Common tile problems and how to fix them

common tile problems
Generally, tiles are durable and hard-wearing. They require little maintenance and are a cost-effective option for walls and floors, both inside and out.  Sometimes, however, tiles fail.  This is often not caused by the tile failing but is usually due to other reasons. Whatever the problem, contact our tilers for expert advice you can trust. We’re here to help.

“Drummy” Tiles

When you tap or walk on your tiles, do they make a hollow sound like a drum?  Then you’ve probably got “drummy” tiles!

Drummy tiles are typically caused because not enough adhesive was applied beneath the tiles when they were initially laid, leading to a hollow void. It can also happen if a good bond between the adhesive and the substrate (i.e. floor or wall) hasn’t formed.  In some cases, excessive movement in floorboards can cause drummy tiles.

Drummy floor tiles

If you’ve got drummy floor tiles, take care because, when weight is applied to the tiles (i.e. walked on or by furniture), the tiles can crack, break or chip.  Contact us for advice on drummy tile repair options.

Drummy wall tiles

If you’ve got drummy wall tiles, you need to check that water hasn’t been penetrating behind the tiles causing the adhesive to break down.  This happens when inadequate waterproofing is in place.

The importance of waterproofing before tiling »


Tile Cracking

Typically, tiles don’t crack because of a manufacturing fault.  It is often due to building movement or incorrect laying of the tiles. Below we’ve listed common reasons why tiles crack.

Cracks that run across several tiles
  • Movement in the substrate caused by structural problems can cause cracking across several tiles.
  • If tiles have been laid on a new concrete slab, and the concrete hasn’t been given enough time to cure, shrinkage in the concrete can transfer to the tiles.
  • Foundation rod stress during concrete settling and curing can cause tiles to crack.
Cracks where old tiles and new tiles meet
  • Typically due to expansion or movement in the substrate joint
Cracks where different floor types meet
  • Cracking along the joint of different floor types indicates movement in the joint.
Cracks in tile corners
  • Faulty laying of the tiles and/or application of the tile adhesive. Can you hear a hollow sound when you tap the tiles?
We can fix cracked or broken tiles?

Rather than replacing all your tiles just because a few are cracked or broken, our tilers can often repair and replace cracked and chipped tiles.  Not only will our tile repair service save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars, but it ensures you’re back walking on your floor quickly.

Tiles Lifting or Moving

Tiles lifting or moving is not a good sign.  Lifting or moving tiles can allow water to penetrate to the substrate so it’s important they are repaired and/or replaced as soon as possible. We’ve listed common reasons why tiles lift or move below.

  • Improper tile adhesive application. Inadequate or uneven adhesive coverage can cause tiles to lift or move.
  • Inadequate subfloor preparation. The subfloor must be clean and level.
  • Building expansion and movement.
  • Water penetration can affect tile adhesive, weakening the bond between tiles and the substrate.
  • Breakdown of the grout (see below).
  • Insufficient curing time after installation.
  • No allowance for natural expansion or contraction – can be common in large tiled spaces.
  • Inadequate allowance for substrate concrete to cure leading to tile instability if laid too quickly.
common tile problems regrouting
Our tile regrouting services will breathe new life into your tiles.

Crumbling or Disintegrating Tile Grout

If tile grout begins to break down, becoming crumbly or powdery, then it is likely not doing its intended job by preventing water from penetrating the tile joints.

The grout of newly laid tiles can become crumbly or powdery due to poor mixing or application. When tiling grout and water are mixed, a chemical reaction occurs which turns the mixture from a pasty consistency when wet to a hard joint when dry.  If the grout has been mixed incorrectly or an inferior product has been used, the grout will fail.

The long term solution is to scrape out the old grout and replace it.

Sometimes, disintegrating grout can be a sign of constant moisture that is penetrating from elsewhere.

In short, crumbling or disintegrating grout should be assessed and repaired ASAP.

Tile regrouting service

Regrouting can breathe new life into your tiles, making them look as good as new again. It also ensures you’re able to walk on your tiled floors very quickly.

We offer an affordable tile regrouting service, using only quality materials. In fact, our workmanship exceeds Australian Standard requirements. We are fully licensed tilers who specialise in the repair and waterproofing of all tiled areas including bathrooms, laundries, kitchens and balconies.  

Our tilers use only quality materials and our workmanship exceeds the Australian Standard requirements.  Over the past 25+ years, we have built a solid reputation based on excellent quality and exceptional service.

We service Sydney’s Northern Beaches, North Shore and North Sydney areas, 24 hours / 7 days. Call 0416 292 002 for a quote.

get a tiling quote

Northern Beaches and North Shore Sydney

Our highly experienced tilers can tile all areas of your home and workplace – inside and out. With 25+ years of experience, you can trust our expert tilers to deliver exceptional results that will withstand the demands of your busy lifestyle whilst enhancing the value of your property. We service Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Upper North Shore and Lower North Shore.

Get in touch for a free quote.