No More Cracked Tile!

Cracked concrete
Have you ever noticed cracks in your tile or concrete and wondered, “Where did they come from”?  Worse yet, have you ever spent thousands of dollars to have your dream kitchen or bathroom tile installed only to get cracks a few months or years down the road?  As mentioned in other posts on our website, A-Team Construction prides itself on the quality of products we use to make your dream remodel or new construction last a lifetime (or at least until YOU are ready for another change).

There are buildings in Europe with tile floors that are in perfect shape after more than 1000 years.  However, on this side of the world, tile floors routinely fail after less than 10 years.  So what did the Europeans know about tile that we don’t?  The answer is that Europeans develop what is known as an uncoupling system.  The system began with a bottom layer of mortar covered by a thin layer of sand.  The tile then was set into another layer of mortar on top of the sand.  As the building settled and shifted over the years, the sand separated the tile from the floor below, allowing the tile to float on top, unaffected by the building’s movement.

Without an uncoupling system, the tile floors of today move when the building moves.  Results can include loose grout, loose tile, and in extreme cases, cracked tile as the floor surface under the tile moves and shifts, especially if the floor is big.  Schluter has come up with a system that incorporates this uncoupling system.  Their DITRA membrane applies ancient European concepts using 21st century materials.Schluter Ditra repair

A-Team Construction uses the Schluter-DITRA system to lay out that special tile you chose for your dream room.  This is just another great product from Schluter Systems, which allows us to install your tile the right way protecting it from cracking due to the shifting of the foundation it is installed over.  Ceramic and stone tiles are durable, easy to maintain, and hygienic, representing the ideal surface coverings.  However, today’s lightweight construction methods can make the installation of hard surface coverings particularly challenging. In order to protect the integrity of the tile assembly, an underlayment that performs multiple functions is required.  Schluter-DITRA is specifically designed to allow the installation of ceramic and stone tile over any even and load-bearing substrate. The integration of DITRA’s uncoupling, waterproofing, load-distribution, and vapor management functions makes consistent results viable.

Tile has been successfully installed for thousands of years by incorporating an uncoupling layer, or forgiving shear interface, within the tile assembly. Schluter-DITRA provides uncoupling through its open rib structure, which allows for in-plane movement that effectively neutralizes the differential movement stresses between the substrate and the tile, thus eliminating the major cause of cracking and delaminating of the tiled surface.

Schluter-DITRA provides reliable waterproofing in interior and exterior applications.  Its polyethylene composition protects the substrate from moisture penetration, which is particularly important in today’s building environment where most substrates are moisture sensitive.

The distinguishing feature of Schluter-DITRA is the existence of free space created by the configured channels on the underside of the matting.  The free space provides an escape route for excess moisture and vapor that could otherwise cause damage to the tile layer above. Thus, DITRA effectively manages moisture beneath the tile covering.

When placed on a solid foundation, columns or pillars can support tremendous loads. The same physical principle applies to Schluter-DITRA installations.  Column-like mortar structures are formed in the cutback cavities of the matting.  Loads are transferred from the tile covering through these column-like mortar structures to the substrate.  Since DITRA is virtually incompressible within the tile assembly, the advantages of uncoupling are achieved without sacrificing point load distribution capabilities.  The ability of DITRA installations to support and distribute heavy loads while preserving the integrity of the tiled surface has been verified through extensive laboratory and field testing, including applications exposed to vehicular traffic.

Give A-Team Construction a call for your free consultation. Let us show you how we can make your dream home a reality.

** excerpts talen from schluter.com & Tom Meehan (Fine Home Building)

Last updated: September 10, 2015 at 14:07 pm

5 Comments
  1. Lauren says:

    Great explanation of why we experience cracked tile. Thanks for sharing information about an uncoupling system!

  2. Westly Smith says:

    Just like you explain, I have had my dream tile installed and now have cracks. It’s only been a year or two! It’s so frustrating because I wanted it to last for many years to come. You talk about the great products that you offer, however, is there any way to fix my already broken tile?

    • admin says:

      Hi Westly, thanks for reading our blog! Unfortunately, there really is no way to repair a broken tile. If you don’t fix the underlying problem, as you “repair” the broken tiles, they will just keep cracking. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

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