Could salty water from flood cause tile to crack or debond?


Tile Debonding and Cracking After Flood - My home was constructed in 2003 and experienced Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

About a foot of saltwater flood my home during Katrina causing, what I thought, only damage to my personal property. In 2007 and recently I began to notice cracked tile, and tile seperation throughout my home. The tile is 12" x 12" porcelain tile over a concrete slab slab. Total square footage is 1800. Do you think the salty water from the flood caused this loss bond and if so how?


ANSWER - Ceramic tile (which includes porcelain tile) if installed correctly should not debond or crack.  Ceramic tile properly installed over a normal concrete slab that is subjected to a salt water flood should not cause the tiles to debond and crack.

Either the tile was not installed correctly in the first place and the flood caused the tile to expand  causing stress that then contributed to the tile debonding and then perhaps the cracking was caused from walking on loose tiles, or there are other factors that can only be determined by performing a forensic intrusive inspection.  Visit our Forensic Services section of this website for information on having your problem investigated, which may or may not be practical considering the cost for those services.

There could be other factors involved too that may contribute to the tile floor failure when subjected to flooding. Normally when there is a failure it is due to compounding factors.

If it was installed over a water sensitive substrate such as wood or a gypsum underlayment or with a water sensitive adhesive such as mastic the water could have caused those products to react in a way to cause or contribute to the tile cracking and debonding.  Also if movement joints (expansion joints) were not properly installed it could have contributed to the problem.  Good Luck.

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