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Why Do Floor Tiles Crack? Common Causes and How to Avoid Them

Understand the reasons behind the distressing sight of cracked floor tiles and learn effective methods to prevent such a scenario to avoid floor tiles cracking.


Floor tiles can add beauty and elegance to any space, but cracked tiles can quickly ruin the aesthetic appeal. If you've ever dealt with a crack in tile, you know how frustrating and costly it can be to repair or replace them. To help you understand the reason behind floor tiles cracking and how to avoid this issue, we've put together this comprehensive guide. Let's dive in and explore the common causes of cracked tiles and effective preventive measures.

What is floor tiles cracking?

Floor tile cracking refers to the presence of cracks, fractures, or breaks in your floor tiles. These cracks can range from small, unnoticeable fissures that only affect the surface of the tiles to large, noticeable cracks that delve deeper into the tile. Beyond just being aesthetically unpleasing, in some cases, these cracks may signify underlying structural issues that could potentially pose larger threats to the integrity of your home or business's construction.


Cracks in your tiles, even a hairline crack tile can be more than just a cosmetic issue. They can act as gateways for moisture to enter underneath your flooring, leading to the growth of mildew. Furthermore, over time, these cracks can also deepen, creating tripping hazards in your space. Understanding the cause of these cracks is crucial for their prevention and prompt repair by filling cracks in tiles with appropriate solutions such as epoxy grout.

What causes cracks in tiles?

Several factors can contribute to the development of cracks in floor tiles. Understanding these causes is crucial in order to prevent floor tiles cracking effectively. Here are the most common culprits:


1. Hard Impacts 

One of the primary causes of tile cracking is hard impacts. When heavy objects are dropped onto the tiles or when tiles experience sharp blows, they can develop immediate cracks or weaken over time. It's essential to be cautious when moving furniture or other heavy items on tiled surfaces to avoid damaging the tiles.


2. Incorrect Installation

Poor installation practices can lead to tile cracks. Inadequate adhesive coverage, improper grouting, or insufficient substrate preparation are common installation mistakes that can result in cracked tiles. Hiring a professional tile installer who follows proper installation techniques is crucial to prevent such issues.


3. Bearing Too Much Weight

Excessive weight or pressure on the tiles can cause them to crack, especially in areas with inadequate structural support. This can happen when heavy objects are placed directly on the tiles or when there is concentrated weight on specific spots. Be mindful of the weight distribution on your tiled surfaces and use proper support to prevent cracking.


4. Cracked Substrate

The subfloor or underlying surface plays a significant role in tile durability. If the subfloor is damaged, cracked, or uneven, it can create stress on the tiles above, leading to cracking. Ensure that the substrate is in good condition before tile installation, and address any structural issues promptly.


5. Tiling Over Control Joints

Control joints or expansion joints are designed to allow for natural movement and expansion of building materials. Ignoring these joints when tiling can restrict the movement of the flooring, causing stress on the tiles and resulting in cracks and tile popping. Pay attention to control joints and follow proper tiling practices to accommodate for expansion and contraction.

How to avoid cracked tiles?

Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding cracked tiles. By taking some proactive measures, you can minimise the risk of floor tiles cracking and avoid the hassle of repairing a cracked tile. Consider implementing the following tips to avoid cracked tiles:


1. Choose Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles are highly durable and resistant to cracks. Opting for these types of tiles can significantly reduce the chances of tile cracking. Porcelain tiles are known for their strength and ability to withstand heavy use, making them an excellent choice for high-traffic areas


2. Use Plywood and a Concrete Subfloor

Properly preparing the subfloor is essential to prevent tile cracking. Use plywood and a concrete base to create a stable and even surface for the tiles. This helps distribute weight evenly and minimises the risk of cracks due to an unstable foundation.


3. Look for Dead Spots

Before tile installation, thoroughly inspect the subfloor for any hollow or uneven areas. These "dead spots" can weaken the tiles and make them prone to cracking. Address any issues by reinforcing or repairing the subfloor before tiling.


4. Consider Expansion

In larger areas or spaces that experience temperature fluctuations, it's crucial to allow for expansion joints. These joints accommodate the natural movement of the tiles, preventing stress-induced cracks. Consult with a professional installer or follow industry guidelines to determine the appropriate spacing and placement of expansion joints.

Cracked or chipped tiles can be a hassle to deal with, but understanding the causes behind them and implementing preventive measures can save you time, money, and frustration. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog, you'll be well on your way to enjoying crack-free and long-lasting tiled surfaces. For more in-depth tile installation tips and techniques, check out our video on tile installation tips that provides valuable insights into proper tile installation practices.

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