Ceramic, porcelain, glass, terra-cotta, and mosaic tile have become popular because they add natural beauty and a lot of interest to the design of a home. Tiles however are prone to cracking especially if they are installed on an uneven or poorly prepared surface or if they have been exposed to extreme forces of nature and severe weather. There are many different ways that you can prevent your tile from cracking during installation or after to eliminate a costly repair or replacement and add value to your home.
If you are still in the beginning stages of construction for a home you can take measures while laying the foundation to prevent tile cracking. Add some steel reinforcement bars to the slab foundation of a home or use a concrete and fiber mix when pouring your concrete slab. Prevent uneven settling of your foundation by fastening your slab into place with metal fasteners that attach to foundation walls.
Simply laying tile over sub flooring will not suffice.. You will need to add two layers of underlayment on top of the subfloor to prevent tiles from cracking as a result of curves in floor joists. You want to prevent the panels from curving at seams and position underlayment so that it overlaps the subfloor joint by half the width of the subfloor panel. Nail down the underlayment in 6 inch intervals at the edges of each panel and use 8 inch intervals in the middle of each panel to tightly secure underlayment to the sub flooring.
Isolation membrane’s are a key component in laying a tile floor. They can be installed previously to laying down the tiles and can be laid on top of the concrete, subfloor, or the underlayment. A crack isolation membrane will allow for slight movement or shifts in the flooring beneath the tile while keeping the tile from moving and cracking.
If you are installing a new tile floor in an older home you will want to reinforce the subfloor to prevent tiles from cracking. You can reinforce a subfloor by placing three-quarter inch thick plywood on top of the existing subfloor. Use a panel saw to cut the plywood to size and fasten it to the subfloor with ring shank nails every 6 inches around the perimeter. Align the sheets together leaving a gap no larger than the width of a credit card between each piece of plywood and use butt joints at each seam.
Make sure to follow the directions on the grout packaging to a T. If you do not follow these instructions exactly as they are written you could end up with too much or too little water in the grout mix and the grout will not properly harden and secure your tiles in place. Pack grout tightly around tiles. Allowing for small gaps between the grout and tile will allow for water to get into the space and could lead to a cracked or loose tile.
Tile and grout sealer is a great way to protect your tile floors. Sealer is especially necessary on outdoor tile flooring as rain,ice,and snow can allow moisture to seep into the pores of tile and grout. Outdoor tiles should receive two layers of clear tile and grout sealer over the tiles. Make sure to allow sealer to dry in between coats. One of the best ways you can prevent stains in your grout is to seal your indoor tile to help prevent spills and daily build up of dirt from settling down into the pores in your grout and tile.
All Kleen has a team of trained professionals that can seal your tile and grout and take some of the work load off of your shoulders. For more information on caring for tile in your home consult our blog or call us anytime. We can help you keep your tile looking fresh and new by giving it a great deep clean. Make an appointment With All Kleen online.