Main image: Proper Surface preparation needs to be completed before completing any tiled flooring

Zama Ntobela, Ceramics Product Manager at MAPEI, gives us advice on how to avoid tiling failures.

Common causes of tile failure:

1. Inappropriate substrate selection:
• The substrate selected must be rigid and stable
• Provide firm support for the tiles
• Be able to take the tile weight
• Not deflect under load
• Be fit for purpose.
It is essential to ensure that the substrates have been allowed to dry out by exposure to the air.

2. Inadequate substrate preparation:
• Substrates must be dry and cured (free from shrinkage)
• They must be free from contamination as this will prevent adhesion (dust, laitance, grease, paint, adhesive and bitumen residues, and flooring adhesives
• Adequately sound and load bearing (free from loose, flaking, or weakly bonded areas, free from cracks, hollows and voids)
• Strong, rigid, flat and free from deflection (especially for board/timber substrates)

Lifting and cracking of tiles due to expansion

3. Incorrect tile installation method:
• Ensure an even bed of adhesive
• Notched trowel application
• Evenly support the tile
• Back-butter as necessary

4. Incorrect adhesive/grout used:
• It is essential to choose the correct adhesive/grout

5. Not fit for purpose

6. Inadequate movement joints
Stresses occur due to:
• Substrate movement
• Drying shrinkage
• Moisture movement
• Thermal movement
• Structural joins not following through to the ceramic finish

For more information, contact:
Zama Ntobela, Ceramics Product Manager, MAPEI
Tel: +27 11 552 8476

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