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Thread: Exterior tile and grout failing.

  1. #1

    Default Exterior tile and grout failing.

    Last summer I had a licensed contractor install exterior grade quarry tile on my covered sunporch. The grout is in one area of the floor has developed multiple cracks and 4 tiles in a row have a hairline crack.

    What are possible causes?

    I paid big money to have this installed professionally to avoid this very problem.

  2. #2
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold


    it's their fault, as you say you hired professionals. Call them back in right away.

    To answer your question, tell us about the building, the support under the sunporch floor, and your climate.


  3. #3
    In the Trades AZ Contractor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Phoenix, AZ


    Sounds like your porch floor is too weak and flexing too much.

    Unfortunately, they should have told you that the deck was too weak as a professional but they technically don't have to.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    To solve this, we'd need to know how the porch floor is constructed; is it wood, concrete slab, up on piers. Also, the structure could be fine, but if they did not install properly, that can cause problems - expansion joints are required, depending on sun exposure, size of the installation, and proper grouting to allow for expansion (there should be a gap against, for example, the house).

    If they used cbu on top of a wooden subfloor, did they tape the seams, did they install the proper fasteners, did they install the cbu in a bed of thinset?

    Normally, cracked tiles are the result of either improper structure (moves too much), or incomplete coverage of thinset, which therefore can't support the tile properly from point loads.

    Also, you didn't mention if this was in an area that sees freezing temperatures. Improper slope so there is standing water (even though it is covered, it's not uncommon to get wet) during a freeze cycle could severely impact integrity.

    A tile that can absorb moisture, will likely fracture during a freeze cycle, so drainage and proper installation is essential. Outside, people often find that a good quality porcelain stone look tile survives longer since it can't absorb much moisture (typically much less than 1%).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014


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