Why do tiles lift and 'pop up'?

A common problem that people can come across in their bathroom, kitchen or living room is finding tiles that have 'popped' off the floor, or are lifting into a tent shape. People can often be shocked to find a mini mountain range running through the centre of their floor!

This is caused by a buildup of pressure underneath your tiles, caused by a number of different factors.​

Tenting tiles
Tented Tiles are unsightly, but can be repaired!

What causes a tile to 'pop up'?

Tiles that pop up and push against one another are in a sticky situation. As a general rule, tiles needs a bit of space to 'stretch teir legs' from time to time. As your building ages, or as weather changes, the foundations to your home can move, expand or shift in ways usually undetectable to the eye.

What happens when these changes occur is that your tiles need to move too!

When your tiles want to move, given a shift in the foundation beneath it, or the walls surrounding it, if the area in question does not allow room for the tile to move, then the tile has nowhere to go, and eventually will go the only way it can-UP.

The pressure built up by a shifting substrate can result in tiles pushing against each other, building pressure to a point that the glue adhering the tile to the substrate gives way, and the tiles 'pop' up, often in a tenting formation, like the image above.

This can be avoided if the tiles are given room to move, usually through the installation of an expansion joint, which provides that crucial couple of millimetres that tile need to shift around over the course of their lifetime. These are especially important with bigger areas.

If this pressure is not released, the issue of tenting tiles can spread throughout your floor, as more and more tiles seek the pressure release they need to handle the movement of your house's foundations.

So what can I do?

The important thing to remember is that fixing the SYMPTOM does not fix the PROBLEM. Replacing or re-laying tented tiles will only act as a temporary solution, but soon enough, even more tiles will be exploding off the floor as they search desperately for a release!

As we mentioned, an expansion line will generally do the trick to release pressure on the tiled area and restore normality for your tiles. Sometimes more than one expansion line is necessary. if you do not know how to install one of these yourselves, contact a professional.

But what about the tiles that have already popped? You COULD rip up those tiles, clean the substrate of any old glue, scrape the tiles clean and relay the tiles as they were before they popped. A simpler solution would be to contact Barefoot Floors to arrange for an inspection of your tiled area- often whilst some tiles have popped and tented, the full extent of the damage caused by this pressure buildup is hard to spot to the untrained eye. Check this video for more info on how to check for delamination (your glue 'letting go').

Barefoot Floors unique tile injection system can restore those popped tiles in minutes, without the need to replace, clean or relay the tiles. Our system re-bonds the tile to the substrate, meaning you do not need to worry about any further issues with delamination or pressure buildup-we'll even throw in an expansion joint or two for you!

​Any questions, feel free to contact us and we can help however we can!

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