Cracked Floor Tile


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Old 09-05-05, 02:40 PM
W
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Question Cracked Floor Tile

Hey - I need some guidance regarding ceramic tile flooring. We bought our house new, about 5 years ago. House is built on a slab, with tile in kitchen and baths. House was almost finished when we bought it, so all work was done by the contractor. We've not experienced any flooring problems until about 2 weeks ago, when a crack line showed up in one of the kitchen floor tiles. We've got a few spares and had planned to replace it on a low priority basis. This week, the crack has widened and small crack lines have shown up in two other tiles, located close to the first one but not adjacent. Nothing has been dropped on the floor that may have damaged the tiles.

I'm reasonably handy and we tiled a couple baths in a previous home with decent results, but I don't have a clue what's going on here or what to do about it. I can replace the tiles, but I'm concerned there's a much more serious underlying (no pun intended) problem. Any thoughts or suggestions are very much appreciated. Thanks,
Whit
 
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Old 09-05-05, 03:45 PM
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It sounds like settling movement. If you dug out one cracked tile I bet you will find a corresponding crack in the cement slab. If no crack were to be found then my guess would go over to "tenting". Thats where the tile are wedged against the walls with no space for the wall framing to move with changes in weather. Same thing would hold true if the space was left but it got filled in with grout. Usually the tiles buckle rather than crack.
Any heavy and prolonged rain lately that could have caused the slab to settle?
 
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Old 09-05-05, 06:57 PM
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Thanks for the quick response. We're about normal on rainfall for the summer, but it's actually been a little on the dry side for the last 5-6 weeks. Would you expect settling after 5 years in the house? The tiles need to be replaced, so I'll look for the crack. If it's there, any recommendations for dealing with the crack before I replace the tiles? Thanks again for the info.
Whit
 
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Old 09-06-05, 12:36 AM
diego79
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crack supression membrane

it is ideal to use a crack supression membrane directly over cracks when tiling over concrete.

At this point, just replacing one tile at a time, I don't see much that you are really going to be able to do.

One thing that I was taught in trade school is that "everything moves" concrete, tile, wood, everything in the house is going to move with temperature, heat cold, mositure, etc.

The tile is put down with the crack running down the middle. The tile is cemented on both sides of the crack, when the crack moves the tile cannot move with it. So it cracks. Even the slightest movement in concrete can cause this.

Prolly not the best answer but on the bright side the tile will usually last a couple years before this happens again.

(enough time for the contractor to long gone, which is an unfortunate fact in the world of tile =many problems don't show up until later)

good luck
 
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Old 09-06-05, 06:44 PM
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When you inspect the crack, look to see if it is a split, or a heave where one side of the crack is higher than the other. A heave cannot be tiled over without running the risk of the tile breaking again. If the crack is just a split then you can put a crack isolation membrane over it and retile. Usually you want to take up the broken tile and the ones next to it to give the membrane room to be applied. Do a Google for Noble Company, they make a good one.
 
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Old 09-06-05, 07:56 PM
diego79
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hey tileguybob,


In your experience how well does taking the adjoining tile up and putting only a crack suppresion membrane on that area work? In the job or two I've done replacing cracked tiles the cracks are not generally 2-3 tiles in length, many times they extend over a longer distance. As well the instructions I've read on the supression membranes generally ask you to cover a certain number of inches around the crack.

I do know that you can place tile directly over a crack and it still not crack for a few years (as is the case in my spec built neigborhood, alot of houses showing cracks all around the same time) so is the "band-aid" as described above workable for a number of years?

thx
 
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Old 09-07-05, 01:13 PM
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Hi Diego,

If it is just one crack then I do the thing I mentioned above. If there are cracks everywhere, it might be a good ides to put something other than tile down, unless they are spider cracks from shrinkage. A full membrane over the floor, like Ditra or the Noble membrane would be expensive but maybe the only thing that saves the floor from future damage.

To your specific question I like doing that in order to cover any minor cracking adjacent to the original one as well as it lets me "feather in" the tile over the membrane due to the minor added height there. Setting just over the membrane more than likely would create some lippage.

Hope that helped
 
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Old 09-08-05, 04:44 PM
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You might want to try a liquid memebrane to somewhat isolate the tile from th crack. Something like Redgard you can get at Home Depot. Ditra and Noble are excellent products, but they would raise the new tile up above the surrounding tile, since they are thicker than the liquid, paint-on types. They're not perfect of course, but better than nothing.
 
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Old 09-08-05, 05:24 PM
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I use Flexgaurd on concrete cracks all the time, thinner than the others and works great.
 
 

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