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Case Descriptions

Glass tile shower cracking

After a short time in service, a 6” x 12” tile glass began developing random cracks throughout a shower. The cracks were most prevalent in areas where the tile was in direct contact with water but were developing in other areas as well. The contractor blamed it on substandard glass and the manufacturer cited poor installation. NTSA was called in for a third party opinion on the quality of the installation, whether it was in compliance with industry standards, and to offer testing protocol for the glass tile.

Stone shower discoloration

A stone shower began changing color on the floor, lower portions of the walls, and seat. The discoloration began as a wet look that eventually dried as the shower was used on a daily basis. Little by little the drying became slower until the stone eventually retained a permanent yet uneven wet look. NTSA was retained to determine whether the discoloration was related to stone selection or improper installation.

Pool leaking

A hillside pool developed leaks and water was dripping through the exposed bottom and sides of the pool, threatening erosion below. Finger-pointing went on for months, all the while, erosion continued to land below, including the property of several neighbors. An investigation was conducted to examine the waterproofing system and help to pinpoint the cause of failure.

Translucent glass discoloration

A pool fully clad with translucent glass tile began to develop dark blotchy areas on the floor and walls within the first few months in service. What started out as a few small areas of discoloration gradually developed into larger, more prominent sections within the first year, followed by distinct dark sections on the floor after the second year. NTSA was called in to evaluate the pool and offer recommendations for a testing protocol to determine cause of failure.

Stone façade delamination

A stone façade on the exterior of a building began showing signs of delamination, a condition that threatened injury to sidewalk pedestrians below. The sidewalk and parking area had to be closed off and quarantined until a full investigation and remediation were complete. NTSA was retained by the stone contractor to help determine if the delamination was related to installation or other underlying issues.

Pool plaster delamination

The plaster finish on the inside of a newly built pool began to delaminate within the first year. The pool was shut down and re-plastered; then a year later, the plaster failed again along with portions of the tile and all of the coping. All blame was pointed to the pool plasterer, and their insurance company was being held responsible to pay for the complete replacement of all pool finishes. NTSA was called to conduct an investigation and determine the underlying cause of delamination.

Glass tile spalling

In the second season of a newly built pool and spa, glass mosaic waterline tile began to develop cracking and spalling in all areas that experience daily wet/dry conditions. The condition became so prominent that the owners were forced to shut the pool down because bathers began getting cut. A dispute between the installer and tile manufacturer went on for several months until the homeowner called us in for a forensic investigation to help determine cause of failure.

Glass mosaic tile cracking in spa

An all glass mosaic outdoor spa developed cracked tile throughout the interior walls, floor, bench and top of spillway. The spa, which sat 18” above the pool, was a rim flow design and one side overflowed into the pool. Eighteen months after it was built, the tile, which was a multicolor blend of 1” glass, developed cracks in one of the colors within the blend. The remainder of the blend was unscathed, as was the entire waterline in the pool, which was identical to the spa tile. NTSA was hired by the tile manufacturer to evaluate the spa tile and help to determine whether it was a product or installation failure.

Pool tile discoloration

A translucent glass tile pool was drying in distinctly different shades throughout the course of the installation. Assuming it simply needed to fully cure, the tile contractor continued this five-month installation through to completion. The shade variations remained and, in fact, intensified over time. The developer hired NTSA to evaluate the pool and potential cause of discoloration. An investigation was conducted to study the tile, installation materials, techniques, and weather patterns throughout the course of the installation.

Stone lippage

A retail store in Beverly Hills received exterior stone facing and a new lighting system to illuminate the signage on the storefront as part of a major remodel. The lights were designed to up-light the letters of the sign, which created a “wall wash” effect that exacerbated imperfections on the stone surface. A dispute began between the stone contractor and building owner, which heated up to a point where a neutral party was needed to evaluate the situation. NTSA was engaged to evaluate the stone installation and compare it to compare any potential “lippage” to what the industry deems acceptable.

Pool tile infinity edge

An infinity edge pool was continually losing tile on top of the spillway and back side of the spillway wall. In addition to losing tile, a white substance was oozing out of the grout joints and building up on the surface of the tile. NTSA conducted a field inspection and was able to offer underlying causation along with a remediation plan.

Stone fountain caulking failure

A commercial office complex with series of fountains clad with black stone was experiencing discoloration and deterioration of caulking used in the joints. In the process of investigating the cause, NTSA revealed that the stone assembly was in the beginning stages of a full delamination, and a forensic work up, including core sampling laboratory analysis, was conducted to help determine causation.

Stone failure in shopping mall

A newly renovated shopping mall started experiencing a windfall of stone failures after only a few months after the grand opening. Stone flooring throughout the mall began developing cracks that needed constant repair, resulting in disputes as to whether the ultra-aggressive scheduling and lack of cure time was the root cause. NTSA was engaged to evaluate the installation, study the construction schedule, and offer insight as to causation.

See Clients and Case Pictures — Issues.