New Technique Fixes Loose Tiles For Less

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Loose and cracked floor tiles drive people crazy. When floor tiles fail, nine times out of ten, it’s because tile installers did not remove paint that got on the concrete slab while the walls and ceiling were being painted.

That’s a big mistake; the tiles won’t bond properly. Sometimes the tiles lift up years after the warranty on the house expires. That can cost $10,000 for a typical single-family home, and be a tremendous inconvenience. Bookshelves and other furniture must be removed to do the job. The alternative?

Several homeowners and contractors swear by a relatively new technology that can save the headaches, as well as thousands of dollars. It involves injecting liquid glue under the floor.

The trick for the homeowner is to detect loose tiles early, since floors in the final stage of failure must be removed and reinstalled.

The earliest stage can easily be detected by tapping on a floor with a broom handle. Loose tiles give off a distinct hollow sound, compared to their solid counterparts.

The second stage of failure shows up as cracks in the grout. The third and final stage is called “tenting,” where rows of tiles lift off the floor and look like tiny pup-tents.

Injection won’t help those floors but it can help floors caught in the first two stages.

“It’s like a disease. The trick is to catch it in the early stages,” said Daphna Shahar, of Universal Tile, which has repaired hundreds of floors since 1986.

The job involves drilling small holes on either side of the tile in the grout–the cement between the tiles–and pumping glue through a device that resembles a large hypodermic needle.

When the glue is completely under the tile, it squirts out holes drilled in the grout on the other side. The cost? About a quarter to half the expense of replacing the tile, which runs about $10,000 in a typical single family home.

“I wasn’t sure it would work, but it’s been in there five years and it works perfect. No failures,” said Carl Styles of Pembroke Pines.

by John Maines, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Taken From – Sun-Sentinel Newspaper ©1996

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