How do I keep the Hairline Cracks in my Ceramic Tiles from Getting Worse?

QUESTION

I just notice some hairline cracks running through a couple of ceramic tiles which are adjacent to each other. There is one hollow sounding tile next to them . The hollow one not cracked yet. I shutter at the idea of replacing this floor. I’m ok with ignoring the hairline cracks because the are hardly visible unless I get on hands and knees to look at cracks. Any advice on what I can do to keep them from getting worse and more noticeable. ??? And what do you feel is going on here. All of other tiles feel solid. Do you think that that 1 hollow tile caused all this. Will I have a bigger problem down the road if I just ignore? Help — don’t know where to turn. Any advice And education truly appreciated Thank u. Jackie

ANSWER

ANSWER - Normally when there are hairline cracks going continuously through a number of tiles including the grout joint, it suggests that there might be a crack i the substrate below it that is telegraphing up through the tile.  The hollow tile might be because there is a void under it or that it isn't bonded.  If the tile wasn't bonded to the substrate you should feel it being loose and the grout surrounding it will be cracked.

There isn't much you can do about it other than replace the tile if you have matching replacements.   The crack could get longer depending on what caused the crack.

6 thoughts on “How do I keep the Hairline Cracks in my Ceramic Tiles from Getting Worse?

  1. Jackie says:

    I’m ok with crack getting longer—-because it’s not noticeable . I can live with that. I AM concerned with it getting wider. Do u think that would happen. All of the tiles fill secure. None are loose So far.

  2. Jackie says:

    The floor is 5 years old. Do you think I will be seeing more hollow tiles in the future or if they were going to happen they would have already happened in more places than just the 2 tiles I have already found. And also—— do the hollow tiles have anything to do with tiles next to them having hairline cracks or do you think the cracks in other tiles just related to a crack in substrate directly below them.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Whether you get more tiles that become hollow depends on what is causing them to be hollow. Without knowing the cause there is no way to predict the likely outcome. Unless you do the forensic investigation there is no way of knowing if the cracks and hollow tiles are related or independent of each other.

  3. Jackie says:

    Thanks for your patience. As you can probably tell— the last thing I want to do is pull up any tiles. I have decided to live with the hairline cracks for now and see if they get any worse. Do you recommend I fill them with anything like silicon caulk etc. If you do recommend — what product exactly should I use. I see alot of you tube videos recommending different things from silicon to wood glue and then matching paint to put over. Your thoughts on this??? I was thinking to possibly fill to keep moisture out or am I better off just LEAVing them alone right now since that are not noticeable to anyone but me. ???

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If it is a hairline crack I don’t see how you could fill it with anything or any benefit from trying to. If the crack is wide enough you could fill it with a silicone sealant that meets ASTM C920 as it will bond well and be resilient to mitigate and movement within the joint. Although the sealant might pick up dirt over time as people walk over it and it might accentuate the appearance of the crack.

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