Shifting and cracking along walls and floors can result from a variety of causes, among them sway in load bearing walls, improper substrate preparation or application, and earthquake movement. In fact, subtle shifts and cracks in a substrate are inevitable. Glass is particularly vulnerable to substrate shifts: as a nonporous material, it is relatively rigid. Cracks are also highly visible in glass, especially in fused glass tiles.
An anti-fracture membrane - sometimes called a crack-suppression membrane - can prevent substrate shifts and cracks from being translated into tiles.This test will demonstrate the ability of an anti-fracture membrane to absorb and buffer substrate movement. We are using a relatively thin, rubberized peel-and-stick asphalt membrane, with a non-woven polyester facing.
A thinset adhesive is used to set a large ( 4" by 8") fused glass tile against a vice made of wood and metal.
Opening and closing the vice will simulate substrate movement.
Begin test by turning the vice.
A gap is opening up behind the tile.
The crack is bigger, and the tile is now visible from underneath. The membrane lattice stretches along with the vice, and maintains its elasticity. At the same time, the lattice on the reverse side clings to hold the tile still.
The vice is turned further. A break, measuring more than ¼", has now opened up behind the tile. The tile remains intact.
There are several anti-fracture membranes on the market today.This membrane, made by Universal Polymers, consists of rubberized asphalt and non-woven polyester. It offers the additional advantages of soundproofing and waterproofing protection.Other membrane manufacturers include Protectowrap, Laticrete,and Kerdi.