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Discuss Tiles cracked in new bathroom in the Tiling Forum area at TilersForums.co.uk.

  1. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member

    Location:
    London
    Hi,
    I was hoping I might get some advice with a cracked tiling issue I am experiencing.
    We had a new bathroom installed about a year ago, and noticed the other day that half the top two rows of tiles along an interior brick wall are cracked.
    We had a closer look around the bathroom, and found that there are also odd tiles cracked all over the bathroom. Some cracked right across, some with just barely visible hairline cracks a few inches long, a couple are blown out, as if hit from behind.

    We are somewhat stumped as to the cause of this.
    3 of the 4 walls have cracked tiles. All walls are solid brick.
    The ceiling was plasterboarded over and skimmed before the tiling was done.
    There are silicone joins in the corners around the bath/shower, but all other corners and joins to ceiling are grouted to the corners.
    The tiles are 500mmx250mm from Tile Giant.
    We contacted the plumber who oversaw the job, and he is as stumped as we are at the moment. He is going to talk to the tiler, and in the meantime is going try to find out if there have been reported issues with the tile type/batch, and contact the adhesive manufacturer to check for issues and possible reactions (?).
    Although I trust he will get to the bottom of the issue, we are a little concerned and hoped to get some 3rd party independent advice from some of you as to what might be the cause.
    The only thoughts I have are:
    It could be a bad batch of adhesive, or expired adhesive (if that is a thing?).
    Possibly some kind of expansion that did not have adequate gaps left?
    A mistake made by the tiler?
    Some, but not all, of the tiles sound hollow when tapped as if there is a gap or air pocket behind them. Could air pockets left between tiles and adhesive expand with enough pressure to crack tiles?

    My final thought is that I have noticed that the tiles that are cracked are all on areas of the walls that were painted, not tiled when the previous bathroom was in. (The tiles only went halfway up the wall and the top half was painted. The paint was typical water resistant, wipable bathroom paint, and was done by previous owner, who generally did not prepare well before painting and so the layer itself may not have been particularly sound itself). Is it possible that if the paint was not removed/prepared/keyed/bonded/stabilised first that it could be coming loose and cause cracking? It would make perfect sense to me if they were falling off, but could this actually cause cracking? If this were the case, should the tiler have not dealt with the paint before tiling, rather than tiling over it?
    Again, this is just an observation and could be just a coincidence.

    Any thought on this issue would be gratefully appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
    James
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. jcrtiling

    jcrtiling Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler TTA Member Top Contributor

    Location:
    Salisbury
    Firstly all corners should of been siliconed to allow movement .
    Secondly shouldn't sound hollow , probably spot fixed , incorrect fixing method ( look at trowel and error on you tube )
    Tiles which are blown possibly on the painted background the bond is only as good as the weakest point ie paint to plaster board or whatever ( like a chain only as sttong as the weakest link ) combined with possible spot fixing not much surface contact is why they may be blown .
    Spot fixing tiles can have an effect where adhesive shrinks at different rates as it dries therefore causing tiles to crack .
    Good luck
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  3. JulianSidney

    JulianSidney Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    sounds like many errors, any of witch will cause the problems you describe.
    what was the adhesive used?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Waluigi

    Waluigi Top Contributor

    Location:
    UK
    Hi Jamesbond and welcome to the Forum.

    Do you have any photos of the work in progress?

    This might give a better idea of the tiling practices being adopted here. There are already one or two alarm bells ringing.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member

    Location:
    London
    Hi jcrtiling, thanks for your response
    Should there also be silicone between wall and ceiling, or is grout fine?
    I don't think they used spot tiling, as it is not all the tiles that sound hollow, just certain ones, and its often not the whole tile. I'll check for sure when we pull off the tiles. But as the tiles are large, there may have been air pockets. Could this have a similar effect?
    The paint may well be the weak link in this case I suspect. However, in this case, would the tiles not just fall off? Would the paint being weak actually cause the cracking?
    Could the weak bonding over the paint maybe cause the air pockets/hollow sound?


    Hi Waluigi, Thanks for your reply,
    Unfortunately it's not a work in progress. Its a finished job from approx a year ago. It is only now that we have spotted the cracks, though it is possible they have been there for some time (none are actually in eye line, so were easily missed)
    I have tried to take photos, but apart from the worst blown out tile, none of the cracks really show in the photos as they are hairline.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member

    Location:
    London
    Sadly, I don't know what adhesive was used. I'll try to find out.
     
  7. jcrtiling

    jcrtiling Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler TTA Member Top Contributor

    Location:
    Salisbury
    If its hollow you don't have full coverage therefor air pockets . A spot fixed tile will not sound hollow all over as their is some adhesive behind it. I suspect bad trowel technique at thr least . As i said check trowel and error on you tube . Yes it should be silicone or caulk . Tiles will not just fall of as the gravitational pull is downwards and not laterally. But they will come loose and eventually may fall off .
     
  8. Tom Astley

    Tom Astley Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Location:
    Manchester
    Tile Giant and BCT tiles?..........

    as for the cracks...are the tiles crazing rather than cracking?
     
  9. jamesbond

    jamesbond Active Member

    Location:
    London
    Tiles do seem to be BCT
    I have read about crazing whilst reading other similar threads in this forum, and considered this possibility myself.
    Some of the cracks are 2-3 inch long hairline cracks, which could on their own be construed this way. However, several of the tiles are clearly cracked right through and/or blown out and visibly not flat any longer.

    I managed to get the cracks on one of the worst tiles to show up (somewhat) in a photo. Maybe this will help?

    IMG_20190211_165234022.jpg
     
  10. Tom Astley

    Tom Astley Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Location:
    Manchester
    BCT have gone bust ...their 'wall & floor' tile range were inferior products.

    That looks like shrinkage issues to me probably caused by the adhesive drying out too quickly on the ceramic biscuit.
     
  11. Boggs

    Boggs Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    I wonder if the tile will be to blame now BCT are no longer.
     
  12. timeless john

    timeless john Moderator Staff Member Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler JOTM Winner Top Contributor

    Location:
    North East England
    Take your issue back to Tile Giant who supplied the tiles.
    This is not solely an issue with your job you should look into seeing if there is a group action against BCT for poor quality products.
    Most likely nothing you can do now they have gone bust unless you are able to stake a claim through the administrators and then see if you can take action against Tile Giant for selling inferior materials. All long shots but IMHO it’s nothing to do with the tiler - he’s done his best - but poor quality biscuit/ glaze has caused this shrinkage as the adhesive has dried.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. impish

    impish Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Location:
    Preston, Lancs
    Bct tiles with incredibly soft biscuit and glaze and adhesive shrinkage = cracks.
    We've seen the same on here last year.
    Thankfully they've gone bust so no more of this.
     
  14. jcrtiling

    jcrtiling Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler TTA Member Top Contributor

    Location:
    Salisbury
    If you do take it up with tile giant do not be fobbed off by them saying that bct are no longer , as your purchase contract was with tile giant not bct . As far as you are concerned tile giant are wholly responsible for the products they sell how they get their money is their problem .
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. impish

    impish Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Location:
    Preston, Lancs
    Tile Giant (or whoever) must sell products that are "fit for purpose".
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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