I'm in the process of repairing the tiles in my kitchen; I've not done
a lot of this before but I thought it was going to be a simple job -
pull the broken tiles (there's lots of them - probably about 50-60
tiles) and then cement new ones in; scrape everything and re-grout. The
house is ~22 years old, the tile was apparently done in the late '80s.
Well, I'm starting to pull the old broken tiles.... but I found this
weird underlayment - it's like corrugated orange plastic, with a white
(fiberglass?) loose felt and polyethylene mesh on the bottom. It's been
set down in a thin layer (~1/4") of a white substance, not thin-set
because it's soft, breaking down and really dusty, more like
plaster-of-paris. The tiles are set in white thin-set (not like the
stuff underneath) on top of the plastic - see these pics (200KB each):
The corrugations are about 3/8" deep and 1/2" wide, and the sheets of
plastic are about 4' wide (haven't found an end yet, probably came in
rolls), overlapped at the edges. I assume this "system" is the reason
the tiles are breaking - it looks like an early variant on the modern
"waffle" plastic underlayment system, but it's not embedded in thin-set
- the corrugations are full of air - so the tile is basically
unsupported and breaks.
So, my question is, what do I do??? Does anyone have any experience
with this "system", and if so, what is it supposed to be? Can it be
salvaged, or should I pull up the whole floor and start again, turning
a $100 repair into a $2000-4000 month-long project?
Right now, I'm kind of thinking of cutting out the plastic in 4X6'
squares where repairs need to be made, putting down cement-board, and
then resetting the tile over that. It won't stop the old tile from
breaking, but with the right thickness underlayment it should look
Any suggestions?? Thanks for reading!