Could excessive water cause tile to tent?


Loss-of-Bond/Tenting - I have a customer who recently had a water loss / Broken pipe. Water traveled throughout the home and in less than five days the ceramic floor tile began to tent. The insurance carrier / adjuster want to say that this floor was improperly installed, although this floor is approx 14 years old and never had an incident until now. Is there any documentation to prove that excessive water can cause tile tenting or even hollowness after hot water submerges the floor tile surface.


4 thoughts on “Could excessive water cause tile to tent?

  1. Mandy Corish says:

    2 years ago our sprinklers went off in the condo and flooded the ceramic tile floor. An area of four tiles have cracked and buckled. Our insurance company sent out an engineer to investigate. He claimed it was bad installation and excessive wear and tear. First of all, the condo is twenty years old with the original tile. There are over 200 units in our complex and none have had any issues with their floor. Also, it has been used as a vacation home which we only visit overall one month out of the year. So excessive wear and tear is not an option. IF it was bad installation, wouldn’t problems have arised before 20 years?
    A cork underlayment was used . Could water have seeped under and over time cause the cork to expand or the thin set to loosen and tent the tile? Please advise. Thank you very much

  2. Donato Pompo says:

    Depending on the state you are in and their laws, the insurance companies will take different opinions.

    In most cases, if there were resultant damages to your tile as a result of a flood loss event, then the insurance company will cover it regardless of whether the tile had been installed correctly or not.

    In some states, the insurance company will deny the claim if there is evidence that the tile had not been installed correctly. They will take the position that the improperly installed tile was a major contributing condition that caused the resultant damages to the tile; that the damage would not have occurred if the tile had been installed correctly.

    In many cases, the claimant will claim that the tile was damaged from the result of the water loss event, when it was actually pre-existing damage and had nothing to do with the flood loss event.

  3. Sarika says:

    Please can you assist me with information on ceramic tile tenting after flooding due to a heavy storm. The tiles are approximately 12 years old. the tenting occurred outside and inside my flat after the flooding.

  4. Donato Pompo says:

    If the tiled floor was flooded due to the storm, then the tile will expand when submerged in the water. If the flood water wasn’t contaminated, then normally the water will not harm the tile if it was installed correctly.

    When tile debonds and buckles up we refer to that as tile tenting. The cause of tile tenting is normally due to several compounding conditions. First is that normally the tile installation does not have any movement joints, or not enough movement joints, to allow the tile to expand. There should be perimeter movement joints at the walls and other restraining surfaces, and at least every 25 feet for interior applications.

    If the ceramic tile has a porous clay body, then it is more susceptible to moisture or high temperatures causing the tile to expand. If there are no movement joints when the tile expands then it is constrained and the tile is subjected to an upward force that can cause it to debond. Once the tile debonds it relieves the stress in the tile that results in the tile tenting up. If the tile isn’t bonded very well to the substrate, then it will have a greater propensity to tent up since it can’t resist the stress as well as a well bonded tile.

    So high moisture with a non-vitreous porous tile means the tile will expand. If there are not any movement joints and if the tile isn’t bonded well then you will likely get tile tenting.

    You could try repairing it by removing the tented tiles and letting it dry out to see if they will fit back in. Then cut in movement joints at the perimeters. More than likely you need to replace the tile floor. Plus install the movement joints. If you replace the tile with a porcelain tile that is impervious then it won’t be as susceptible to expansion from moisture.

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