Too Good To Be … Good
Marina Grande on the Halifax (aka MG on the Halifax) is a two 26-story towers (no 13th floor, though) in Holly Hill is the only Miami-style condominium in the area. It feels like Miami, it looks like Miami, yet, it is still not Miami.
The towers hit crisis at the worst possible time, investors ran from it, some lost their sizable deposit and in a matter of several months the completed project turned into a ghost house.
But those scary times are over. Life is back to Marina Grande. More than half units sold, a lot of them rented and the rent is one of the highest in the area, if not the highest…
But this blog post is about tile.
All standard units had tile only in the kitchen and bathrooms. When it was given to the association, they got the advise from some engineer, who gave them the specs for the sound insulating barrier for every unit owner wishing to remodel.
I remember having the specs and the piece of this underlayment. I have not see anything like this before. Black porous synthetic material at least ¼” thick. The problem was not even with it being so thick, but it was relatively soft.
They selling office remodeled a few units, set beautiful tiled floors, but in 2 months you cold see cracking grout. Patching did not help, as the problem was that it moved under the weight, so you step on the tile, and it moves a little, and the grout can’t hold moving tiles together.
We needed to remodel the unit, and went to the Association. We told them that there was the problem, explained everything. Suggested that they go and look at the model with all cracked floor, which they did… and yet the answer was that we had to use this crazy underlayment, and they gave us the contact information for the guy providing it.
There was yet a side problem that with this thick underlayment you have problems opening the doors, and had to “shave” the bottom of the entrance door.
Why forcing us use the material, which did not work?
– Because it is so good…
Imagine hundreds and hundreds units, and the one guy in town, who had this mandatory underlayment. There we had the monopoly, and the price for this underlayment was over $4 psf, and the installation was yet another stellar number, so the cost of tile floors was out of reach.
We had the specs, found the manufacturer, called, they quoted something a bit under $2 PSF, and we bought it, installed it. We did not put tile, as we did not want to be coming every 2 months to fix unfixable, so we put wood.
The funny thing is that developer put tile right on the concrete with no underlayment, and it was fine. But owners had to do it for the comfort of people under them. Sort of was partial comfort, as part of the floor was with the sound barrier, and part wasn’t.
They finally got to senses. Now they allow the use of rubberized 90-mil underlayment with Impact Insulation Class (IIC) rating of 72 and a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 72 or 73.
With in layman’s terms means that you can put tile, grout it, and it would stay. And while not cheap, it wouldn’t cost you even half of what it was before.
So, yes, that stuff they liked was good in theory. It simply was too good to be good in real application.