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How to Protect Your Tile Floor From Cracks

From: Date:4/27/2017

Tile flooring is one of the most beautiful and versatile types of flooring. However, tile floor can also be vulnerable to cracking if placed or maintained improperly. Below nine steps you can take before, during, and after installation to prevent cracks.

1. Reinforce the Foundation

Tiles most often crack due to small shifts in placement. If possible, minimize this shifting by ensuring a strong foundation. During the construction of your home or building, use a supplemental fiber mix in the concrete or reinforce the foundation with steel bars. If you're moving into a finished home or building, learn what you can about the foundation from the builder or previous owner to determine whether the foundation can support a tile floor.

2. Choose a High-Quality Subfloor

Before you lay any tile, you put down a subfloor or underlayment. The best subfloors are strong and completely flat. If your subfloor curves or bends, it can weaken the grout, individual tiles, and finishing sealant. Most experts recommend using two layers of subfloor materials, such as plywood, that overlap so that no two seams line up and create a vulnerable fault line in the finished floor.

3. Prepare Your Subfloor Thoroughly

Once you lay your subfloor, clean the surface thoroughly to ensure your mortar adheres and hardens correctly. Start by sweeping away large debris and vacuuming up smaller particles. Then, mop the subfloor with mineral spirits or another solvent to clear away any grease or oils that could interact with the mortar.

4. Consider Using an Isolation Membrane

For extra protection, consider laying an isolation membrane between your subfloor and your tile. This thin extra layer absorbs most movement that occurs in the foundation or subfloor to minimize the effect on your tile. Apply the isolation like paint and allow it to set completely before you begin tiling.

5. Choose Your Best Tile Material

If you have concerns with any component underneath your tiles themselves, consider opting for a stronger tile to offset the risk of cracks. Porcelain tiles are generally the most crack-resistant option. Consider glazed ceramic and natural stone options as well. Consult with a tile expert to ensure you choose your best tile material.

6. Apply Mortar Evenly and Consistently

When you begin the tiling process, pay careful attention to the manufacturer's directions. Apply the mortar evenly and allow it to harden as instructed before placing your tiles. This step ensures that your tiles bond securely to the subfloor and experience less shifting. If you cannot confidently apply the mortar or lay the tiles, hire a professional for this portion of the installation.

7. Apply Grout According to Instructions

As with mortar, you must apply grout according to the manufacturer's instructions to bind the tiles securely. Mix your grout using the exact measurements provided, and pack grout into the spaces between tiles. If your grout does not completely fill the lines between tiles, moisture may seep into the space and wear down the adhesion of your mortar.

8. Seal the Tile and Grout

Once you complete installation, apply a sealant to reduce the risk of moisture intrusion. This sealant fills the pores in the tile and grout surfaces to keep spilled liquid, tracked-in mud, and precipitation out. For added protection, consider applying multiple coats of sealant before using your tile floor.

9. Minimize Impact Incidents

Once you complete your tile floor, take precautions to protect your tiles during daily use. Avoid carrying heavy objects over your tile floor and set rules for household play to reduce the impact your tile regularly withstands. Take these steps and rely on the expertise of a tile supplier to ensure your tile floor stays beautiful for its entire lifetime. Ready to install your dream flooring? Consult with Tile Outlet to find the right tile type for your style preferences, home architecture, and budget.