Tile Popping & Its Causes | How To Repair Pop Up Tiles

What Is Tile Popping?

Tile popping is an event where floor tiles lift or pop out or break from their original levels forming an uneven surface over the area or floor. 

Tile popping can be caused in all types of tiles, i.e., ceramic tiles, vitrified tiles, porcelain tiles, etc., if you don’t take proper care while laying the tiles.

Tile Popping

6 Reasons Why Tiles Pop Out

There are many reasons which can cause tile popping. Let us discuss them below in detail. 

1. Uneven Subfloor

One of the main causes for tile poping is the uneven subfloor. With an uneven subfloor, a uniform bonding can’t be achieved between tiles and the subfloor as each tile gets a different amount of adhesive or mortar, leading the tile with weaker bonds to pop out.

So it is necessary to ensure that the subfloor is in good condition and leveled so the tile surface appears evenly throughout the floor.

2. Unfavorable Weather Conditions

Various weather conditions can also lead to tile popping. While human errors can be predicted and rectified, weather conditions such as exposure of tiling surface to direct sunlight will risk tiles appearing because the heat from the sunlight will cause the expansion of tiles. Hence, the weakly bonded tiles pop out. Tile popping can also occur if tiles are exposed to excessive moisture. 

3. Improper Cleaning

Cleaning the subfloor and tiles is necessary as they contribute to causing unevenness of the floor. Waste, such as debris or unwanted things on the subfloor, will level up the area causing improper bonding between the subfloor and tiles, leading to tile popping. So before laying tiles, a thorough check should be done to achieve uniform flooring.

4. Improper Spacing 

Improper spacing can also cause tile popping as tiles tend to expand due to weather conditions. So it is necessary to provide proper spacing between tiles so they can expand freely. For ceramic tiles, a spacing of 3mm between tiles is recommended.

5. Poor Adhesive Quality or No Adhesive

Adhesive plays a vital role in bonding between tiles. If the quality of the adhesive is poor, tile popping occurs. Not using adhesive can also lead tiles to pop out; hence it is recommended to use good quality adhesive to achieve better results.

6. Unskilled Workers

Workers play an important role in laying tiles; any negligence in their work can lead to improper tiling, which will affect joints or space between the tiles, resulting in tiles popping out in the future due to expansion or moisture.

Things to Remember Before Repairing Pop-Up Tiles

1. Do not use a sledgehammer to remove tiles. It could damage the structure of the flooring.

2. Use tape to block off the area under your doors to stop tiles from moving to other rooms.

3. Clean up the area and prepare for the removal process.

4. Make use of heavy-duty demo bags for disposing of broken tiles.

5. Utilize small hand hammers to break the tiles.

6. When applying tile, be sure that both the adhesive and the tile aren’t completely dry to ensure a good bond.

7. Wear the proper safety equipment (eye protection and eye protection, etc. ).

Required Tools to Repair Pop-Up Tiles

The following tools are used during the tile replacement process.

1. Tile cutter or wet saw – Used for cutting purposes.

2. Notched trowel – Used to make lines on adhesive for better bonding.

3. Nippers- Used for cutting irregular, small cuts to fit tile around pipes or to create mosaic tile installations

4. Tile spacers – Used to keep the floor level and ensure an equal amount of grout is filled through the gaps.

5. Grout float – Used for smoothing the freshly applied grout into grout joints of the tiles.

6. Tile Leveling System – Used for keeping the tile floor level with minimal error.

How To Repair Pop-Up Tiles

The following process helps you to know how to repair pop-up tiles.

First, look for the overall damages, whether it is minor or major. It is always recommended to consult with an experienced contractor.

Make sure to get the same tiles as old ones so they can match without any color difference, though it is hard to find similar tiles in the market.

Prepare the area where tiles need to be replaced.

Keep all the necessary tools nearby to access quickly and not walk on tile pieces with bare feet.

Now break the old poped tiles with the small hammer. Make sure not to damage the adjacent tiles as it will lead to changing whole floor tiles.

Clean out all adhesive and bits. Then, dampen your tiles, then rub the surface using a damp sponge to aid in adhering to the adhesive.

Next, apply adhesive material or mortar on the surface.

To achieve a strong bond between the surface and tiles, make holes/small cuts on the adhesive.

Check that your tile is smooth and straight. Line it up properly and give a light tap with a light hammer.

With the help of float, apply grout at a slight diagonal to the grouted joint.

Get rid of any extra grout using a wet sponge once the grouting is done.

To achieve better results, do not walk on the newly laid tiles for the first 24 hours.

By using a wet sponge, remove the dust of grout remains. Then clean the area using a clean sponge.

FAQs on Tile Poping

1. What is tile popping?

Ans – Tile popping is an event where floor tiles lift or pop out or break from their original levels forming an uneven surface over the area or floor. 

2. What causes tile popping?

Ans – Following reasons cause tile popping.

  • Uneven Subfloor
  • Unfavorable Weather Conditions
  • Improper Cleaning
  • Improper Spacing 
  • Poor Adhesive Quality or No Adhesive
  • Unskilled Workers

 3. What tools are needed to replace tiles?

Ans – The following tools are used during the tile replacement process.

  • Tile cutter or wet saw
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile spacers
  • Grout float
  • Tile Leveling System

Also Read

How To Remove Stains From Bathroom Tiles

12 Best Types Of Flooring For Homes And Buildings


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