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Thread: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

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    Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    My build was finished last summer and we had Oceanside glass tile installed around the outside of our spillover spa. We knew there would be some maintenance issues with this tile in terms of removing calcium build-up so we were expecting that. What we weren't expecting is tiles to be cracking and chipping along a line of what appears to be calcium that is leaching or running down the outside of the spa from the bottom of the coping, which is concrete. The calcium cleans off easy enough but off course continues to come back. This is also a safety issue because of course I'm getting glass fragments that are falling in the pool.

    We've also had 2 tiles fall off at the top near the spillover.

    Is this an install problem, tile problem, or was a concrete coping on top of glass tile a bad idea?

    Here is a picture of the spa right after pool was completed. I'll add another picture of the cracked tile when I get a chance.

    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    susa's Avatar
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    why would there be an issue with calcium build up ?

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Exactly. I don't understand why the tiling is cracking but whatever is running down the side of the spa is white and the tile is cracking along that line.
    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    That sounds like a water leak behind the tile causing swelling of the grout and/or underlying concrete, which puts pressure on the tile, which can crack it. As the water slowly comes out from behind it can carry along dissolved minerals when are left behind as the water evaporates. The most likely root cause is water getting splashed up under the coping when the jets are running or people are in the spa, which then slowly migrates to behind the tile. It should be possible to seal the coping and stop the problem. Doing so may be easy or complex depending on where exactly the leak actually is and how the coping was originally sealed to the top of the wall.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    It's likely a two fold issue:

    Glass tile is a MAJOR PITA to install correctly. There is no room for error.

    Glass tiles tend to be cheaply made. They chip and crack.

    I am as ANTI-GLASS ANYTHING near or in a pool as you can get.

    As beautiful as it can be, and yours is very sharp looking, IMHO, it should be banned for the risks presented far outweigh an positives.

    The coping has nothing to do with it except as a leachate source.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Thanks for responding Jason and Scott. I'm going to talk to my PB and also the glass company to see what, if anything, can be done. Only 2 options in my mind are to replace glass tile that is directly over pool with waterline tile or to replace all glass tile with waterline tile. I'm not confident of a permanent fix unless they find a leak of some sort that Jason suggests. I can find no evidence of a leak though. Tile is dry where it is cracking.

    Here is a picture. I've recently cleaned the tile so no white whatchamacallit at the moment.

    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Man what a shame, that glass tile looks reaaly cool. Is it only in that one spot? Could it be from the spa settling?
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
    Blue Granite Pebble Sheen finish
    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    The crack in the picture is the worst spot but there are 2 others. The rest of the glass and coping is fine so I don't think spa is settling.
    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Since that crack goes through several tiles and appears to be a continuous crack, I would have to guess, like Shane1, it is coming from movement of the spa and not defective tiles or poor installation of individual tiles.

    In other words, I would have think the structure has settled/moved based on what I see in that picture.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    solarboy's Avatar
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Looks like a crack in the shell to me, allowing water to come through from inside the pool until it hits the tiles/grout where it is lifting them off the shell and leaching out through the grout lines bringing concrete salts with it. If you tap it it might even sound hollow. I imagine there is probably a crack inside too.
    Self built 5500 gallon bare concrete (temporarily) pool with limestone coping, Pentair Swimmey 1/2 HP pump, Triton sand filter with DE, Simpool peristaltic muriatic acid pump with pH sensor and Monarch SWG. Home made solar heater with Pentair Compool control panel and 3 way valve. 1 skimmer, 1 main drain, 2 returns, 2" plumbing, Hayward auto fill valve.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    +1 for what duraleigh and solarboy said. I think that spot has a problem, not your choice of tile.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    I don't see any other evidence of movement. Waterline tile in the spa is fine, plaster is fine, coping is fine. We'll see what the PB says.

    If it is settling, what are the options? I imagine with other materials along the outside of the spa like stone or regular tiles, you wouldn't see this much damage with settling.
    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    I do not know where you are located but in PA, we would have installed an expansion joint between the concrete deck and the base of the spa to alleviate any pressure from possible settlement or movement. I agree with others, this is a structural crack in the shell; not uncommon with raised spas in general. There is no sure-fire way to fix the crack permanently, so you have to find a way to make it work; take off the tile in the immediate area. Clean up the crack and seal it with a polyurethane caulk. When putting the new tile back on, line up the grout joints and/or cut the tiles so that they do not bridge the crack. Re-grout the tile but avoid the space over the crack. This will have to be caulked instead of grouted to allow for movement. This will not look perfect but, with patience, can be done so that it looks descent and limits the chance of future failure.

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    solarboy's Avatar
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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    G-MAN has the right idea. You could also bridge the crack with some fibreglass mesh in the tile glue.
    Self built 5500 gallon bare concrete (temporarily) pool with limestone coping, Pentair Swimmey 1/2 HP pump, Triton sand filter with DE, Simpool peristaltic muriatic acid pump with pH sensor and Monarch SWG. Home made solar heater with Pentair Compool control panel and 3 way valve. 1 skimmer, 1 main drain, 2 returns, 2" plumbing, Hayward auto fill valve.

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Really appreciate all the input you guys are giving me. PB had a look today and is going to have his tile guy come out and remove the tiles around the crack to see what he finds. I know these glass tiles can't be cut so only other choice would be to see if we can get square tiles of same style/color. We'll see what they find.
    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Good luck! Sounds like a very good sign that the PB showed up and is going to help.
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
    Blue Granite Pebble Sheen finish
    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Any updates on how this is all shaken down?
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
    Blue Granite Pebble Sheen finish
    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    No updates yet. We have had lots of rain in Northern California and so PB's tile guy has not had a chance to come out yet. I'm sure he's backed up at this point.
    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Tile guy removed the tile around the crack pictured above and found no cracks in the underlying shell. He replaced the tiles but there still is no root cause as to what is causing the cracking. Every cracked tile I've seen has a white residue that has leached out from the shell or concrete and seems to be reacting with the glass tile, causing it to crack. I have been brushing off this white residue at least once a week to hopefully prevent new cracks from forming but this is something I shouldn't have to do.

    Has anybody else with glass tile seen this problem? Pretty sure PB and tile guy have no clue how to solve this problem but I'll continue to push for some solution. I think PB needs to get in touch with the glass manufacturer.
    20'x34' gunite pool, 7' raised spa, Wet Edge Primera, VS3050 pump, 2x whisperflo pump for water features and in-floor cleaner, CC520 Cartridge filter, Pentair 400k btu heater, Intellichlor IC40, Paramount PV3, Easytouch8

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    Re: Glass Tile chipping and cracking

    Thanks for the update. Thats awesome news that the shell isnt cracked. Hopefully someone will have a solution for you soon.
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
    Blue Granite Pebble Sheen finish
    Hayward SwimClear c4025, Navigator & Tristar 1.75hp pump
    2' Powerfall

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