Many homeowners have been there. They installed beautiful tile flooring in their homes and now it’s starting to crack. There are many reasons tile cracks and familiarizing yourself with these reasons can keep tile from cracking in the first place. There are also steps you can take during installation to further minimize damage.
This article will take looks at the top reasons why tile cracks and how you can prevent this from happening to your walls and flooring.
Why Tile Cracks
Here are some common reasons why tile might crack in your home.
Subfloor is Not Properly Prepared
Before installing tiles, subfloors should be cleaned with a solvent cleaner to remove any grease. If this step is overlooked, tile cracks will be more likely to occur.
Mortar is Not Spread Evenly Over Floor
Mortar must not only be spread evenly over the floor it must be given time to harden. If the mortar isn’t completely hardened by the time installation takes place, the tile will shift and crack.
Expansion Joints are Not Large Enough
Expansion joints are the spaces left between tiles during installation that are later filled with grout. They absorb pressure from the shifting tiles. If they are too thin, the tiles won’t have room to expand and contract and they will end up cracking.
When a house settles, the subfloor can move more than the tile covering resulting in tile cracks. An uncoupling membrane will allow for flexibility and may minimize the chances of this type of cracking occurring.
Installing Over Concrete
Tile floors that are installed over concrete are more likely to crack simply because concrete itself is likely to crack. This type of reflective cracking can be prevented by adding a crack isolation membrane during installation.
How Can Cracking Be Prevented?
In addition to doing your best to prevent cracking by preparing yourself for the situations listed above, there are other measures you can take during installation to prevent cracking. One thing you can do is install a ¼” backer board and then install the tile directly above it. This will serve as a layer that separates the subfloor from the tile to prevent cracking.
While a backer board works well to prevent cracking, some argue that an anti-fracture membrane is even more effective. These come in liquid and sheet varieties. The sheets have a waffle like surface that allows the subfloor to move independently from the tiles. The structure also leaves space for moisture and humidity to escape before they reach the subfloor.
Tiles can be quite attractive in a home, but once they begin cracking, they will provide an unsightly appearance that can ruin the effect you are going for. Don’t let this happen to you. Start planning your anti-crack strategy at installation so you can have beautiful tiling that withstands the test of time.
If you have experienced cracked grout or tile, schedule a visit with one of our professionals today!