Foundation Stabilization and Repair Tile floor problems, french drain installation, cracked tiles

Foundation Stabilization and Repair Tile floor problems, french drain installation, cracked tiles

Foundation Stabilization and Repair /Tile floor problems

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Question

QUESTION: Hi Jim,

My entire downstairs is saltillo tile and shows signs of effloursessence, cracked tiles and degrading tile generally in the front portion of the house. The entire concrete garage foor has white fuzzy stuff that kind of comes and goes. That floor is also cracked. I am trying to learn how to determine what the cause may be and how to fix it. I’m worried that I may need to tear out the entire downstairs floor to fix it? Not sure if insurance typically covers this kind of thing or not. The house is approx. 30 years old and I bought it approx 2.5 years ago. Inspection gave the foundation an «O.K.» but did note cracked tiles. Any advise on how to proceed would be appreciated. Thanks!

ANSWER: Hank,

Usually the problem you have described is caused by water. coming up from and beneath your concrete floor. The water table may be high or the drainage around your house is not working or non-existant. Insurance will cover foundation damage if there is a broken water pipe beneath the floor. and that’s the only time you’ll likely ever see anything covered by insurance! Beneath the cracked tiles you’ll probably find a cracked slab. the result of the soil either swelling ( most likely ) because of water. or shrinking when it dries out in the summer and the concrete drops. You can tap on the floor with a hammer to see if it has hollow sounding areas that would need to be slabjacked. If nothing sounds hollow I’m pretty sure the floor heaved upward. I would consider a perimeter draintile or French drain installation to collect and remove water around your home. You may still need to redo all your tile floors because of the activity below. If you do, put down a 1/8″www.hometips.com/articles/flooringbase.html There may also be some articles of interest for you on www.concretenetwork.com good luck, jim

QUESTION: Jim, thanks for the response. I live in Houston, TX in a house that is on a concrete slab. Yes, there are areas that sound very hollow underneath the tile when I knock on it. How do I tell whether or not it is a broken pipe causing the water issue? Would be great if it was covered by insurance. Not betting on it though. Are there companies that could do this repair without me having to move out? Can they do it without tearing up the interior walls? Sounds extremely costly. uugghh. I understand that the 1/8″ subfloor will help to level the floor prior to tiling but will it also prevent the efflouressence from appearing? And what about the foundation under the wood framing of the existing walls. Wont water still come up through the concrete under the framing? Thanks Jim

Answer

Hank,

The hollow areas under your floor are voids caused by water coming and going. One of a few ways to see if a broken pipe is the cause for this is to have someone come out who can put a COLOR camera in storm and sanitary pipes. Color shows detail that black and white won’t. Take pictures before doing anything else if you find something. and then take pictures as you make any repair. Slabjacking involves drilling small holes in the floor 3′-4′ on center and and injecting material under pressure through the floor,filling the voids and possibly lifting the floor if it has settled.

There’s no way to make the floor go down without replacing it.

A slabjacker will usually need the room cleared out for a day or so to do his work. Be sure to discuss who’s responsible if he happens to fill up a vent with material during the job! There should be no efflorescence issues once you take care of the water problem. and it’s «possible» you may need to run a new subfloor draintile across the room and get it to the outside system in a worse case scenario. When I installed my floors I sealed the cracks first and then sealed the wood. Everything depends on what the source of water is! Also you should get an opinion from a few local waterproofing companies also. Best of luck, Jim


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