QUESTIONI have about a ten foot crack in my tiles that showed up in the middle of my house (not near any edges of the home) the day after hurricane Matthew. Only one corner of one tile (18 by 18) sounds hollow. The claims adjuster said he had never seen anything like it and it was settlement. Can hurricane force winds cause a crack in the middle of a home?
ANSWERANSWER - When there is failure in a tile installation it is generally not due to one condition or deficiency, but rather due to several compounding deficiencies.
There are a number of different reasons of what causes a ceramic tile to crack. There could be an underlying crack in the concrete substrate below the tile that telegraphs up through the tile. The crack may not appear until the substrate starts to move for some reason.
Tiles can crack if they expand from being subjected to excessive moisture or heat and there are no movement joints to mitigate the movement and resultant stress.
Tiles can crack if they are not properly supported under the tile and then are subjected to some type of live load over the unsupported areas.
There may have been a pre-existing crack in the concrete that started moving when the concrete was subjected to moisture. The exterior walls can move from wind loads that could then exert stress on the tile assembly if the tile is butted up to the walls.
For a tile to crack it has to be subjected to some force to cause the stress. Tiles don't crack by themselves.
The only way to determine what has caused the cracking in the tile is to perform an intrusive inspection of the tile floor in the area where it is cracked and in areas where it is not cracked. It can be determined if the cracking recently occurred or if it was pre-existing.