Ceramic Tile is Lifting - July 31st 2008

Ceramic Tile is Lifting

Fixing your ceramic tiles

Q:  I laid down ceramic tile over our exposed aggregate outdoor patio. These lasted about five years. Now, many of these tiles are lifting and some sound hollow underneath. My question is: What process would you recommend to prepare the surface to create a smooth finish before reapplying tiles?

A:  The de-lamination of tile is due to environmental stresses such as moisture exposure and freezing. For exterior ceramic tile setting the correct process should have been as follows:

1. Clean the concrete with my Shell Busey Home Cleaning Formula.

2. Apply an acrylic concrete adhesive over the entire exposed aggregate surface (not in direct sun.)

3. Next, apply a thin coat of bonded topping mix or top-n-bond to level the surface.

4. I recommend the Schluter-DITRA system for exterior tile applications.

5. Set tiles into the exterior thin set over the Schluter-DITRA System.

6. Grout with epoxy exterior grout. In preparation: Consider renting a tile removal tool to save tiles for re-setting and chip off as much of the original thin set as possible.