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I have an 8"x8" ceramic tile floor in my kitchen. It was not well installed. There is no backer board. A few months ago, the water supply to the ice maker in my fridge leaked, the plywood underlayment and subfloor expanded, a lot of grout cracked or separated from the tile, and a few tiles cracked, too.

Most of the broken tiles were in a group in front of the fridge. I had someone replace them. He chiseled out the old tiles, got up some of the old thin set, put down new, and fit in the new tiles. Two weeks later, some of the grout in one small area is cracking and the tiles move up and down when I press on the edge. I think these are tiles next to where he worked.

I can get a lot of the grout out from around these tiles but to save them I need to get something rigid underneath, filling the gap and supporting the side of the tile. Any thoughts for something I can inject at the edge and force under the tile? Epoxy and thin set are too viscous and/or grainy.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_217371-68-37584_4294729418__?productId=3024887 seems worth a shot.

  • Did you happen to have a Saddle Valve installed for your ice maker supply line? They are the type of valve that screws onto copper supply pipe and pierces a small hole in it. They are notorious for leaking, and should be completely banned, yet are almost ubiquitous with ice makers. If you have one of those, I would suggest that you replace it with something else to make sure that your ice maker doesn't leak again. – Jason Hutchinson Apr 8 '15 at 19:58
  • There is a saddle valve where the ice maker line taps into the cold water line. That's in the basement several feet from where the flexible plastic tube leading from the valve to the fridge split. – Chris Nelson Apr 9 '15 at 1:25
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Nothing really bounds well to small pieces of loose thinset. The problem is that the thinset that is adhered under your tile isn't in one stable piece. Meaning that even if you add more thinset to a band of loose thinset it probably won't hold long, it certainly won't hold long term.

I suggest you cut your loses. You have had someone replace the tiles. I hope they told you they wouldn't last. For one I would have never just replaced your tiles. It is just too obvious that there would be issues really soon, since you are doing the same thing that just broke. I suggest demoing tile and doing it right. By the time you try to do 4-5 rounds of touch up you will be at the same amount of time than just redoing the floor. I mean there are instances where a plywood subfloor for tiles would conceivably work and may last years but you know that yours is not this case so why bother gluing the tiles down? They will come up, more tiles will come up, you will have grout crack everywhere. [And I am not a big demo and do it perfect to last 200 years Mike Holmes type]

  • Yeah, I hear you. This isn't a permanent fix but I need a year or two before I can really afford the kitchen updates (including the floor). – Chris Nelson Mar 8 '15 at 23:31
  • The problem is your kitchen now has a problem where wood has swollen. Thinset is a very rigid material and will not deal well with movements. Whatever you put in there that would work even short term would need to be sort of flexible - think silicone - but it also needs to adhere well to thinset. – DMoore Mar 9 '15 at 3:30
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I know it's not a permanent solution but for the record, I carefully removed the cracking grout, squirted the cement crack filler between the tiles, worked it under the edge of the tiles with a plastic putty knife, let it set a while, applied a second bead of crack filler in the depth of the opening between tiles, let that set overnight, then grouted. The floor has been stable -- no new cracks in the grout -- for almost a month now.

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