Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
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aureole
6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
aureole

Hello! Another DIYer who probably got in over their head :)

I'm trying to determine if I'm about to have a problem and if so, how to get ahead of it. My husband and I laid our bathroom floor about 7 months ago (around August/September). The bathroom receives daily use (shower, toilet). I thought we did the necessary research and understood the procedure but these past few weeks I've been hearing "popping" noises from the bathroom during the early morning hours (3-5am). I never really hear it during the day and it will just be one "pop", then a long pause (hard to say how long, I'm usually half-asleep when they happen) followed by another single pop. We've determined it isn't a ghost ;) I'm concerned it might be the tiles slowly popping loose from the cement board, because I feel like some of the tiles are showing more lippage than they used to (my husband disagrees). My husband believes it might be our vanity (??) because it's wood (just a standard builder grade oak vanity I refinished, with the heating vent coming out directly underneath it).

We have a wood subfloor and did the following:
cement board, with thinset (3/4" trowel) and 1 1/4" cement board screws
redgard on the cement board
thinset
ceramic plank tiles (6x24)
1/8" space between tiles
sanded grout

We actually left pretty darned large gaps around the perimeter (covered with trim), so I don't think it's the tiles not having enough space to move when the walls breathe. My tiles do not sound hollow, crunchy and do not move when I jump around on them. Pretty much the only reason I'm here is because I feel the lippage seems to be worse and the popping noise (interesting to note: the popping noise actually seems to decrease when the bathroom door is left open at night, exposed to the warm air of the rest of the house).

I am wondering if the winter weather (nights can get very cold here; easily into the 30s) is causing the floor to expand/contract and thus making the tiles come loose from the thinset? My home has a crawlspace underneath it, meaning the subfloor is exposed to the elements to a certain degree. Anyone have any idea what's going on?

And if I do have a problem, is there a fix besides "tear up the floor and start again" (which would be my absolute last resort - but doable if no other choice). Would Fix-A-Floor repair adhesive do the trick?

A. Spruce
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
A. Spruce

Because it is occasional and only at night, I highly suspect that it is expansion/contraction of the floor. If the tiles were popping loose, you'd see cracks in at least the grout, probably both tile and grout. Chunks of grout may even flake out of the joints. If there are no visible signs, the only way to know if they're popping loose is to knock on each and every tile and listen for a hollow sound.

aureole
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
aureole

Ah, I forgot to mention the grout but it's also in fine shape as far as I can tell; no cracks, no flaking, etc. No tiles have cracks or anything like that. I've gone down my bathroom floor on my hands and knees knocking, and no hollow/crunching/odd sounds as far as I can tell. So it's not really something to worry about, then? Just normal expansion/contraction?

PS. Love your signature, it's so true, ha!

A. Spruce
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
A. Spruce

Probably not, and, unfortunately, since the noise is only occasional, sourcing it is going to be tough. At any rate, it does sound like expansion/contraction, which is normal and non-life threatening. If you do start to see signs of damage to the floor, then you'll have to address it at that time, until then, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

And, thanks for the comment on my sig. :cool:

dj1
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
dj1

"We have a wood subfloor and did the following:
cement board, with thinset (3/4" trowel) and 1 1/4" cement board screws
redgard on the cement board
thinset
ceramic plank tiles (6x24)
1/8" space between tiles
sanded grout"

It looks like you did everything right.

Go to johnbridgetileforum.com and post your questions there. You'll get answers from tile contractors who deal with this on a daily basis.

Tell them that Houstonremodler sent you, and he is wondering what happened to his donuts.

aureole
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
aureole

Thanks so much for the help and suggestions; I'll head over to the tile forum to see what I can dig up! The strange thing about my floor is I ran across multiple posts all talking about "the tile sounds crunchy/hollow/etc." (which I assume would be the thinset failing), but mine doesn't (...so far! *knock on wood*). It's also reassuring to hear we did everything right; I was beginning to worry we'd somehow missed an invisible vital step of some kind! :)

Jack
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
Jack

You might try covering the heater vent under the vanity for a night or two and see if the noise goes away.

Jack

dj1
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
dj1

I forgot to mention one thing in my previous answer, and it's called deflection. It may or may not be relevant in your case, but it's worth finding out. John Bridge has a deflection formula, you plug in your numbers, it tells you if your subfloor is fit to take the weight.

Mastercarpentry
Re: 6 month old bathroom floor perhaps in trouble already?!
Mastercarpentry

Likely the noise is from the heat vent or the vanity above it. Start with making sure the screws holding the vanity are tight. If the duct boot is attached to the vanity, it should have a little space around it so that it can expand and contract independently. Check that the diffuser screws are tight to the cabinet. Caulk where the cabinet bottom connects to sides, back, and front of the cabinet in case it's the bottom of that moving.

Hopefully that will solve the problem unless you've missed a ghost- there may be more than one you know :eek:

Phil

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