How to solve common tiling problems in your home

Common tiling problems and how to fix them.

Maintaining your home’s overall look is an important part of being a homeowner.

If you’re thinking of giving your kitchen or bathroom a tile makeover, there are a few things you should be aware of in order to make sure that the job runs smoothly from start to finish and to ensure that it lasts for many years to come.


Take a look at these solutions to common tiling problems.

Loose Tiles

Occasionally tiles come loose after installation, creating a hollow sound in certain areas of the walls and floors where they have been installed. This usually happens due to lack of control joints or soft joints in the tile work as well as not enough thin-set being used.

The concrete slabs underneath expand and contract at a different rate with regard to temperature when compared to the tile itself. This leads to tension over months and years, eventually leading to lose tiles.

Solution: A great way to prevent this from happening is to use a good quality thin-set and substrate that will allow the concrete underneath and the tile to breathe in a more natural manner regardless of temperature fluctuations. To avoid cracks from bubbling up to your tiles, it is highly recommended that an underlayment membrane such as MAPEI’s Mapeguard UM, be installed with your new tile.


Cracked Tile and Grout

Cracked grout is usually a precursor to tile cracking and/or becoming loose. Poor installation and an uneven floor can also wreak havoc on an entire tile installation project.

Solution: To prevent tile and grout from cracking, add steel reinforcement bars to the concrete mix or add in a bit of fiber. In addition, you can lay crack isolation membranes before laying tile. These allow for slight movement and change in temperature, effectively helping the tile expand and then contract when the external temperature stabilizes. Lastly, mix grout as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure to tightly pack it into the spaces between the tile since leaving gaps may lead to water seeping in, effectively causing cracks over time.


Poor Workmanship

It is your responsibility to make sure you are visually inspecting the job often. You want to make sure grout lines are straight and the space between tiles are consistent.

Solution: American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards require that a tile be inspected at a normal floor viewing distance of about 6 feet.  Make sure to do this if you have a contractor doing the job.  If anything looks remotely off, inform them and they will make the needed changes.  Continue carrying out these inspections several times during installation to avoid having to redo it at the end of the job.


Choosing your tile installation materials is as important as choosing your tile. Even though you’ll never see an anti-crack membrane or thin-set once installed, these products are vital to the success of your project.  The experts at Tiles Unlimited will ask questions about your installation to insure you buy not only the right tile, but also the right installation products. Put another way, your beautiful tile installation begins with what’s installed underneath.

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