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gregw20164
Ceramic Tile - Grout Line Cracks
gregw20164

We had a flooring company install a new ceramic tile floor in our kitchen, the tiles are about 19 x 19. They installed and within the first few months the grout lines started cracking, and not just hairline fractures, but big chunks of grout. The company came out and regrouted. Within a few months again, we noticed the same big grout cracks as well as the "knocking" noise of a loose tile around several tiles. We had someone from a different company that was working on recaulking our showers and such, and they mentioned that it's likely that the tiles weren't installed properly, and most likely that the mortar may not have been of the right consistency, when those few tiles were installed.

This 2nd company offered to redo the tiles, but suggested that we get some extras because it is likely that some would break during the course of pulling up. Of course these tiles have been discontinued. So it seems like we are down to either re-doing the entire floor with a new tile, or continuing to re-grout the floor, with the same result.

Are there any other ideas? Is there perhaps a caulk or something that could get in there and work better than the grout for these trouble spots?

MLB Construction
Re: Ceramic Tile - Grout Line Cracks
MLB Construction

hate to say it but i think you might be up sh** creek. there are several possible reasons that could cause something like this to happen.

1. wrong thinset/mortar was used or not enough drying time was allowed before the tile being stepped on. on average, once a tile gets bigger than about 12x12, it taked longer for the thinset to set up due to the time is takes the thinset in the middle of the tile to harden properly.

2. was the tile installed over hardibacker or cementboard?

3. was the hardibacker or cementboard properly secured to the subfloor?

4. are the floor joists strong enough to have the proper lack of floor deflection?

5. was the grout installed when it was too dry to properly fill the joint?

6. were any tiles stepped on prior to them being totally set in the thinset/mortar? this can leave a void and the tiles can rock or make a popping noise.

the most common problem is #1, the wrong thinset/mortar is used and or it's not given enough time to preperly set up. when this happens, people will usually step on a tile before it's well set and the mortar will be compressed on one side of the tile essentially making it loose. grout has zero give to it and it only takes a the smallest bit of tile movement to make the grout crack.

dj1
Re: Ceramic Tile - Grout Line Cracks
dj1

Here's an idea: Use colored elastomeric caulking instead of grout. You can order any color caulking with a sample of your grout to match.

Caution: proper clean up is essential to avoid a big mess.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Ceramic Tile - Grout Line Cracks
HoustonRemodeler

For the grout to crack repeatedly you have to have movement. Tiles don't like movement. Had any of these tile installers checked the joist structure for proper deflection to know if the floor can handle tile ?

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