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Shower Wall Tile Cracking Just Months After Install

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  1. #1
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    Default Shower Wall Tile Cracking Just Months After Install

    Hello,

    My contractor and I are both puzzled by what is happening to my shower tile. The tile was installed in June 2022. By September, we started getting these cracks on the tile. The cracks are visible in the images. If you rub your finger over them, you don't feel the cracks at all. It started with a few, but continues to get worse over time. Notably, it got worse into the winter months.

    The exterior part of the house has insulation behind the vinyl siding. In the interior, the layers go tile, thinset, waterproof membrane, Durock cement board, 2x4's and insulation.

    There are 3 walls the tiles are on. The tiles mostly on the wall with the window are cracking, which the other two walls don't has many cracks, but, there are tiles that are still cracking.

    What is causing these tiles to crack? We don't want to simply replace with new tile, and then the same issue happens again.

    Pictures in attachments.

    Thanks in advance.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails tile1.jpg   tile2.jpg   screenshot-2023-01-23-3.58.27-pm.jpg   screenshot-2023-01-23-3.59.24-pm.jpg  

  2. #2
    Slow but rough Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    Probably movement in the foundation I'd guess.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ForeverYoung's Avatar
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    I couldn't see any cracks in the grout lines?
    And pretty much all of the crazing in the tiles stops at a grout line and doesn't continue to an adjacent tile?

    I am wondering if there is a possibility that there is a manufacturing fault in the tile glaze themselves.

  4. #4
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    That is not cracking, it's crazing due to either faulty tiles or glue problems.
    I suggest you get the supplier to look or take some pics to them.

  5. #5
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    Maybe poor quality tiles? I have seen tiles do this when the "blob" method is used with the adhesive instead of the correct method (notched trowel). But I've never seen crazing to that extent which leads me to believe it could be a case of cheap Chinese crappy tiles?
    Never argue with idiots, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverYoung View Post
    I couldn't see any cracks in the grout lines?
    And pretty much all of the crazing in the tiles stops at a grout line and doesn't continue to an adjacent tile?

    I am wondering if there is a possibility that there is a manufacturing fault in the tile glaze themselves.
    You are correct that there are no cracks in the grout lines.


    I looked into crazing, and it appears that tiles with glaze aren't recommended for showers because they risk crazing. The store I bought them from knew I was installing in a shower. Would this be the fault of the store or the manufacturer? Or is this no ones fault because the tile is supposedly still fit to perform? It looks absolutely terrible.

  7. #7
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    Putting this out there, could it be due to expansion and contraction from hot shower then cooling down? Which COULD be why glazed tiles are not recommended?
    And.....your point is.....what exactly?

  8. #8
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jigouttrev View Post
    You are correct that there are no cracks in the grout lines.


    I looked into crazing, and it appears that tiles with glaze aren't recommended for showers because they risk crazing. The store I bought them from knew I was installing in a shower. Would this be the fault of the store or the manufacturer? Or is this no ones fault because the tile is supposedly still fit to perform? It looks absolutely terrible.
    According to general information, crazing of Glazed tiles can be quite normal, it has to do with the glass layer on top of the ceramic layer, and they are moving at different rates.
    Doesn't look like you can do much about it, this does not effect the performance of the tile, here is some info.

    https://legacy.tile.com.au/Tile-DIY-...racks-in-Glaze
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

  9. #9
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    I will likely tile this over. Going forward - should I just avoid tiles that a high-gloss/glass finish for shower walls?

  10. #10
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    The glaze on those tiles does look thicker than I'm used to seeing. What brand are they sold as in the US? Are there any in the bathroom outside the shower enclosure and how do they look?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDW View Post
    The glaze on those tiles does look thicker than I'm used to seeing. What brand are they sold as in the US? Are there any in the bathroom outside the shower enclosure and how do they look?
    There is not. We only tiled in the shower. I was thinking about also comparing the cut tiles to the tiles that weren't cut at all. I am currently away from my home, but while looking at the images, I noticed the tiles that weren't cut at all, or cut very little, seem to be holding up the best. I'll respond back with that update tomorrow.

  12. #12
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jigouttrev View Post
    I will likely tile this over. Going forward - should I just avoid tiles that a high-gloss/glass finish for shower walls?
    I have always used either non glazed ceramic, or non glazed porcelain tiles in bathrooms.
    Never had issues with either, if you are after that super glossy look, you can get polished porcelains.

    I would avoid the polished porcelains on the floor especially in the shower recess, these are notoriously slippery when wet and very dangerous.
    Go for a silk or matt finish on the floor, be careful some cheap matt finish porcelains are very difficult to clean, look for reputable brands.
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

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