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I installed polished travertine marble over mud set walls in January 2009. Now it is almost May and the homeowner reports cracks that go right through the marble. I have never had something like this happen. I have been in the trade for over 13 years and never seen this. I have also talked to several 30 year plus guys who never heard of it either. The builder is trying to say my mortar bed failed. Not sure how that could happen since I have done everything exactly the same as I was taught and have done for years. The mortar bed was fully cured before I set the marble. Some of my friends think it is deflection because the floor joist possibly cannot support such a large amount of weight. Anyone out there with any advice!!! Im willing to replace the tiles but I feel that if there is something wrong with the structure that it will just do it again.
 

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Sounds like deflection in the wall, most likely outward on one side of the crack. Is this an outside wall, was the wall panelized? If panelized, it is possible that mating of two panels occured on your wall and they may not have been tied together well.

Is the room upstairs under an attic or over the center of span of the floor joists or on a first floor or basement? If on an outside wall, under trusses, its possible that settling of the weighted trusses pushed part of the outside wall out. If over the center of the spans, its posible that there is too much weight for the load rating of the joists and spacing. The builder should be responsible IF he knew that there was to be that much tile and didn't check spans, spacing, and specs.

Have you straight-edged the affected wall to see if it has indeed bowed in or out? (That's assuming you checked the walls to start and they were fine). Setting tile on walls won't bow them in or out and cause vertical cracks.

All in all, I would say its a structural problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like deflection in the wall, most likely outward on one side of the crack. Is this an outside wall, was the wall panelized? If panelized, it is possible that mating of two panels occured on your wall and they may not have been tied together well.

Is the room upstairs under an attic or over the center of span of the floor joists or on a first floor or basement? If on an outside wall, under trusses, its possible that settling of the weighted trusses pushed part of the outside wall out. If over the center of the spans, its posible that there is too much weight for the load rating of the joists and spacing. The builder should be responsible IF he knew that there was to be that much tile and didn't check spans, spacing, and specs.

Have you straight-edged the affected wall to see if it has indeed bowed in or out? (That's assuming you checked the walls to start and they were fine). Setting tile on walls won't bow them in or out and cause vertical cracks.

All in all, I would say its a structural problem.
Thanks Mike,I also forgot to mention that both cracks emerge from the corner of of the shower and go up diagonally on the two seperate walls. It is upstairs and I estimate approximately 2000 lbs. with tile. I have a good friend who is an engineer and he feels strongly that it is structural. I asked the builder if he had it engineered and he said no. It is not an outside wall either. The builder is trying to hold me responsible and I feel that Im being treated unfairly. I told him that I would split the cost of the tile and do the labor for free since we dont know exactly what is causing it, but he is still sticking to mortar bed failure. Not sure how to approach this. Any advice would be appreciated.

Jason
 

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.....and in this geniuses vast knowledge of tile mortar beds...what is it exactly that has failed and why is it the cracking is diagonal?

That's whole lot of BS coming from a guy that doesn't intend to stand behind his own work.

My guess is that the structure has shifted either under its own weight or from high winds or maybe foundation movement. You need your own structural engineer in there. Diagonal cracking is a definite sign of walls shifting - not necessarily settling - SHIFTING.:)
 

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I agree with Bud. It will be well worth you while to have a structural PE in there to give you an analysis of what is going on. That is much cheaper than even splitting the cost with the builder. You get the PE report, pass it on to the owner, and feel good about walking away.

You will get paid to redo the tile once the structural issues are dealt with. Stand your ground, don't back down. Hmmmmmm........sounds like a Jesse Jackson saying. :laughing::laughing:
 

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Diagonal cracking is unusual. Since this is a second floor, what's under these showers? Could there be a point load? I've seen plywood compressed between floor joists when there is no direct support for a wall that is carrying upper floor loads. I wouldn't offer up the freebie until the cause is determined. You might be doing the repair over again later.

Olzo
 

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I installed polished travertine marble over mud set walls in January 2009. Now it is almost May and the homeowner reports cracks that go right through the marble. I have never had something like this happen. I have been in the trade for over 13 years and never seen this. I have also talked to several 30 year plus guys who never heard of it either. The builder is trying to say my mortar bed failed. Not sure how that could happen since I have done everything exactly the same as I was taught and have done for years. The mortar bed was fully cured before I set the marble. Some of my friends think it is deflection because the floor joist possibly cannot support such a large amount of weight. Anyone out there with any advice!!! Im willing to replace the tiles but I feel that if there is something wrong with the structure that it will just do it again.

You might have been taught wrong and doing it wrong all these years. You did not say what you did.

Did you check to see what was underneath to see if the additional weight would be a problem?
 

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Did you check to see what was underneath to see if the additional weight would be a problem?
Probably a valid question in some cases but usually not an issue.

Applying a mud substrate to a stud wall then cladding with stone tile will typically result in a load of about 55# per linear foot of wall-run. Shouldn't be an issue for any modern structure.:) If, that structure is engineered and built to even minimums.:)
 

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Probably a valid question in some cases but usually not an issue.

Applying a mud substrate to a stud wall then cladding with stone tile will typically result in a load of about 55# per linear foot of wall-run. Shouldn't be an issue for any modern structure.:) If, that structure is engineered and built to even minimums.:)
This is true. But I have seen the hacked up joists from bad plumbers, hvac, electrical,low voltage guys and bad framers to know to at least take a look see.
 

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This is true. But I have seen the hacked up joists from bad plumbers, hvac, electrical,low voltage guys and bad framers to know to at least take a look see.
Gotcha, but to tell you the truth...if the tileguy has to research all of that crap the next thing you know he'll be held responsible for investigating for the presence of rodents in the walls and cut worms in the soil.:blink:

Here's what The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) has to say about the subject:

The tile installer shall not be responsible for problems resulting from any floor framing or subfloor installation not compliant with applicable building codes, unless the tile installer or tile contractor designs or installs the floor framing or subfloor.

As tile is a "finish" applied to and relying upon the underlying structure, an inadequate substructure can cause a tile failure. In many cases, problems in the substructure may not be obvious and the tile installer can not be expected to discover such.



That's where I'm going to hang my hat.:)
 

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From reading through this, sounds like he was being fed a double meat sh*t sandwich.

.....with all the fixins!:)
 

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legal stuff

:clap:
Gotcha, but to tell you the truth...if the tileguy has to research all of that crap the next thing you know he'll be held responsible for investigating for the presence of rodents in the walls and cut worms in the soil.:blink:

Here's what The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) has to say about the subject:

The tile installer shall not be responsible for problems resulting from any floor framing or subfloor installation not compliant with applicable building codes, unless the tile installer or tile contractor designs or installs the floor framing or subfloor.

As tile is a "finish" applied to and relying upon the underlying structure, an inadequate substructure can cause a tile failure. In many cases, problems in the substructure may not be obvious and the tile installer can not be expected to discover such.


That's where I'm going to hang my hat.:)

Thats great , i'm going to add that to my contracts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I asked him if we can get a engineer to make sure the floor can handle the weight load and he never called me back. Not sure if he is going to. Thanks.
 
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