Why Do Tiles Crack?
Cracked tiles on the floor or walls can be problematic, simply because it isn’t always possible to find out the source of the crack. More often than not, a crack isn’t the result of inferior tiles; instead, any anomaly under or around the tiles may have caused it. For instance, a hairline crack can be caused by inconceivable reasons such as concrete that wasn’t adequately cured or bent joists and buckled underlayment.
Identifying the exact source of the crack is essential when it comes to fixing it or repairing the tile itself. On that note, stated below are a few common (and uncommon) reasons behind tile cracks. Read on:
- A sharp blow to the tile
If you notice a crack that is localized or extends across a single tile only, chances are it was caused by a sharp blow to the particular tile. One way to identify this kind of crack is to spot a chip that usually comes off from the area where the tile had received the impact.
This type of crack is commonly observed in kitchens where heavy objects like pans and pots can frequently fall and drop on the floor. Generally, you can spot these cracks around the periphery of the floor and not it’s center.
- Tile on a control joint
Essentially, control joints are planned cracks. Considering concrete has a high chance of cracking at some point in time, control joints help to position such cracks predictably. These are placed to create a relatively weak area in the concrete, thereby allowing to regulate the cracks systematically.
- Tile installed on haphazardly-placed joists
Remember that while wood is flexible, tile is not. Therefore, the lesser the deflection, the better.
Joists are the wooden beams that run underneath the subfloor, holding up everything in place – the subfloor itself, mortar, tiles, all the contents in a room, and people. Therefore, with improperly-spaced joists, the subfloor will get an increased room to deflect, disturbing the floor tiles and cracking them in the process.
- Cracked concrete substrate
It isn’t unusual for long cracks to appear on concrete basement floors or driveways, particularly if the concrete has gotten old over time. While concrete may look like the perfect tile substrate, it has its share of problems.
With any crack in the concrete substrate, the movement is likely to transmit and affect the tiles above. If you spot long, continuous lines of the crack across multiple tiles, chances are the concrete has cracked.
- Uncured concrete substrate
Concrete that is newly poured contains water. With time, the water evaporates, and the concrete contracts. As the concrete cures, the particles contained within the concrete bind tightly, lending it the desired durability and strength.
The time to cure the concrete should be adequate. However, a few thin-set manufacturers may recommend a shorter curing time, something that may not suffice. So, if you have just moved into a new home and can spot hairline cracks in the tiles, chances are the concrete didn’t get the time to cure.
Another reason for cracks to appear is the use of sub-standard tiles. Make sure you read up the specifications listed on the manufacturer’s website.
Magicrete offers four variants of tile adhesives. These include Premium, Elite, White, and Standard. Your choice of adhesive should depend on the type and size of tiles. For instance, Elite is a good fit for ceramic or vitrified tiles, whereas you should consider the Premium variant in case of marble, granite, or larger tiles.