26 Jun 2014

Why do tile floors buckle up and what to do to prevent it?

Buckled up tile floors are a common experience around the world and if it has happen to you maybe you are wondering caused it. Perfectly flat tile floors can buckle up and each season this can happen for a variety for reasons. For example, when temperature and humidity drop, buildings shrink slightly. If the tiles were installed over “crack paper” or if they were hard grouted to the base, a lot of pressure is placed on them when the heat is turned on and there is no more humidity in the room. Which means that pressure will make the tile floors buckle up. Also, if an area of your floor is directly exposed to sunlight and the underlayment under the tiles is of a poor quality, chances are that tiles will pop up eventually. A thermal shock can be the culprit during a hot summer day when after the sun has heated up your outdoor tiles for a few hours, and then a sudden storm that’s see a large volume of cold water hit the surface. Another example is when the sun heats only a portion of the floor, but the rest of it is colder. At the line between these 2 areas there is a significant difference in temperature created. All these examples can cause heaving of the floor tiles. When this happens, there is a loud sound, sometimes as loud as a gun and tiles can pop up. If the tiling was done using quality underlayments and modern techniques there will be no popping up, but there will still be creaking and snapping. So what can be done when tiles buckle up or pop? 1. Replace the floors and install new tiles using up-to-date techniques. 2. Reinstall the tiles if you can inject the areas in various spots with special adhesive. However, this will not solve the problem, but fix it for a period of time. The best option is the first one, because it is very possible that the entire area is damaged and sooner or later the tiles will “tent”. Quality underlayment will prevent any loose stone or cracks in the grout, so proper tiling will eliminate this problem.