Tiles popping....?

Posted By: shuffles

Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 03:17 PM

There have been three instances of floor tiles "popping" out, not one but several at a time. All of them have been within the last couple of months, and between the Island Supermarket and BYC. Has anyone else noticed this happening lately? I am wondering if the ground is shifting or if it's just a fluke that this has happened like this. Ours was in one of our rooms downstairs.....another was in one of the apartments above Fairdale Plaza.

Odd, just thought I would check and see if anyone else has noticed this.
Posted By: JZB

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 03:27 PM

I think it has more to do with moisture and temperatures than with shifting ground. I hear of this happening to people often.
Posted By: Phil

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 03:29 PM

Common when it gets colder for prolonged period in a concrete building.
Posted By: shuffles

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 04:04 PM

I can see that for the ones on the ground, as it was "cold" for a few days this past week. The other one was on the second floor of a building, not when it was cold.....
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 04:44 PM

Originally Posted by shuffles
I can see that for the ones on the ground, as it was "cold" for a few days this past week. The other one was on the second floor of a building, not when it was cold.....

In november it was very cold here, for a while. That was probably when the loosening occurred, then slowly but surely the adhesive between the floor slab and the tile will have been getting weaker and weaker until .... POP.

It is something to do with the fact that typically the tile layers here do not lay down enough thinset adhesive (should be 1/2 inch thick) and because they rarely put in expansion joints to allow the tile to move a little during temperature fluctuations. Because the tile can't move (hits the walls) it gets jogged loose instead of expanding and contracting.
Posted By: Dane

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 06:34 PM

The thinset should be applied on both the tile and the floor.
They often use material that is too dry or don't use thinset at all just wet cement.
All about ignorance among guys who have otherwise done a lot of attractive tilework.I fired two in a row for refusing to do it correctly even after learning how.
Your concrete may fail also over time unless you cured it and that is rarely done in Belize.Windy and sunny conditions make that problem worse.
The cost of curing is almost zero. The cost of not curing? See all this cementwork with the surface letting loose?
This effect is called spalling from badly cured concrete. It must be kept very wet for a week after hardening. Not a light mist for a couple minutes. Most Concrete work in the Cayes would have been torn out right away in a real project with an inspector in the 1st world for lack of curing.
Posted By: belizeonthebeach

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/03/11 07:35 PM

The tile popping up is a temperature versus improper installation situation.
Tile and concrete are of different density, hence they expand and contract at different rates. That is the reason for tile grout. Tile grout expands and contracts. For years (and sadly--to this day) tile setters did not use grout. I was expensive and deemed useless. They grouted the tile with cement or used the thinset as grout. This does not allow for expansion and contraction. When the temperature gets cold for a few days the concrete structures actually shrink. And up pop the tiles as they contract at a different rate. Every popped tile I have seen here was grouted with cement or cement based thinset.
Posted By: Dane

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/04/11 01:33 AM

Another common problem is the tile applied too soon on concrete dried less than three months. Look on the tile back for your answer. Glue didn't touch in spots on the floor?Too irregular floor and not enough thinset. Concrete surface pull off with the tile?
Thats spalling.
Tile cracked esp. on the edges of the tile and the room? Expansion problem as noted by others. The temp range is so small there should be no problem without a bad installation.Much tile work lives in the 80+degree range of differential temps., sometimes for thousands of years long before grout was invented.
Posted By: belizeonthebeach

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/04/11 06:23 AM

We are talking about tile that explode in the middle of the night shooting shrapnel everywhere. I lived in a place like that 17 years ago. It is always on a frigid (for here) night after 3 or 4 days of cold weather. That's how long it takes for a concrete structure to cool. It's pretty freaky and dangerous. The bigger the tile the more dramatic it is. The next time I get a call from some folks (I get 2 or 3 a year) who are scared shitless I will invite you over
Posted By: Dane

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/05/11 09:36 PM

Quite interesting post.I have not seen one explode. If it happens soon could you look on the back and see if the tile glue adhered to the floor and tile everywhere?
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/06/11 01:30 AM

When they explode it is very dramatic. The description would probably be more like shatter than explode, but the accompanying shrapnel and sharp crack sound can be very scary. Not much evidence to look at after the fact.
Posted By: belizeonthebeach

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/06/11 04:23 AM

Hi Dane,
It would not make any difference how the tile is attached. I don't care if you bolt the tile down. It would still shatter and send shrapnel throughout the room. It is extreme lateral pressure with no where to go but up.
Posted By: Phil

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/06/11 03:24 PM

It happened to us a few years back in a rented house, also in the middle of the night. I guess thats when it's coolest and the biggest difference in contractions between the slab and the tile adhesive. We thought a gang of armed bandits were in the house having a shoot out. Not the most pleasant of awakenings and then sneaking round the house with a basaball bat wondering what the hell you are looking for...........
Posted By: t42

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/13/11 04:44 PM

Bottom line it is still the fault of being improperly layed and with the wrong adhesive or the cold would cause this to happen everywhere.
Posted By: hazzyy

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/13/11 04:56 PM

I've done a lot of custom tile jobs in the States. When laid correctly tile becomes part of the substrate it's laid on. If laid properly the tile will crack and shatter like hot pyrex in cold water.

Thinset doesn't have to be 1/2" thick, you don't have put the thinset on both the tile and the floor (back buttering is good for natural stone but not always necessary) but it is best practice to key in or burn the thinset on to the floor for best adhesion. If you're working with natural tiles (stone/marble/etc...) it's good to wipe the back of the tiles with a damp sponge.

The problem I find most of the time here is either:

1. The substrate isn't properly cleaned before hand. A lot of times they just sweep it and that's it. That leaves a lot of dust/dirt on the substrate.

2. They lay one tile at a time and by the time they get half way through a bucket of thinset it's already skinned over and too dry.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/13/11 05:02 PM

Thanks for the additional info. I have some tiles that are getting loose and I am hoping this cold snap doesn't create more problems! But when it comes time to re-lay the tile I want to get the job done correctly.
Posted By: shuffles

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/13/11 05:55 PM

We ended up having to tile the entire room over. They did it correctly this time, and will probably outlast me! Amanda, we had John Harvey do the work and he was very intricate. Sanded down the old tiles to make sure there was no epoxy/grout/glue/etc. remaining on them, then retiled the entire room.
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: Tiles popping....? - 01/13/11 06:04 PM

Thanks for the info shuffles. I hope that you don't have to go through that experience again.

John Harvey is a great "all around" jack of all trades. And a nice man too.
Posted By: LaraTravelBelize

Re: Tiles popping....? - 02/01/11 06:13 PM

tiles popped (8 total, two rows of 4) the first time about 3 years ago. then about 6 months ago, the entire dining area in my house popped.

when you knock on the tiles in the kitchen, you can hear the hollow sound of nothing between the tiles and the ground.

i was told by several people that this is due to cheap thinset that was used years ago (my house is closing in on 15 years old).

sucks, but i'll have to retile my entire house...first need to sell more weddings as i need a new floor, new roof, new kitchen, new bathroom, new ceiling, new doors, new windows....*sigh* - home ownership!

seems my house, like me, has reached the end of its shelf life! Time for reconstructive surgery!!! laugh laugh
Posted By: tacogirl

Re: Tiles popping....? - 03/05/11 10:03 PM

I have also had this happen and been told improper application of thinset was the problem.They need some sort of Home Depot courses here for such things.
Posted By: Dane

Re: Tiles popping....? - 03/06/11 09:09 PM

"you don't have put the thinset on both the tile and the floor (back buttering is good for natural stone but not always necessary)"
Perhaps you could comment on an experiment we have done several times.
We find that the laid concrete substrate here is rarely smooth. By thinly buttering both sides with a notched trowel and hitting it lightly with a rubber hammer, you can peel it up right away and find more than 80% of the back is adhered completely.
Tile guys here don't do that.I have had a least five workman peel off a few tiles while laying and the stuck-down-fully part is often 50% or less.
They say "doesn't matter' or "you doh know nuttin about tiles dem"
Posted By: jamesp

Re: Tiles popping....? - 03/15/11 08:17 AM

The weather is 10% cause of tiles popping
but the tiles popping 90% is cause of worker,
some workers use cement only, some workers use wrong ratio of water to mix tinset, when you see the surface of popped tile has no any tinset on it! you should 100% sure it's worker's problem.
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