I have been researching for a number of days nows the subject of "Tile Failures over Wood Substrates" and there is a load of opinions and documented articles on the subject. I have found over the years that there is equally enough to learn from tile failures as there is to learn from tile successes - maybe more so. There is only a few handful of men and women who ever get their work published and then finding that exact issue or publication's magazine can be tricky.
I'll use this thread here as an index list here and try to find out who online is giving out the best advice and try and see if those in the know all think the same.
There is so many reasons a tile job can fail and blaming the "Framing" "Subfloor" "Point Loads" "Footing's" "No Footings" "Bowing Walls" and the like are all possible causes for a failed tile installation but says who? Is it your tile guy coming back to blame the carpenter. The carpenter blaming the tile guy. Maybe the general contractor blames the plumber. I would bet that there would be a lot of finger pointing on any job where the tile installation fails and someone is on the hook to make it right.
The first thing anyone should do when a tile job goes South is find out what is going to be do to repair it - BEFORE - any tile gets bashed out and any drywall gets ripped of a basement ceiling. What you might be left with is lot of ripped up flooring and ceilings and not one person working on your home. Many trades are paid a small amount for each step they do in a renovation and expecting a tile guy to redo an entire bathrooms floor tile is a long shot when the he might have only earned $300.00 installing the tile.
There are fixed costs in large repairs. You need to get the plumber back to remove the sink(s) and toilet. Get the stone guys back to remove the counters. Get the cabinet guy in to remove the vanity and then all the demo, the fix and re-tiling. Then what about the cost of the tile, the setting materials and grout. Don't forget the coat to put back all the stuff removed. Who pays and what really went wrong.
When faced with this situation you should really consult a pro. A tile investigator and you should expect to pay a good chunk of cash for this service. In the US call up the TCNA and find out what approved investigators are in your state. In Canada call up the TTMAC and do the same for your province. Now if you where wise you would have included in your scope of work or building contract that all the current specifications for the TCNA or TTMAC be followed in your build and you would have included that all work done on your home would comply with local building codes as well. With these little tidbits of info in your contracts and scopes of work you have a chance at getting these items fixed and the cost not hitting you in the pocket.
So What can go wrong? The answer is lots.
It will take your hours to read through these articles, but in doing so you will be all the wiser and understand a little more what to watch out for on your next shower build.
* Investigating Tile Failures on Wood-Frame Floor Systems by Frank Woeste and Peter Nielson
* Article Published in TileLetter in two parts January and February 2009
* Impact of Plywood Underlayment Direction by Frank Woeste and Peter Nielson
* Article Published in 2008 or 2009 - not confirmed
* Position of Underlayment to Prevent Cracked Tile and Grout By Frank Woeste and Peter A. Nielsen
* Article Published in TileLetter in June 2004
* Ceramic Tile over Wood Sub-Floors Regarding Deflection By CTIOA FIELD REPORT 2001-11-19
* Article Published in 2001 by CERAMIC TILE INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, INC.
* Attachment of Wire to Wood Floor Assembly (Failure #11) by Greg Mowat
* Article Published in December 2000
* Deflection Limitations by Dale Kempster
* Article Published in 1998 - not confirmed
Random Links on Tile and Plywood Installations
* Laticrete - Technical Bulletin TDS 152 May 2013 Bonding Ceramic Tile, Stone or Brick to Wood Floors
* Custom Building Products - Technical Bulletin TB22 2010 Installation of Ceramic Tile over Plywood Substrates with Latex-Portland Cement Mortar
* Ardex - Technical Bulletin TB168.004 2013 Ceramic Tiling with Optima, Isoflex and Ardex X56 on Particleboard\Plywood Sheet Timber Flooring
* Mapei - Reference Guide RGF0409 2010 Surface Preparation Requirements: Floor Covering Installation Systems
* Boise Cascade - Engineered Wood Products Designing for Ceramic or Stone Tile Floor Finishes