Cracked Floor Tiles

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Why are my floor tiles cracking?

Cracked floor tiles are unfortunately a common problem associated with a poorly installed tile or natural stone flooring. While there can be cracked tile that is not caused by a poor installation, this is uncommon and rarely occurs unless there is structural movement in the substrate below. Most often, there are a few common underlying conditions that are causing most tiles to crack.
 
The most common underlying condition we see that causes floor tiles to crack is voids in the adhesive mortar that is bonding the tile to the substrate. This is a huge industry problem as many installers do not know or do not care about the proper application of adhesive mortar that will fully embed the tile with even support including all edges and corners. The easiest way to avoid voids is to use single direction troweling when installing the tiles. This means that after the substrate is first flat troweled, it is then notch troweled is single direction which not only provides better contact but also lets air escape easier than if troweled in the typical swirl method.
 
Another common reason that floor tiles crack is when an installer tiles over joints in the substrate below. This happens often as the installer and the end user do not want to see these joints in the finished tile work. Ultimately, when this is done, they will end up having to repair the installation and honor the joints in the substrate by letting them transfer up through the tile and caulking with a proper sealant. Other reasons that can contribute to cracked floor tiles are not installing movement joints, improperly installed underlayments such as cement board, and tiling over substrates that have too much deflection.
 
We offer onsite forensic inspection and investigation services that can be tailored to any budget. We can detect and uncover any deficiencies that an installation has are likely causing flooring tiles to crack and provide recommendations on how to correct the installation so that is will perform as intended.