Flooring and Carpeting/Adura Flooring Grout
In 2009 we had 700 plus square feet of Adura Seaside 16x16 Boardwalk flooring installed in the halls, kitchen, dining room, foyer, laundry room. The installer used accuply 1/4" 4x8 sheets underlayment. Within a year the grout joints started cracking in the joints and along the tile. The installer came out twice to repair them by just grouting over the top. The joints are now extremely full and level to the top surface of the Adura and are cracking worse than ever. We have noticed cracks that start as hairline and are now missing small pieces they are so wide. These cracks run the length of several tile and cross each other. See photos. The installer wants to come out and just fix the "bad areas" where the cracks are very numerous and wide and leave the hairline cracks. They have in mind to take a "v" out of the center of the grout joint and refill it with new grout. Again grouting over the hairline cracks along the edge. I am not sure this is a final fix to the problem and would appreciate your help. We have been told these cracks are from the sun expanding the floor tile and moving the floor, moisture
(not sure where that would come from in the middle of a hallway)or insufficient floor supports. We always get a different answer for the cause of the cracks.
In the meantime, we just wipe the floor up with a damp cloth with plain water or a water/vinyl floor cleaner by hand avoiding to put any type excessive fluid on the floor.
Can you help determine the problem with these joints.
Cracks are from movement. I have seen hundreds of these complaints. While you may get some expansion/contraction from sunlight, I have never seen them attributable to sunlight, much less cracks just in sunlit areas. Either the tile or the subfloor or underlayment is moving. Cutting a "V" in the grout & regrouting will not stop movement and at best will only be a temporary fix. Even if it is a structural issue, such as insufficient floor joists, improper joist spacing, too thin subfloor or subfloor not secured properly, it is STILL the installer's responsibility to make sure that what he is putting the tile on top of is good before he starts the installation. Traditionally that means: 1. He corrects or advises you of any extra cost to make it acceptable before he starts the installation or 2.Gets a written waiver from you that he has advised you of subfloor deficiencies and you have declined the repairs and agreed that he can install the tile and you assume responsibility, or 3. He refuses to do the job.
Since I can assume he did none of these, the installer is at fault.
I cannot tell you without actually being there if it is the tile moving or the subfloor or underlayment. But here are some things I would check: Loose tile indicators: Try tapping the tile to see if you hear any hollow spots. Put a long level on the floor and see if the tiles are trying to bridge low spots. Are all tile edges even or are some edges raised? Can you see any movement of the tiles when stepped on? Structural indicators: In the basement, look at the floor joists. What is the joist spacing? More than 16" on center can be a problem. How wide are the joists? Less than 8" wide is a problem (7 1/2" is termed an 8" wide joist). What is the thickness of the builder's plywood subfloor? Less than 3/4" is a problem. Is it plywood or particle board? Particle board is a problem as it won't hold fasteners properly Subfloor or underlayment movement indicators: Long cracks running past several tiles usually indicate subfloor or underlayment movement. Does the floor squeak when walked on? This could mean builder's plywood or what the installer put in as underlayment and is not properly secured. If squeaks are new it is probably underlayment.
You also may have a combination of any of the above. Usually I have found when an installer does not take the time to do something right, there are other installation issues to be found. And I wouldn't want to depend on him to take the time to do things right to correct it, as you said, he's been out there twice already. He's looking for a quick & easy fix. Unfortunately, there is no quick & easy fix.
You may want to have this floor looked at either by an inspector or another (reputable) floor company.