Re Installing Exterior Ceramics

Old 08-07-19, 03:18 AM
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Re Installing Exterior Ceramics

The main entrance to my house is 8 steps from the ground plus 1 landing at the top and another landing at the ground level. The steps are 8 feet wide, the top landing is 8x 5and the ground level landing is 10 x 10. When I bought the house about 22 years ago all steps and landings were concrete and I covered the concrete with 8x8 ceramics and lasted up to now which is pretty good considering the harsh winters we get up here in Canada.

Last week I was pressure washing everything like I do every year and the ceramics at the ground level landing started to pop out. The ceramics on the steps and top landing seems to be ok. I assume since the steps and top landing have a 3 high brick wall on each side they were protected from the frost and the bottom landing has the 3 sides exposed the frost worked its way under the ceramics to pop them.

The grout between the ceramics also came off and is attached to the ceramics solidly (I used a chisel to take it off and came off in big chunks). The underneath of the ceramics is clean like I never used any glue which is strange, The concrete top is covered with a smooth layer of white (I assume is the glue) and seems to be solid. When I say smooth I mean its like glass.

Can I just glue the ceramics back into the concrete?

Old 08-07-19, 04:16 AM
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You'd use thinset to adhere the tiles back to the concrete. It sounds like the original thinset might have been let set too long before the tiles were set. I'd rough/scratch it up some first to get a better bond. Grout is used between the tiles after the tiles have been put down and the thinset has dried.
Old 08-07-19, 06:00 AM
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I am concerned that you keep saying "glue" instead of "thinset". What product did you use years ago?

I would remove all your old glue/thinset from the concrete. A rotary hammer set to hammer only and with a broad chisel bit could make the job a lot easier. It would also leave a rough surface good for adhesion of new thinset.

If you can't get all the old thinset and grout off of your tile you can use a solution of Muriatic (hydrochloric) acid to dissolve it away. Unless you have extra tiles I would be VERY gentle trying to chip off the old thinset as you risk breaking the tile.

When re-setting your tile I would use a fortified thinset or get a separate additive to add to your thinset to increase it's strength. Most of these additives contain latex which helps the thinset flex a bit with seasonal temperature changes.
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Old 08-07-19, 07:10 AM
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You are right Pilot Dane, I shouldn’t have used the word “glue” and although I can’t remember what product I used I remember I used a milk like liquid additive for the mixing and I will do the same now.

Your suggestion of using a rotary hammer is a good one and I will do it.

The tiles came off with the grout stuck on the perimeter and it was very easy to remove the grout without breaking each tile. The underside of all tiles is clean like they are new!

My thanks to both for the help
Old 08-07-19, 09:49 AM
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Your in a freeze thaw area so it's going to be tough to keep them on.

Another option is epoxy thin set, that is the ultimate in hash condition mortar.

The base concrete needs to be super clean!!!

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