Last updated on May 20th, 2022 by Myla Pablo
Tiles are the most common flooring option in every house there is as it is affordable, easy to install if skilled, have variety of designs and durable for years. But although they are sturdy, waterproof and easy to clean, they are still prone to wear out, cracks or loosening that can misalign them as it is used in high-traffic areas. As such, it is better to deal with this problem before it worsen such as water seeping below the cracked tile and causing leaks problem and molds to grow.
This article will help you understand why tiles loosen and how to fix them correctly, whether you are a flooring expert or new a basic Do-it-yourself person
What are the major causes of tiles to crack and loosen?
There are many reasons as to why tiles started to crack and loosen and most of them are including;
Heavy Traffic in the Area
One of the most common reason are heavy traffic in the area most especially when you always move your furniture and equipment in your house. This also include common areas where most people walked on. In due time, the tile adhesive of these areas tends to lose their bond and come lose or sometimes, they just crack when placed in heavy pressure.
Tiles have the properties to expand in cold and retract in heat, this mostly occurs on ceramic or porcelain tiles based on their production. While this event is normal, shifting from hot to cold from time to time can cause the tiles to crack or loosen.
Moisture infiltration and Absorption of Too Much Liquid
Even though tiles are waterproof, their gaps from each other are not. These gaps which is also called grout can easily be penetrated by water and can cause the adhesive to loosen the bond from slab to tiles which in due time will loose and eventually crack or removed completely. Sometimes areas with loose tiles are based from leaks in the area, too water ponding with no proper sloping, or plumbing failure. This can easily be repaired by removing all loose tiles one by one
Wrong Adhesive, Less Adhesive or Adhesive Type
Sometimes the problem of tiles are not the tiles itself but with adhesive that bonds them from the slab. Some tile installer do not placed enough adhesive resulting in loosening of tiles as it cannot be hold properly.
Other loosening cause may be the type of adhesive itself. Not all adhesive are equip to create strong bond that will last long, and they are causing problems as they will wear out faster.
How to Fix Loose Tiles?
Whatever the cause of loosening of the tiles, the most common way is fix the problem first. If the problem is leak in the area, you must ensure that the leak is already corrected or if you reinstall the tiles, it will be loose again in no time.
After correcting what is the problem, you must remove all the loose tiles and check if there are other areas which has a high chance of loosening of tiles, and to check the tiles, the most common and simple way is to check for “Kapak”, or the air pockets below the tiles which do not have enough adhesive or spaces during the tile installation process.
Kapak can be check by tapping the corners of the tiles and the center with a coin, it will surely produce a hollow sound. To fix this you just need to reinstall the tiles.
To repair a loose floor tile in the area, you must;
- Remove the loose tiles by hand.
- If the adjacent tiles are flexible, scrape out the grout surrounding them and carefully peel them out.
- You can do this by inserting a putty knife under the tiles and breaking them free from any remaining adhesive.
- Scrape the underside of the tiles to remove any old adhesive and apply new adhesive.
- Position the tiles in place, let them dry for 24 hours, and then apply grout.
How to Fix Cracked Tiles?
There is no way to fix cracked tiles especially if the design in monolithic like pure white. The only way will be to remove the tiles completely and install a same tiles in place of the cracked tiles.
But if you really need to repair the cracked tiles without removing it, the best way to do it is to apply grout in the affected areas of the tiles or where the cracked are. It will hide the imperfection of the tiles but can still be a hazard issue since cracked tiles get more cracks overtime.
To repair the tiles, you must;
- Cut the grout around the broken floor tiles either using grinder or manually.
- Lift the broken tile. If you cannot, break it into a few pieces using a hammer with point head or drill.
- Clean the area including removing all the debris.
- Apply adhesive and properly place the tile in the affected area
- Apply grout
It is important to remember that when replacing a cracked tile, especially kitchen and bathroom tiles, be careful not to damage the surrounding tiles or it will go on to the other and you will have more problem at hand.