Hydrostatic Pressure causing Tile to Debond?


Hydrostatic Pressure causing tile to Debond? - you mention hydrostatic pressure can make tile tent--how do you resolve that problem?


ANSWER - In theory hydrostatic pressure can cause a tile to debond if the hydrostatic pressure is greater than the tensile strength of the adhesive bonding the tile to the substrate.  If a tile is poorly bonded it takes less force to cause it to debond or tent.  So the question is whether the tile is poorly bonded or is the hydrostatic pressure that great?

Often people misunderstand the definition of or the condition of hydrostatic pressure and wrongly associate it to a moisture problem.  Hydrostatic pressure in effect is where the water table is higher than the point where the water is being forced up from.  Sometimes this could be a significant pressure and sometimes not.

The answer to the question of how to remediate a hydrostatic problem is it depends on what the condition is and what is the source of the hydrostatic condition.

Using vapor retarders under slabs and constructing French perimeter drains to control the flow of the water can work in some cases, but it depends on what are the conditions.

3 thoughts on “Hydrostatic Pressure causing Tile to Debond?

  1. Kiana Roquemore says:

    We had a slab leak. Our floor was tile. The tile was installed directly on concrete slab. Upon demolition, we were told by our contractor that, in their experience, our tile floor was the most difficult to remove. After the slab leak we noticed 3 tented tiles and one cracked tile at the epicenter of water surfacing the floor. Within 48 hours of the onset of the leak, which started by only a couple of minor drops, a vast majority of our living room floor was covered by water. Could the slab leak caused the tented tiles and the cracked tile?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Yes the slab leak could cause the tiles to tent up, and tiles and grout could crack as the result of the tile tenting; particularly if people are walking over the loose tiles.

      Chances are the tiles were originally installed without movement joints where they butt up to perimeter walls. The tiles are more likely more porous types of tiles that will significantly expand when subjected to moisture. The tiles likely were not bonded as well as they could be to their substrates. Thus the water caused the tile to expand and they were constrained at the perimeters so the only direction they could go is up.

      Even if that is all true that the tiles were not installed correctly, generally speaking the insurance companies are only concerned on whether the water loss incident resulted in damaging the tile floor. If so, it is my experience that most insurance companies will pay the claim.

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