Will tile floors crack?

Will tile floors crack?

Tile flooring is a popular choice for many homeowners due to its durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. However, one common concern is whether tile floors will crack over time. Understanding the causes of tile cracking and how to prevent it can help you maintain a beautiful and long-lasting tile floor. This guide will explore the reasons why tile floors may crack and provide tips on how to minimize the risk.

Understanding tile cracking

What causes tile floors to crack?

Tile floors can crack for several reasons, ranging from installation issues to environmental factors. Here are some common causes of tile cracking:

1. Improper installation

One of the most common reasons for tile cracking is improper installation. If the tiles are not installed correctly, they may not adhere properly to the subfloor, leading to instability and cracking. Common installation mistakes include:

  • Inadequate subfloor preparation: The subfloor must be clean, dry, and level before tile installation. Any irregularities can cause tiles to crack over time.
  • Incorrect adhesive application: Using the wrong type or an insufficient amount of adhesive can result in tiles not bonding properly, leading to movement and cracks.
  • Inconsistent grout lines: Uneven grout lines can cause tiles to shift and crack under pressure.

2. Structural issues

Structural problems in the building can also lead to tile cracking. These issues may include:

  • Foundation movement: If the foundation of your home shifts or settles, it can cause the subfloor to move and put stress on the tiles, leading to cracks.
  • Deflection: Excessive deflection, or bending, of the subfloor can cause tiles to crack. This can occur if the subfloor is not strong enough to support the weight of the tiles and the load they bear.

3. Temperature and moisture changes

Tiles are susceptible to changes in temperature and moisture, which can cause them to expand and contract. If these changes are too extreme, the tiles may crack. Common scenarios include:

  • Thermal expansion: Rapid changes in temperature, such as those caused by radiant heating systems, can cause tiles to expand and contract, leading to cracks.
  • Moisture infiltration: Excess moisture in the subfloor or grout lines can cause tiles to swell and crack over time.

4. Impact damage

Heavy objects dropped on tile floors can cause immediate cracks. This type of damage is more common in areas with high foot traffic or where heavy items are frequently moved.

How to prevent tile floors from cracking

Proper installation

Ensuring that your tiles are installed correctly is the most effective way to prevent cracking. Here are some installation tips:

  • Prepare the subfloor: Make sure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level before installing tiles. Any imperfections should be addressed to provide a stable base for the tiles.
  • Use the right adhesive: Choose a high-quality adhesive that is suitable for your specific type of tile and subfloor. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.
  • Maintain consistent grout lines: Ensure that grout lines are even and properly filled to prevent tiles from shifting and cracking.

Address structural issues

Before installing tile floors, it's important to address any underlying structural issues in your home. This may include:

  • Foundation inspection: Have a professional inspect your home's foundation for any signs of movement or settling. Address any issues before installing tile floors.
  • Strengthen the subfloor: Ensure that the subfloor is strong enough to support the weight of the tiles and any additional load. This may involve adding extra support or reinforcing the existing structure.

Manage temperature and moisture

Controlling temperature and moisture levels in your home can help prevent tile cracking. Consider the following tips:

  • Temperature control: Avoid rapid temperature changes in areas with tile flooring. If you have a radiant heating system, ensure it is properly calibrated to prevent thermal expansion.
  • Moisture management: Keep moisture levels in check by using proper waterproofing techniques during installation. This includes using a moisture barrier under the tiles and sealing grout lines to prevent water infiltration.

Prevent impact damage

To reduce the risk of impact damage, take precautions in high-traffic areas and when moving heavy objects. Use protective mats or rugs in areas prone to heavy use, and be mindful when handling heavy items.


While tile floors can crack for various reasons, proper installation, addressing structural issues, and managing temperature and moisture levels can significantly reduce the risk. By taking these preventive measures, you can enjoy the beauty and durability of your tile floors for many years.

For expert advice and professional installation services, visit Floor Source in St. Louis, MO. Our team is dedicated to helping you choose the best tiles for your home and ensuring they are installed correctly to minimize the risk of cracking. We proudly serve the areas of South (Kirkwood) and West (St. Charles, St. Peters, Ellisville). Contact us today or visit our showroom to explore our extensive selection and experience our exceptional service.