What Causes Tile Flooring to Bow?

Tile flooring can be ceramic, granite or vinyl.

Water Damage

One of the problems that tile floors can sometimes encounter is bowing. There are some clues you can look for to determine what is making the floor bow. These elements can actually lead to larger problems with your home, and catching these small signs can actually save you money in the long run.

Water damage is common in showers, bathrooms and entryways. The grout may have broken down, or the wrong grout may have been used. Water gets underneath the tile and damages the subfloor, causing it to expand. This is common if a porous backerboard was used instead of a waterproof cement board.

Settling House

When a house settles, the rooms where it settles cannot be determined. It all depends on soil conditions. This will cause the tiles to buckle and crack. If this is happening in your home, you need to call out a professional to examine the foundation of the house.

Poor Original Layout

Occasionally, a room is not measured correctly, and this throws off the layout of the tile. If you live in an area where the temperature and moisture levels fluctuate radically, the walls may actually be causing the problem. They will expand and contract, and this pressure will force the tiles to pop up.

Old Mortar

If the mortar is old, it will become loose. Normal walking on old mortar will cause it to pop up off the original surface. This may be more common around washers and dryers because the vibration from these units actually works the tiles off the floor.

About the Author

Philip Powe started writing in 1987 for St. Louis area newspapers. He has since written for "St. Clair County Historical Society Journal" and the "American Association of State and Local Historians Journal." Concentrations are in home and garden, philosophy and history. Powe holds a Master of Arts in intellectual history from Southern Illinois University.