I had tile laid in my upstairs bathroom. Unfortunately, the floor is a little springy in this spot, and the grout just crumbles. I have had the floor redone, but the same problem occurred. Is there a more flexible grout that could be used?

- J.W.
A: How frustrating! I love tile and stone, particularly in bathrooms, but tile really does need a solid backing. I'm surprised your tile installers didn't point that out to you in the first place. It doesn't make these installers look very good, and probably doesn't make you feel comfortable with the rest of the installation.

Did your installers add a cement backing board over your subfloor and seal the joints of that before installing the tile? Over a wood subfloor, extra attention needs to be paid. Sometimes home builders use lesser-quality subfloor panels that might vary in thickness, giving a springier feeling in the floor.

I've seen installers replace springy subfloors with good-quality plywood and place extra screws than one would normally use (if they used screws at all), for extra rigidity before putting down the backer board. I suggest you talk with a few other licensed contractors and tile installers for ideas that would work in your house.

There are more flexible grout options that might also work, but it's best to have your entire installation considered, balancing your idea of how you want your bathroom to look and feel, and your budget. I do love the look of real stone in large tiles, but a smaller tile or even a mosaic also would look great in a bathroom setting. With a stronger subfloor, that might help solve the problem.

I hope this information helps you get closer to having a bathroom you'll love.

Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality. To contact her:


@JenniferAdams www.jenniferadams.com