Tile flooring is an appealing choice for many homeowners. The hard surface is cool in warm weather, yet radiant heating can keep it warm in cold months. Allergy sufferers often choose tile for its durability through frequent cleaning. Although tile is a tough surface, problems occur if installation techniques or materials are unsuitable. Installed well, tile floors can last for many years.


Cracks can appear in floor tiles installed on a wavy or flexible surface, even if the tiles seem strong. Although wood
seems sturdy, it is flexible and needs reinforcement. Installing a surface layer of backer board impregnated with concrete will stabilize the floor, explains home improvement expert Danny Lipford. If the floor is made of concrete, it still may require leveling with a concrete-based floor leveling compound. Place a straight edge on the floor to check for dips and waves. The leveling compound will correct them as it settles and hardens.


Thin-set is a type of tile adhesive or mortar. Inadequate thin-set coverage causes the adhesion to fail. Observe the
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manufacturer's application instructions for your situation. Applying thin-set using a trowel with notched teeth keeps the thickness uniform and helps ensure level, secure tiles. Some manufacturers recommend wetting the concrete backer board with a damp sponge to prevent it from wicking away thin-set moisture, causing the adhesive to dry too fast without securing the tile.

Poor AlignmentEdit

Even a slight misalignment at the beginning of a tile installation will grow exponentially as tiles are set across the floor. Graph paper may help you plan a balanced tile layout. Poor planning can lead to crooked tiles, small cut tiles in plain view, excessive cuts for fitting and an overall unprofessional appearance.

Porous TilesEdit

Although many tiles are suited for floors, porous tiles, such as those used in rustic or faux-aged interiors, are best
left for low-traffic floors. Once they collect dirt, they are very difficult to clean. Entryways and kitchens may fare better with glazed tiles that forgive frequent cleaning.

Soft TilesEdit

Wall tiles are not strong enough to serve on floors. If the tile is not labeled as a floor tile, or recommended for floor use, choose another tile. Although some softer tiles are strong enough to hold up to minor wear such as in a powder room, soft tiles will likely break or become scratched over time in high-traffic areas.

Failing GroutEdit

Improper grout or incorrectly sized grout lines lead to crumbling grout. Floor tile spacers inserted between tiles
make straight grout lines of the right thickness for floors. Sanded grout is recommended for floors, which usually have wide grout lines. Epoxy grout is another choice that is growing in popularity for its durability and water resistance, but it requires special techniques and chemicals, notes This Old House. Grout that is not sanded is not appropriate for most floors, and may lead to numerous hours of scraping and refilling the grout lines with new grout.
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