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Had bathroom refit two years ago, now tiles are cracking

Discussion in 'Tiling' started by FoxtrotOscar, 9 May 2011.

  1. FoxtrotOscar

    FoxtrotOscar

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    Hi guys

    Two years ago, we paid xxx Ltd. of Redditch several thousand pounds to have our bathroom refitted, i.e. they ripped out the old suite, re-plumbed everything and tiled. There were two builders, a plasterer, an electrician (though the pump was under the bath and connected to a normal socket in the airing cupboard, not sure how correct this is), and a tiler.

    Quite a few bodges are slowly but surely coming to light and causing problems, one of which is that our shower pump let go but Grundfos wouldn't replace it as the installer a) hadn't kept the receipt and b) hadn't installed it according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

    Anyway the latest is that the tiles have started cracking, quite badly in places, and I was hoping for your opinion on what the problem was and what steps I need to take to stop more cracking please?

    Here are some pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Aside from the obvious cracks, there are several hairline cracks that are hard to make out from the photos, but that seem to run along the seams of the boards?

    I've told the builders about the problem, he said he'd come round and take a look when he'd finished his current job. That was almost a month ago, so I don't hold out much help for any resolution from the builder.

    Has he done this correctly and if not, what are my options (if any) for recourse after this period of time?

    Many thanks for any advice!
     
  2. tpt

    tpt

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    they have fixed them directly onto chipboard. the movement of that will be causing the cracking. they should have overboarded with either a tile backerboard or 12mm ply first
     
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  3. Richard C

    Richard C

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    Can’t see the pics for some reason but are we talking about floor tiles here? If tpt is right & they have tiled directly over a chipboard floor that’s very poor & nearly always doomed to early failure one way or another. I won’t even tile over boarded chip, it’s just as easy & no more expensive to rip it up & start again with a decent WBP tile base. Would need a lot more info but it sounds like you may have been sold several expensive pups.

    I assume this is a different project to the one you’ve been posting recently, I thought you were DIYing ?
     
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  4. FoxtrotOscar

    FoxtrotOscar

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    Thanks guys.

    Hi Richard C, yes it refers to floor tiles. Looking at it yes the guy has definitely laid some some chipboard and then tiles straight onto that.

    It's a different project to the shower pump DIY. That was also rectification of another bodge by the same company :(. I'm not so confident to rip up the tiles and the floor and due to the lack of urgency compared to a decent shower, haven't yet considered doing this myself.

    I think the problem I have is that a lot of adhesive manufacturers say that their product works fine straight onto chipboard, so the installer can just fall back on this and blame the adhesive manufacturer, irrespective of whether tiling onto chipboard is industry best practice or not.

    It cost a lot of money for something that has started failing after only two years :(.
     
  5. Richard C

    Richard C

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    Can see them now.

    Well that’s a shame, you don’t seem to have done very well with this company, did you take the time to look at previous work & get references before giving the company the job? Unfortunately you can't really trust anyone these days but no competent tradesman will object to you seeing previous work or talking to previous customers.

    Floors must use a continuous thick bed adhesive with no air voids underneath, sometimes it can be caused by skimping on adhesive or using the wrong trowel (either a large format or thick bed trowel) will allow the tile to flex over air voids & it will obviously crack. You could try removing individual cracked tiles & replacing (assuming you have replacements) in the hope that air voids caused the failure but, as I said, I won’t even tile onto over boarded chip; I just don’t think it’s rigid enough & you need to start looking at very expensive elastomeric adhesive/grout products which are latex based. You might as well start with a decent floor base in the first place which will allow the use of much cheaper high polymer modified flexi adhesive/grout. I fear the only way to resolve it will be to rip it up & start again with 18-25mm WBP ply; actual thickness you need will depend on floor joist size/pitch/span. Tiling isn’t rocket science & is well with the capabilities of a competent DIYer as long as you take the time to understand the materials you need to use, be sure of what you’re doing, don’t skimp on cheap materials or try & rush it.

    You certainly have a right to expect it to last more than two years & failure has almost certain been caused either by the tiler not using a suitable flexible adhesive (as above standard flexi is not good enough) or hasn’t followed the adhesive manufacturers instructions which probably require over boarding & additional floor support. As you found out with your shower pump failure, this will kill any chance of a manufacturer warranty claim. You certainly have a good case against the builder but if, as seems likely, he doesn’t want to know, pursuing it will involve a lot of hassle involving independent reports & a fairly drawn out legal process. Even if you win & get a claim awarded it seems many just don’t pay up & when pushed liquidate the company & start again.
     
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  7. FoxtrotOscar

    FoxtrotOscar

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    Thanks. The tricky thing is that the builder is the husband of someone I work with. That's how I got in contact with them.

    I spoke to a couple of people at work who'd had work done by the same guy and they were pleased (as were we, until everything started coming out of the woodwork). They also have a website detailing their projects, with loads of detailed progress pictures etc. Unfortunately when everything's piped in and tiled, you can't tell what substrate they've used nor how they've configured the pipes for the pump etc.. You only really see what's skin deep when everything's installed, so even if I had gone round to look at work in person I wouldn't (at the time) have know what I was looking for, beyond 'oooh that looks purdy' :p.

    One good thing to come out of this is that I am now much wiser in the field of bathroom rennovation! The next one I'll do myself entirely I think.

    I have actually re-tiled our kitchen wall on a previous occasion, so I think the tiling itself would be ok. It's more the the laying of the floor, cutting to size, screwing down, removing bath sink toilet, that intimidates me. I got absolutely panned on another forum for asking them whether it was worth me replacing the cracked tiles and seeing how they lasted :D. It's my favourite option at the moment though, as I'd rather do it and hope they don't crack again than rip everything up.

    The legal route is not an option as it would make things unbelievably frosty at work :LOL:. Lesson learnt about getting your friends and colleagues to do things for you I think.
     
  8. Richard C

    Richard C

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    As I think I said on your pump post, it always pays to do some research so you understand what’s going on, that way your less likely to get cowboyed

    Honest it’s not that difficult as long as you take a methodical approach

    That’s morons for you; even on this forum there are a few of them, ignoring them is best but it can be difficult. If you’ve no desire to rip it up, it’s worth a try & you may get a little extended life out of the job but I fear there are likely to be more failures on the way; just make sure you get a solid adhesive bed under the tile.

    It could be fraught with problems anyway; I don’t like doing work for friends & family & with, one exception, will not employ them to undertake any work for me either.
     
  9. xr4x4

    xr4x4

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    Looks like something has been leaking under there. This can swell the chip board and crack the tiles.
     
  10. foxhole

    foxhole

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    The bath leg is directly onto chipboard instead of a supporting timber, the leg has deflected the floor leaving a gap and unsupported tile hence the crack.Sloppy job.
     
  11. 1john

    1john

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    When you lift the tiles i wouldn't be suprised if the tile addy alone has started rotting the top layer of the chip board, especially if they used a powdered adhesive. Could you post back some pics once you lift them and clean out the adhesive?
     
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