QUESTIONI recently installed some wood look tiles for a friend. Every thing was fine until I was done. Now every time they turn around there is a new chip in the tile. They claim I installed it wrong yet I maintain that the tiles were stored outside, covered in water in freezing temperatures. They were literally covered in ice when I first got there. I think they were damaged by the expansion of the water when it froze. Am I off base? Could that be the case?
ANSWERANSWER - Ceramic tile planks that look like wood, which is very popular lately, are normally porcelain tiles. Porcelain tiles are technically impervious as they must be less than 0.5% absorption.
A more porous ceramic tile could spall from wet and freezing conditions. If the tile absorbed moisture and then it freezes, then the water turns to ice and expands that then can cause some tiles to spall/chip. Because porcelain tiles are impervious, it isn't likely they would spall under the same conditions, since they barely absorb. Although porcelain tiles do absorb a bit, but I wouldn't expect the tile to spall since the porcelain tile is so dense. If it did spall, I would expect it to have spalled while it was frozen, not later after it was installed.
Chipping of tiles can be caused by various events. If the tile has a lot of lippage (two adjacent tile edges are higher/lower than the other), the tile can have a propensity to chip if things run into it like walkers, toys, vacuums, etc. If you drop something hard enough and sharp enough any tile can crack.
To fully understand what caused the alleged chipping, we would have to perform a full investigation, which might not be practical in some cases.