Nothing is worse than one of those ‘Surprise!’ additional charges that occur after you have committed to a Contractor’s estimate/contract.
That is why at Arizona Home Floors, we want to be as informative and upfront about our work and costs as possible.
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One of the things we cannot predict when performing an estimate, until actually removing floor tile, is the presence of Crack Membrane.
We could measure an entire home in advance, yet, once we remove the tile, we could find crack isolation membrane under the existing tile, here are some screenshots of what we found on several jobs in 2017 in the months of June and July:
Just what is crack membrane? It’s an isolastic material designed to prevent pre-existing cracks in concrete from telegraphing through the tile or stone installed.
If movement of the concrete slab occurs, the crack membrane will shift the movement over to a “grout joint” close to where the crack occurs in the slab.
The reason for this is because it’s easier to repair a cracked grout joint, than it is to repair a cracked tile.
Since most sub floors are made with concrete, as the initial pour begins to harden, it begins to shrink as the water leaves the concrete, a process known as ‘drying shrinkage’.
Here is an illustrated picture of how it’s installed:
Here is some green crack membrane we pulled out of a recent job, you can see some of the tile and thinset still attached.
This can cause the slab to crack, especially at control joints, which were pre-planned into the concrete slab anyhow.
Additional problems with cracking can be caused from poor soil preparation and/or weak over-watered concrete. These problems may also cause cracks or cracking to randomly develop throughout the slab.
Even if control joints are installed properly, how your tile is laid may not align with the locations of joints and in order to prevent cracks from transferring upward to the tiles or along the grout lines, it will require installation of crack isolation membrane.
The membrane covers the crack and allows the bonded thinset and tiles to ‘float’ over the cracks and joints, reducing the chance of damage to your tile flooring when the concrete slab moves. It is impossible to know if there is crack membrane on your floor until the tiles and thinset have been removed completely.
If you are replacing your old flooring, the old crack membrane has to be removed as well before your new flooring is installed.
This is not an easy process as it is similar to a very thick and sticky Duct Tape and typically has CONSIDERABLY more adhesion.
In fact, for some types of crack membrane installed over weak and/or soft concrete, it is not at all unusual for the crack membrane to be so well bonded as to tear away the entire layer of concrete it has been installed over; if trying to physically pull it from the floor.
With the DustRam® System, we can take a very slow and tedious process and make it much faster and more efficient, while minimizing the damage typically seen from using power scrapers or demolition hammers to remove crack membrane.
The installer of your new flooring will have a superior surface to apply the new crack membrane before installing your new floor. There is an additional charge when and ONLY IF we encounter crack membrane that needs to be removed.
We do not automatically include Crack Membrane Removal Charges in our Estimate and will only charge you if it is there.
Please watch our videos to see how the DustRam® equipment removes both Thinset and the Crack Membrane under it.