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8 Reasons for Tile Popping and its Prevention

Tile popping is a common problem in many homes, but it doesn't have to be. This informative blog covers everything you need to know about the eight types of tile popping and provides practical solutions to avoid costly repairs and safety issues.


What is Tile Popping?

Due to their aesthetic appeal, most homes consist of floor tiles in place of marble or concrete flooring. However, improper care of these tiles causes them to pop out, break, or bend, creating unevenness in the floor. This is known as tile popping.

Tiles look shiny and sleek from the beginning, they don’t need to undergo any procedure or polishing to gain their attractiveness. However, the floor tiles popping up is a frustrating and concerning issue.

Reasons Floor Tiles Popping Up

“Will this give my home an attractive and aesthetic look ?”


This is possibly one of the most important questions a person attempts to answer while constructing their home. From the roof style and windows to wall textures and flooring, every aspect of a structure is designed to ensure that the final outcome is pleasing to the eye.

However, sometimes people tend to forget about factors other than the attractive appeal that need to be considered in this process. For example, tile installation requires proper care and attention to ensure its durability.

Not prioritising the correct method of installation, usage of products, and care during and after installation can lead to defects in the tiles. Among these defects, the most common one is tile popping.

Reasons for Tiles Popping Up

Tiles popping or buckling without warning pose a major health hazard for the inhabitants. So, it is advised to understand the possible reasons for tiles popping up :


1. Unsuitable Cleaning


Before you lay the floor tiles, it is important to clean them and the floor you lay them on. In not doing so, you may face the consequence of the tiles bending and popping up. This is because improper cleaning of the floor does not support the uniform bonding layer.


2. Unevenly Set Tile


There is a specific troweling technique that must be used in the case of tiles of larger size. This is to ensure the tiles form a strong bond with the tile adhesive. You must also push the tiles in by whacking them with a wooden object.

Not following the set procedure can lead to uneven tiling, making it more likely for the tiles to pop up.


3. Floor Expansion


Tiles are permeable; they allow materials and liquids to seep in, causing them to swell up due to high levels of moisture absorption. This results in the surface expanding, and the pressure due to it can pop the tiles.


4. Use of Poor Quality Bonding Agent


Quality is an important factor to consider while choosing the bonding agent for tiling. If a bonding agent of poor quality is used, the tiles can’t form a secure and firm bond with the underlying substance.

So, in case of changes in environmental conditions like temperature shifts, or humidity, the grip of the bonding agent on the tiles will loosen, causing defected or buckled tiles.


5. Use of Poor Quality Tile Adhesive


Making use of high-quality tile adhesive is extremely important, especially if the floor is exposed to direct sunlight. If adhesive is not used at all or a poor quality one is used, the sunlight will lead to expansion, causing buckled tiles due to pressure.


6. Old Tiles

Old tiles tend to get brittle as they lose their flexibility and their ability to withstand temperature changes. Using these increases the chances of tile popping.


7. Bent Tiles

Sometimes, the tiles turn out bent during manufacturing itself. Using these increases the possibility of defected or popped tiles.


8. Uneven Subfloor

If the subfloor is uneven, it will not form a strong and uniform bond with the adhesive or mortar. This may cause your floor to look uneven and untidy.


How to Avoid Floor Tiles Popping Up ?

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, the first thing you should do is check the area for any defects. This will help you take quick action and resolve the issue as soon as possible.


During the renovation, make sure the contractor or builder has taken all the necessary steps to avoid tile popping. 


Tapping the hollow tiles with a light tool is a good method for current homeowners to identify any loose tiles. If you do find any, the easiest way to solve the problem is by jetting in some floor tiles adhesive


In case the tiles pop up, you can take the following measures :


  • 1 .Move away until they stop popping.
  • 2. Once stopped, get rid of any shards or cracks from the broken tiles.
  • 3. Place a thick cardboard sheet on top of the defective surface.
  • 4. Cover the area with a piece of furniture, such as a sofa or cupboard.


If you’ve found loose tiles all over the floor and are wondering how to repair these pop-up tiles, the most thorough way of doing this is by removing the tiles and redoing the process entirely.



1). What causes tiles to pop up ?


Tiles can pop up or become loose due to improper installation, uneven subfloor, moisture-related issues, weak adhesive, heavy foot traffic or structural movement.


2). Can I fix a loose tile myself ?


It is possible to fix a loose tile yourself by removing the adhesive, reapplying new adhesive and reinstalling the tile. However, it is best to call a professional if the issue is more severe or if you lack the necessary skills.


3). How can I prevent tiles from popping up in the first place ?


To prevent tiles from popping up, hire a qualified and experienced tile installer, avoid exposing tiles to excessive moisture or heavy foot traffic, and maintain the tiles regularly.

The floor is one of the most important parts of your home. And while styling it with tiles magnifies the beauty of the place, the tile installation process requires some serious concentration and effort.

So, make sure to bring in a contractor who can not only help you install aesthetic tiles but also help fix any broken ones!

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