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Subfloor squeaky, newly laid tiles crack

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Posted by: from Winnipeg
6/7/2021 at 12:30:41 PM

Hi there! When installing tile on a bathroom floor that squeaks (as does the hallway), if adding additional screws didn't stop the movement/squeak. Should there be anything else done before the tiles are installed? In my case, no further steps were taken and there was cracking in the grout almost immediately. The contractor came back and added some grout over the cracked lines and about a week later it all started cracking again. He is blaming my floor and said the next step would be to silicone the tiles. Does this sound right? I feel like the subfloor should have been better prepped.

Subfloor squeaky, newly laid tiles crack
REPLIES (7)
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Date/Time6/7/2021 at 1:05:35 PM

After securing the subfloor with flooring screws. Did the installer glue down a tile coupling membrane? such as Ditra or strata? These materials are to be installed to eliminate squeaks and cracking grout.

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Kayla in Winnipeg
Date/Time6/7/2021 at 1:10:04 PM

No membrane was installed, just put right on the floor.

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Date/Time6/7/2021 at 1:11:42 PM

Hello there!

A couple things may be happening here.

1. The subfloor was not screwed down appropriately before installation. What is required is the floor to be screwed with 1-1/2" floor screws into the structural joists every 4" (might seem crazy but this guarantees no squeaks). I personally tend to walk my subfloor and bounce while I walk all over the area that is to be finished with tile or hardwood and put in a screw if I find it still squeaks in specific spots.

2. No additional subfloor or underlayment was installed prior to tile. No tile should ever be laid directly onto the original houses subfloor. After screwing down the original subfloor it is best practice and building code to install either 5/8" plywood or a uncoupling membrane like Ditra. If 5/8" is installed same 4" screw space applies. Ditra is installed with a mortar bed much like tile is.

3. Tile installation was not done properly. All floor tiles should be laid with about a 3/8" to 1/2" mortar bed troweled onto the subfloor or underlayment in equal amounts. Back buttering tile is also highly recommended to avoid grout and tile cracking. It should be noted that equal distribution when back buttering and troweling tile mortar is extremely important to avoid tiles cracking and moving over time.

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Dave from 360renos in Ottawa
Date/Time6/7/2021 at 4:02:07 PM

Hi Kayla,

Eddie and Corey are correct.

A uncoupling membrane should have been installed such as Ditra.

https://www.schluter.ca/schluter-ca/en_CA/Membranes/Uncoupling-(DITRA)/Schluter%C2%AE-DITRA-&-DITRA-XL/p/DITRA

Dave Bennett Owner - 360renos Inc.

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Date/Time6/7/2021 at 4:16:55 PM

This is unfortunate. I wish I had a easy solution to have your floor fixed. The only way to eliminate the problem is to have your floor re-done.

Let me known if you need any guidance.

Eddie

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Date/Time6/7/2021 at 6:48:09 PM

If the floor was not axcessable from an unfinished basement below. Then the floor should have been screwed down. Then a layer of new 3/4" plywood should have been installed. This would have recounting the tiolet mount and seal. As well as your vanity or free standing sink.

But the floor would be solid. With no future problems.

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Mark from CMJ Renovations in Oakville
Date/Time6/7/2021 at 10:48:25 PM

As many other of my trade friends have said, at the end of the day there was no membrane used, applied directly to the original subfloor is a rookie move and obviously wrong. The tile needs to removed and redone, silicone isn't used in tile installation proper membranes and a minimum of 3/8 to1/2" mortar. Sorry but there is no quick fix

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