Chuck Fifelski, Technical Service & Development (TS&D) Specialist, Trinseo, recently published an article in Tile Magazine, entitled "Technical Focus: A Supplemental Test Method for Crack Isolation Simulation." The piece explains the need for a supplemental test and what Trinseo's teams were able to conclude from the study.
"Waterproofing and crack isolation membranes are widely used in the tile industry as part of substrate preparation prior to the installation of ceramic tiles or similar rigid materials. Membranes that deliver crack isolation performance are intended to maintain their integrity during movement of the substrate and thus prevent tile cracking, which minimizes costly repairs. Ensuring the integrity of these membranes is essential for guaranteeing the efficacy and longevity of any tile project, making this an essential consideration for the industry and tile professionals."
Testing is a crucial element in determining overall performance and currently, crack isolation testing of these membranes is based upon the industry standard: the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 118.12, Section 5.4: System Crack Resistance Test method. The ANSI crack isolation test method is a large, heavy set-up composed of cement pavers, a membrane, tiles and grout mounted on steel plates. Because the ANSI 118.12 test apparatus is custom-designed, large in size and requires large quantities of testing materials, the test is impractical for a typical lab. In fact, only a few laboratories in the nation have this scale of testing capability.
"The ANSI method also uses a wet thickness gauge to measure the wet thickness of a troweled or rolled-on membrane, but fails to measure the dry thickness. Given potential variables in the volume of solids between batches and brands of membranes, it is valuable to have insight into the dry film thickness to ensure similarity between test samples.
Given these drawbacks, the team at Trinseo developed the Crack Isolation Simulation Test."