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Question DetailsAsked on 6/7/2016

Uneven kitchen ceramic tile floor - I had self levelling cement put down it cracked and bubbled.

First levelling layer they ran out and came back and finished the section they missed the next day. Second layer the same thing happened only an hour lapsed this time. After drying cracks appeared and became quite deep with bubbling and rippling. The areas they missed where a different colour. They took up the section that cracked which came away very easily leaving all bottom ceramic tiles in tact. I believe the floor should be taken up and started again. It is in preparation for micro - cement to be put on top. We are in a warm climate

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Sounds to me like, I hate to say, your flooring guy does not know what he is doing. First, Microcement is a VERY thin layer, so it needs a substantial surface under it to avoid cracking - it is designed as an overlay for comcrete surfaces, not tile floors.


Attempting to use self-levelling cement over tile makes your contractor a fail in my book - because levelling compound should not be used over tile (unless unglazed cementatious tile - a rarity) because it will not stick and will break up and fail readily - as you have shown. The thin microcement overlay will not be able to stop this failure, so you will in short order end up with a floor that is cracking up. If he was trying to put down levelling compound on tile without a bonding agent first (which generally do not work worth a darn so I do not recommend them anyway) that would be another indication he does not know what he is doing or read the instructions on the levelling compound bag/bucket.


The cracking and waves in the levelling compound were probably due to improper mixing, inadequate slaking time, too long a set time before pouring out, or reworking after it was down - another indication of a failure to be able to do the job right, in my opinion. The color difference might have been a mixing failure indication - some of these products change color when properly mixed (especially two-component ones) to show if it was mixed enough.


My recommendation would be to get the contractor to admit he cannot do the job right and to get him to agree to terminate the contract at no cost to you, get a lien release from him, sign a contract cancellation for no charge, and get a contractor who knows what he is doing. If he refuses, then would be time to contact his bonding company with a claim on his bond to get a qualified contractor on the job - though sounds like he might be a handyman rather than an expert concrete contractor, so it is likely that his bid amount was far below what it will take to finish the job, so his bond may only partly cover the cost of a second contractor.


And unless putting down a padded flooring material like laminate, engineered wood, or carpet which will just float on top of the existing tile - the tile should come up FIRST to get down to a suitable base material, which obviously makes for a much pricier job - though likely to have a much more satisfactory floor level transition with adjacent flooring, becauser tile with levelling compound then an overlay would likely have sat quite high relative to the adjacent flooring.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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