing, but as soon as this so called tile contractor said that Durok would stiffen up the structure, you should have thrown him out on his axe.

Thin, Cementitious boards like durok have good compressive strength, but they have no flexural strength whatsoever. It takes a long time to overcome BS when you hear it from a so-called professional, but you have to learn to recognize it when you hear it.

It is pretty apparent that your home was built by a "Build them fast, not to last" builder. The fact that he built the kitchen floor to only allow the installation of a flexible material like Vinyl is incredible. After seeing how your TJI's buckled I will never ever use them, and I can honestly say that even before I saw this I would never ever use them in a crawl space, subject to changing temperature and humidity.

Were I you, I would take a good survey of your home and find the other things this guy screwed up and maybe you and your neighbors can take him to task. He should be run out of town on a rail.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:11 AM   #13
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That's the best I can do. I have another issue, that I discovered when I was "sistering" up the I-joists. At the end of a load bearing wall (supporting the tray ceiling and 2nd and 3rd levels), they used a double I-joist. When we were moving the insulation we saw that double I-joist is buckling. I'm waiting on the builder to reply to me regarding fixing this. The house is almost 10 years old, so if the builder won't cover this, I'm going through the 10 year Home Warranty.
Doloand... You are certainley getting a handle on the problems.

I would check your plans concerning those TJ's. Your plans may designate a specific assembly required at that point (web stiffeners and/or squash blocking) or your plans may just refer to manufacturers instructions that you have to go to their eng booklet on it. In effect, I'm saying your builder may have not built as designed... giving you perhaps a better negotiating position/point.

I like TJ's... but that is a primary weak point in their application. Their compressive streanth (squisability) and they provide some alternative assembly at those point loads.

Also... Could you tell me what a "tray ceiling" is..... it is a term I'm not familiar with

TIA

Best

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Old 07-02-2013, 04:53 PM   #14
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New ceramic tile coming loose and cracking


First of all, we need to identify the symptom. Are they coming loose, and then cracking? Or are they cracking anyway, and coming loose because of that? Yes, it makes a difference.

I don't see a problem with Durock over vinyl per se. There is no real connection between the Durock and the vinyl. The problems that can occur have to do with other things. Of course if the vinyl is padded, deflection can occur. If there was no thinset under the Durock, dips and high spots can occur. Also, what is under the vinyl? These are the real reasons going over vinyl isn't good. And without Durock, you have adhesion issues with tile to vinyl, so scarifying at a bare minimum has to happen.

If the tiles are coming loose, then it's likely it's a thinset adhesion issue or other problem (for example, water damage under the tile). Once they're loose, they could crack with foot traffic. On the other hand, if the thinset bond is solid, then they could be cracking, and coming loose due to whatever is causing the cracking (probably a deflection issue.)

Now that the tile is in place, it's going to be difficult to determine the deflection. Having said that, if you see any deflection with the tile in place, then you have an obvious and significant problem.

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Old 07-03-2013, 01:48 PM   #15
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"I don't see a problem with Durock over vinyl per se."

I am sure there are hundreds of people in the same boat as the OP is - yet what are those amongst them that post here - and the newbies - to learn from this "you did it this way, I do it my way, this is the problem, that is the problem" back-and-forth?

Look I don't want to compound the OP's miseries - they're already significant as it is - but if we must learn anything from this situation then the following must be said:

(a) the OP's house wasn't built to take tiles on the kitchen floor. If it were, the joist system would have been different.

(b) many of the big box stores direct their subcontractors NOT to remove any vinyl tile, sheet vinyl or linoleum, for reasons of liability in re: asbestos. Thus many of their subcontractors tile right over it.

(c) real tilers would normally use thinset to anchor down CBU's of pretty well any type; this is for solid bonding issues. Anything else would probably void the CBU warrantee.

The OP really doesn't need me, or anyone else, to rehash the problems he has with his floor - but if we are to do any good whatsoever for newcomers reading this thread and who have or are about to have similar problems, then hopefully they will learn something from this BEFORE they go ahead and compound the issue.

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