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.
CrackingEditCracks 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.
LiftingEditThin-set is a type of tile adhesive or mortar. Inadequate thin-set coverage causes the adhesion to fail. Observe the 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.
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 TilesEditAlthough 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.
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.