What causes loose tiles?
What causes loose tiles?
Anyone with tiled floors will have experienced at some stage the frustration of having loose floor tiles. Not only do loose floor tiles look unsightly, they can also pose a hazard to yourself, family or guests if not taken care of appropriately.
But what causes floor tiles to become loose? There are a wide range of factors which can play a part:
One of the most common reasons for tiles coming loose is that the tile has not been laid with the right amount of adhesive, or the adhesive has been applied incorrectly.
Not applying the right amount of adhesive is a major factor in tiles becoming loose. This practise is known as ‘dobbing’, where the tiler has applied small patches of glue to the tile rather than an even coating. This allows hollow voids to appear, which when exposed to everyday traffic can cause stress to the tile and eventually lead to the tile coming loose. This can often be found in corner tiles or tiles in difficult to reach areas.
Another major cause of loose tiles is the incorrect adhesive being used. If a tile is being laid on a timber floor or on a smooth surface, it is important that the right glue is used or the surface is prepared appropriately before laying. If this is done incorrectly, your tiles will come loose rather quickly.
If a tile has been applied using adhesive that was incorrectly mixed, too dry or too wet, it can mean that the tiles do not form proper bonds with the adhesive and can come loose. The same applies if the adhesive has ‘skinned’ before the tile is laid, meaning that the adhesive is exposed to the air and left alone for too long before the tile is laid. This will often result in the tile coming away from the adhesive ‘clean’ without any glue attached to the tile.
Outdoor tiles also come under immense pressure from the elements, with rain and sunshine causing stress to the tiles, the glue and the foundation underneath.
Every tile in your home is designed to withstand a certain weight-if that weight is exceeded often enough it will cause the tile to break free of the grout and glue. Tiles in kitchens and bathrooms with heavy objects such as refrigerators and bathtubs placed on them can quickly come away from their foundation, which can cause headaches when that piece of furniture needs to be moved or replaced.
Tiles in heavy traffic areas such as hallways or kitchens can also over time start to loosen as more and more pressure is applied to the tile. This process is hastened when the tile is incorrectly installed. Most issues with loose tiles are found in areas with high foot traffic.
The installation and quality of your substrate can affect how long your tiles stay put. A cracked or low quality concrete slab can cause tiles to come loose prematurely, especially in the warmer months when the concrete will expand. Combining this with incorrect isntallation or lack of expansion joints and this can cause widespread damage to your tiled floor.
Moisture seeping up through the substrate can cause decay in the adhesive which will lead to loose tiles. Without proper treatment and care of the concrete foundation before laying the tiles, mould can quickly deteriorate large sections of your tiled floor.
Whenever loose tiles are present in your home or outdoor area, it is usually not an isolated incident. One or more of these factors may be present throughout the house and can cause continuous issues with your tiles. The best way to treat any issue with loose tiles is to get them repaired using Barefoot Floors’ tile restoration technology. Contact Steve today to find out how we can help.
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