Ceramic and marble tiles are usually considered the best options for tiling homes in Singapore due to their multitude of advantages.
Not only do these floor tiles add beauty, variety, and design versatility to any home, but they are also:
- easy to clean and maintain
In fact,floor tiles are so durable that the Housing Development Board (HDB) made floor tiles a part of the overall housing plan in Singapore.
However, despite the good reputation of tile flooring, there was an average of 247 reported tile popping occurrences in HDB flats for every month in 2019!
This is where the dislodged tiles get their name from – as the tiles become dislodged from the floor and shatter, it makes a ‘pop’ sound.
Flat owners may be put in danger if floor tiles become displaced and shatter without warning. With the frequency of tiles cracking, who knows, your homep floor tiles could be next!
Thus, it’s important to understand the causes and how you can prevent tiles from cracking at home.
What causes tiles popping?
To determine what solutions to employ when tiles pop, we must first understand the causes.
Let’s take a look at why tiles pop:
Extreme Temperature Fluctuations & Humidity
Ceramic tiles are normally resistant to weather changes. However, these tiles are not immune to sudden, substantial changes in temperature, which causes expansion and contraction within the tile too quickly.
This leads to a loss of adhesion between the tiles and cement base over time. Plus, if there is not enough gap between the tiles, it may cause more stress to build up within the tile, thus, increasing the likelihood of dislodged floor tiles.
So, in Singapore, when we are facing cold temperatures from colder weather like rain, there are increased chances of tiles cracking.
Another possible cause is that heavy rains can cause moisture to get trapped under the tiles. Due to the high moisture absorption of the material, the tiles can swell and expand, creating pressure that leads to them popping up.
Besides cold weather, a likely explanation for dislodged tiles is poor workmanship.
The installation of floor tiles requires an extremely well-mixed cement screed to maximize the integrity of the flooring. However, when sand, cement, and water are not mixed evenly to make the cement base, air pockets are formed underneath the tiles.
These air bubbles prevent proper adhesion to the base of the tiles, making them more susceptible to popping.
Likewise, the evenness of the cement screed surface can affect the adhesion of the tiles.
General Wear and Tear
As with all fixtures in a house, tiling is also subject to natural wear and tear.
As time goes by, the adhesion between the tiles and the screed may weaken,
The bond between the tiles and cement base may weaken over time, causing dislodged tiles.
Poor Quality Tiles
Tiles consisting of too many different materials could increase the chances of cracked tiles due to the differential thermal expansion rates within a single floor tile.
What can you do if your tiles start popping up?
In the unfortunate event that dislodged tiles start to occur, be sure to move away as far away as possible for safety reasons.
Once they stop popping, remove the loose tiles and put them aside. Ensure that the affected area is clean of the shards from the cracked tiles.
Next, use protective sheets like cardboard, newspapers or carpets to cover the tiling and prevent any injuries.
Until tile repair is carried out, try not to step on or directly around this area.
Firstly, you need to alert HDB who will take the necessary measures to investigate and repair the tiling.
That being said, flat owners are responsible for the maintenance of their HDB flats, including repairs for general wear and tear. However, HDB offers “goodwill repairs” for up to 15 years.
Thus, you will most likely need to hire contractors on a private basis for tile repair.
Floor & Co. can help!
Instead of spending unnecessary costs on hacking up the floor and retiling your entire house, Floor & Co provides an economical solution to popping tiles by spot treatment repair and overlay with vinyl flooring.
Contact us today for more information about our tile repair processes!
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