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  1. #1
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    Default crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    this is 5 yrs old Detached with deep basement. local tiles cracked & heaved in the basement hall way ajacent to the living room; Nothing else to be found structual issue.

    Could it be cause by normal settlement & lack of mortar? I am wondering poured footing under the dividen wall just end at this spot. Is it possible?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Tile tenting is what we called it in South Florida where it was, and still is (had an inspector down there call me today and ask about this), quite prevalent. Also common up there in too.

    Typical causes are:
    - floor not cleaned thoroughly and properly resulting in thin set adhering to dust, paint overspray, etc., on the floor, resulting in no or limited bond to actual floor
    - thin set spread out to far ahead of tile layer and thin set skins over, resulting in no or limited bond to tile

    When the tile is not fully and properly bonded to the slab, as the slab expands and contracts, the walls can push against the tile, shearing the poor adhesion of the thin set, which ends up with the tiles 'tenting'.

    The name is because when the tile is pushed inward from opposite walls, the weakest thin set bond goes first, and the tiles actually 'tent' upward at the joint between the two rows of tiles. I have seen tiles 'tented' upward so high that it looks like a line of pup tents lined up across the room at that joint.

    I have also seen it where the tile was a large 'inverted bowl' with the tile in the center of the room probably 3" or so higher than around the edges. Felt like walking on a semi-rigid dome - walk uphill, over the top, then down the other side.

    The solution is to remove the tiles in the affected area, all the loose tiles, scrape off the thin set (easy to do if the floor was not cleaned and that was the cause), clean and prepare the floor, then lay new tile.

    Not much else will address or take care of the problem.

    Small areas are not too bad or costly to correct, large areas are double or triple the cost of laying new tile as the old tile needs to be removed first.

    When we moved up here and remodeled the kitchen, we took the old floor tile up ... and it was mostly pretty easy because it was mostly loose from the floor. Same for our master bathroom. Our hall bathroom floor tile has the same hollow sound, so it is probably the same way.

    Like I say - real common in areas where there is a lot of ceramic floor tiles. That's why most home inspectors in Florida carry golf balls - bounce a golf ball on the floor and you will instantly know which tiles are loose and which ones are fully adhered to the slab below.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    very detailed, thanks


  4. #4
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    I don't see any tenting tiles in the photos. (And yes, I've seen it plenty of times.)

    I see a crack in one of them. A slab crack or other foundation movement/anomaly can also explain what you see. It seems to be exactly in line with the hallway...maybe a cold joint or expansion joint.

    Dom.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    I don't see any tenting tiles in the photos. (And yes, I've seen it plenty of times.)
    I see what is the beginning of tenting tiles, the tent is for small kids, not for big kids like you and I.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    FWIW:
    I use the term "tenting" when they being compressed towards one another, and form a tent; not just general debonding.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    FWIW:
    I use the term "tenting" when they being compressed towards one another, and form a tent; not just general debonding.
    Correct.

    And I see minor tenting in those photos.

    Tenting does not mean that they have to be tented up 1"-2"3" to be "tented", "tenting" has to start at some height, however low that may be.

    Your photos do show a good example of tenting for those who have never seen that before (I've tenting in which the tiles were higher than in the photo, and the tent line ran from wall to wall.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    I will always remember the worst one I have ever heard about.

    I was inspecting a house with tented tiles, about as much as shown in your photo for height, but which the ridge ran wall to wall, and was explaining what it was to my client.

    The real estate listened intently to my description and explanation, then told me what happened to her that same day a little after noon when she went to show a house.

    The owners were at work, it was hot during the summer (as South Florida is most summer days), so the owners turned the a/c cooler because they knew she was going to show the house. She opened the front door and was just about to step inside when the entire living room floor exploded in front of her.

    I suspect that floor was on the verge of breaking loose and tenting, instead, though, the thermal shock of 95 degree air blasting in over cold tile from the a/c having been set at 72 degrees simply broke all the tile loose at the same time. Instead of tenting along a line, the tile exploded off the floor into hundreds of tiles flying through the air, landing in thousands as pieces when the tiles hit the floor.

    The agent was still shook up, and for good reason too, she could have been injured had she walked to the middle of the room before all heck broke loose all around her. She said it sounded like a bomb went off.

    While I didn't get to see it, I did have a believer in what tile can do when it tents. I have heard of other floors exploding like that, but only parts of floors, not the entire floor, when tenting tile breaks loose, it may just tent upward, or it may all suddenly come loose at the same time, exploding upward.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    I have heard and seen tented tiles in South Florida. I also noted you were more lickley to have tented tiles the closer you lived to the ocean. I have also been told that the concrete can efferesence due moisture condisation caused by a cold floor and a warm room and cause the tile to loose its bond. Has anyone heard this before? You might want to seal the concrete before you tile.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Burkard View Post
    I also noted you were more lickley to have tented tiles the closer you lived to the ocean.
    Possibly because the ocean spray would be laying on the concrete floor and not get cleaned off (another reason why proper cleaning of the concrete floor is crucial to good tile bond).

    I have also been told that the concrete can efferesence due moisture condisation caused by a cold floor and a warm room and cause the tile to loose its bond. Has anyone heard this before? You might want to seal the concrete before you tile.
    I haven't heard of that before, but I guess it could be possible.

    If you seal the concrete before you lay the tile, the thin set will not bond to the concrete the way it is intended to, so I would say that sealing the tile would almost guaranty that the thin set would not have a proper bond, with the result being tented tile.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Possibly because the ocean spray would be laying on the concrete floor and not get cleaned off (another reason why proper cleaning of the concrete floor is crucial to good tile bond).



    I haven't heard of that before, but I guess it could be possible.

    If you seal the concrete before you lay the tile, the thin set will not bond to the concrete the way it is intended to, so I would say that sealing the tile would almost guaranty that the thin set would not have a proper bond, with the result being tented tile.
    Jerry, I'm sure you are not referring to using a waterproofing membrane - which does, in effect, seal the concrete slab before applying Thinset/mortar/tile adhesive. These product(s) - LatiCrete Hydro Ban - for one are specifically made for such applications. If applied properly, the surface provides a strong, flexible, waterprooof membrane on which tile (or other flooring products) can be laid.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Jerry, I'm sure you are not referring to using a waterproofing membrane - which does, in effect, seal the concrete slab before applying Thinset/mortar/tile adhesive. These product(s) - LatiCrete Hydro Ban - for one are specifically made for such applications. If applied properly, the surface provides a strong, flexible, waterprooof membrane on which tile (or other flooring products) can be laid.
    Ian,

    For some reason "flexible" and "tile" don't go together ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ian,

    For some reason "flexible" and "tile" don't go together ...
    I don't know if "flexible" is the correct term, but I would prefer to lay tile on sheet vinyl rather that on a concrete slab every time.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I don't know if "flexible" is the correct term, but I would prefer to lay tile on sheet vinyl rather that on a concrete slab every time.
    Not me.

    They do make crack separation membranes to be laid over tile so the crack does not transmit through to the tile, but that crack separation membrane is only one part of a complete system which is to be done, and that system is not for dry set (thin set) installations, it is for a wet set (mud base and mud set) installations.

    If you are serious about crack separation, then you really need to use the serious system made for it, not just slapping a Bandaid over the crack and then laying tile over the Bandaid.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: crack & heaved tiles in basement hall way

    Jerry
    The product IS flexible, insomuch that it is a semi-rubberized compound which, similar to floor leveling products, follows the contours of the surface, filling minor voids and cracks but remains pliable. It is not a substitute for (self) leveling compounds. I've used it many times where minor dampness and/or efflorescence is an issue, with mixed results. None of which involved tile heaving, loosening or cracking.


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