Is my Porcelain Tile strong enough to bear the weight of a heavy wood stove?


I am wanting to lay tile in our basement onto a concrete floor. I currently have an area of tile underneath our wood stove that I laid over 10 years ago ( I will have to remove this). My husband is concerned about the grade and strength of the ceramic tile I am interested in. I would like to lay something similar to Lowe's Natural Timber Porcelain Tile 6 x 24" by True Life but am not confident this will be strong enough to bear the weight of a heavy wood stove. Would this be strong enough grade? PEI rating listed as a 3 with breaking strength listed as 251-499 pounds. Thanks in advance!


ANSWER - If in fact the tile you are selecting is a porcelain tile with the physical properties as required in ANSI A137.1, and it is installed correctly, it should be suitable for bearing the weigh of a heavy wood stove.  Of course you need to carefully place the heavy wood stove on to the properly installed and properly cured tile floor.

Porcelain tiles should not have more than 0.50% absorption and they should have an average breaking strength of at least 275 lbf.  If the porcelain tile is installed properly on a properly prepared concrete substrate, and there are no voids within the thin-set mortar adhesive between the back of the tile and the concrete substrate, then the tile should be suitable for supporting the heavy wood stone on top of it.

25 thoughts on “Is my Porcelain Tile strong enough to bear the weight of a heavy wood stove?

  1. Marcia Dobbs says:

    What should we look for in Ceramic or Porcelain tile for Sporting Goods Business with high traffic, and we are in a State with for seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter (State of Wisconsin). What is going to be the best Ceramic, Porcelain or a stone ( Like Granite)?
    Thank You in advance for your response via my e-mail.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      For a high traffic retail store in an geographical area that has rain and snow, you need to consider the durability and wearability of the tile, the slip resistance, the freeze-thaw resistance, and the ease of maintenance.

      A ceramic porcelain tile would be best for is durability. You want the tile to be slip resistant, but not too textured where it gets dirty easy/frequently and is more difficult to clean. You want it to be stain resistant.

      Throughbody (unglazed) porcelain tiles tend to be most durable because it has a high compressive strength and is chip resistant and it is the same material throughout the entire tile, so if it chips it is the same material. It also tends to be more slip resistant. Porcelain tiles are impervious so they are normally freeze-thaw stable. They also tend to be stain resistant, but they can stain.

      A glazed porcelain tile can be durable and suitable for your intended use. It can be chip resistant, but can chip and the underlying body could be contrasting or not. Glazed tiles tend to be more slippery when wet and easier to clean and maintain. Some slip resistant tile can tend to require more effort to maintain because of a heavy textured surface. Although there are some new glazed tiles that are slip resistant and are still easy to maintain. One is called Stepwise by Marazzi. The glazed surface and body should be impervious so it is stain resistant.

      Whatever you decide on make sure you read the manufacturer’s data sheet to make sure the tile will be suitable for your intended use.

  2. Marcus says:

    Hi Donato, hope you’re having a great day!

    I have a similar situation as the original poster. I just moved into a new home which has 24×24 porcelain tiles throughout the house. I want to put my home gym in one of the rooms, but I am concerned about putting hundreds of pounds of weights and equipment on the porcelain tile floor.

    I have horse stable rubber mats (3/4″ thick) to put down on the floor, but will porcelain tile be able to handle the weight of a home gym?

    I have about 600-700 pounds of free weights, and a heavy power rack (maybe 350 pounds). I appreciate any help you can offer!

    Thank you

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the porcelain tiles are properly installed with 80% thin-set contact or more with no voids at corners or edges of the tile, and no voids larger than 2 sq. inches (size of golf ball) then it can handle the weight of the gym equipment.

      If you drop a heavy weight on the tile from a relatively high level it could damage the tile particularly if it lands on a spot where there is a void underneath.

      By putting down the rubber mats that should provide some protection from dropping something on the floor depending on how heavy and from what height it is dropped from.

  3. Brett says:

    I have a very similar situation as the gentleman with the weight room question. I’m remodeling the fireplace/insert in the living room and plan to install a stone fireplace surround system with mantle, weighing 1,020lbs. The hearth is constructed of 2×6 framing and tiled with black 7″x7″x3/8″ ceramic tile as is the wall around the fireplace. The contractor used thin-set and I’m fairly certain 80-100% covered with no gaps. The weight will be distributed on the two legs of the stone surround, at approx 500lbs each side. The footprint of the legs are 8″x4.5″.
    What are your thoughts on this project? Any experience with this?
    Thanks for your insight and wisdom!

    • Donato Pompo says:

      You would have to get a structural engineer to do the calculations and review the local building codes to determine if you are compliant or not.

      It is not uncommon to have 4×4 inch wood posts holding up exterior decks that I imagine would be supporting more than 500 lbs each.

  4. Judy says:

    I have a beautiful new pool deck with ¾ ” 24″ x 24″ pavers, SANDSET (no concrete). They are set on packed stone and sand and secured with a special polymer sand. I would like to get a large cantilever umbrella with a very heavy base that is on wheels. The base is several hundred pounds (325lbs up to 500lbs). Will rolling this base damage the tiles? If I set a heavy base on the porcelain that does NOT move, with the pavers support it? HELP! Thanks

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Porcelain tiles are very durable, particularly the 3/4″ pavers. Although they are only as good as the substrate to which they are installed.

      Sand-set installation systems tend to have problems if they haven’t been constructed correctly. If there is a 4″ gravel bed with appropriate drainage for water to drain away and if the sand on top of it is at lease 1.5″ thick and well compacted then it might take the weight. Probably moving it into place is where there is the most risk to the tile depending on how it is moved into place. If the tiles are loose and move then they will likely be disrupted as you move it into place. If the sand bed isn’t well compacted then the tiles might sink down. The most durable installations is to install directly to concrete.

  5. Jim Harrison says:

    We would like to roll a heavy electric boom lift across a concrete slab with ceramic tile on it so that we can access the building’s ceiling. This is a commercial building with a concrete slab of 3,000 psi concrete , 4” crushed stone below and welded wire fabric inside. The tile is commercial grad, but I don’t know its specifics. The lift weigh 8 tons and is supported by 4 solid rubber tires that are 12″ in diameter and 7″ wide. My estimate is that the pressure from the solid rubber wheels will be about 1,200 psi. Do you think the wheels will crack the tile? Should I put something over the tile to distribute the weight?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Not only are the design physical properties of the concrete and tile important, but it is important in how they were actually installed.

      The 3,000 psi concrete should be good. If you have a porcelain tile and it is installed correctly it should be able to withstand the loads.

      If the tile was installed without adequate thin-set contact under the tile to fully support it and its corners and edges, then the tile would have a propensity to crack at those unsupported areas of the tile.

      Whether the tile is installed correctly or not, you should put down sheets of 3/4″ nominal plywood sheets and drive over them. You can also put booties on the wheels of the lift so you don’t leave tire marks.

  6. Jennifer Olson says:

    I want to tile a basement cement floor with porcelain tile (using Schluter Ditra Heat XL) and intend to put a Streamline Endless Pool (requires 250 pounds per square foot) on top of the tile. My husband is concerned that the tile could crack. Could you please advise? Thanks.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      There is a Ditra XL, but I don’t see a Ditra Heat XL. If there is a XL version it would just mean the uncoupling pedestals were talker providing a thicker setting bed. The Ditra Heat uncoupling mat is for installing a floor warming system. It doesn’t provide waterproofing, but it does act as a moisture barrier to a degree.

      The Ditra Heat data sheet does say “When placed on a solid foundation, columns or pillars can support tremendous loads”. So if the pool isn’t filled until after it is in place on a completed and cured floor it suggests that it could support a lot of weight. Assuming it is installed correctly.

      If the tile is installed properly over a properly prepared substrate, a porcelain tile installation should be able to support the loads without damage.

  7. tundi goldstein says:

    we just installed a porcelain slab countertop, ‘porslim’ we were told it can tolerate daily use in kitchens. it is 6mm thick [kinda thin] but were told its suitable in kitchen counters and we figured just like the old 4″ tile counter squares, it should be durable. Well, one of the work crew did ‘something’ because today we tore off all the paper to move in and found a crack on the 3″ wide portion at the front of the sink. major bummer! Now my husband is afraid to do anything on the porcelain. Did someone just get reckless and do something stupid or is this a sign of the way its going to be with this material?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the ‘porslim’ gauged porcelain tile panel is a true porcelain tile then chances are the tile is not defective.

      Because you have a 6mm thick tile <1/2" it can have a propensity to crack if it isn't installed correctly.

      Gauged porcelain tiles are much different than a normal ceramic tile. It requires whole different set of installation tools and methods. The substrate has to be very flat and the tile has to be installed with full thin-set (adhesive) contact so there are not voids. Movement joints must be installed at transitions and within the field of tile in larger floor and wall applications.

      If the gauged porcelain tile meets ANSIA A137.3 physical properties and if the tile is installed correctly, it should provide a good working surface for a kitchen countertop. It would perform much better than the old 4-1/4 x 4-1/4 glazed ceramic tiles.

  8. tündi goldstein says:

    Thanks! it was mounted on hydrobanboard laticrete, then glued onto plywood. Not sure how the fabricator will ‘repair/replace the cracked area. wondering also what the weight capacity in general is for this thinness/thickness of porcelain [its all mounted the same, with hydroban and plywood]. Most of it is supported on cabinetry but there is a bar overhang portion and it would be devastating , on many levels, if it gave way to weight. I do have kids who love to sit on top of the counter [a teen thing!] so i need to advise them safely. thanks again for your time attention, it really means a lot!!!

  9. Donato Pompo says:

    Per ANSI A137.3, porcelain tile must have a breaking strength of a minimum of 175 lbf and a modulus of Rupture (type of flexural strength) of 6,000 psi. Porcelain tiles normally have over 20,000 psi in compressive strength. Hydroban Board has a compressive strength of 57 psi. The overhang should have corbel supports if the cantilever is more than a few inches.

    No one should be sitting on or standing on countertops both from a hygienic point of view and from a performance point of view. Otherwise it is considered abuse.

  10. tundi goldstein says:

    thanks again! both the quality and promptness of your replies! so 175 is the average limit on the solid areas, thanks!

  11. Jack E Schneider says:

    I have a Samsung Refridgerator weighing empty according to its spec sheet at 316 pds and on wheels. I want to put MSI polished Porcelain tiles 12×24 inch Onyx Crystal in my kitchen floor but discovered after I ordered that this about 3/8 inch thick tile is rated at only 300 lbs. The Fridge I imagine will be heavier still with food in it so I am wondering if this weight can somehow be cushioned such as with a mat under it, or will the floor hold up on it’s own IYHO?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      The breaking strength standard per ASTM C648 for porcelain tiles per ANSI A137.1 is 275 lbf. So I assume MSI tile’s breaking strength is 300 lbf. That doesn’t have anything to do with the tiles ability to withstand the dead load of a refrigerator.

      The breaking strength test applies a load to an unsupported portion of the tile similar to flexural test.

      Porcelain tiles typically have over 20,000 psi compressive strength, which is more relevant to supporting weight. So as long as the tile is properly installed with full support under the tile, with full support under all tile edges and corners, when applying the thinset mortar adhesive, the tile should easily support that weight.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Porcelain ceramic tile typically has a compressive strength of 20,000 psi or greater, and a breaking strength of over 275 lbf. Although the tile is only as good as the substrate to which it is attached. The substrate can’t have more deflection than L/360 and has to be sturdy and structurally sound. So as long as your substrate meets industry standards and as long as the porcelain tile is installed correctly per industry standards, then it can support the weight and can be drilled into with diamond bits.

  12. sue says:

    I have 12″x12″ ceramic tiles in an upstairs restroom that are cracking in the walk area. Would the problem be the thin set mortar or bounce of the floor that’s creating the cracks when walked on?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      It could be a combination of several things. There might be too much deflection in the floor exceeding the L/360 allowable maximum deflection.

      The tile might have been spot bonded with the thinset mortar causing excessive voids and not meeting the industry requirement of 80% with no voids larger than 2 square inches (size of golf ball) and all corners and edges fully supported.

      If the tile was installed over a mortar bed it could be a reflection crack from a crack in the underlying mortar bed. If there was a backer board installed incorrectly and not fastened properly and not staggered between sheets and you have excessive deflection that could have caused the crack.

      The only way to determine the cause is to forensically remove some of the cracked tile to inspect and evaluate the underlying materials.

  13. Gretchen Flesher says:

    I’m detailing a floor to support a freestanding stone bathtub. Based on the size of the tub filled with water and a 200 lb person inside, I have a concentrated load of 2670 lbs. on a 375 sq. in. base. Can porcelain tile on a 2″ conventional mortar bed support the load or do I need a lightweight concrete underlayment? The floor framing was designed to support a 3 1/2″ concrete slab, but I’d like to use large porcelain (24″ sq.) tiles instead.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      The concern isn’t the porcelain tile itself, because it should have a compressive strength of 20,000 psi or more. A properly compacted polymer modified mortar bed can have a compressive strength as high as 5,000 psi. Plus most porcelain tiles, regardless of facial dimensions, are 5/16″ thick or less, so the tile normally will not weight more than 4 lbs/sf. A wire reinforced mortar bed at the recommended thickness of 1-1/4″ thick weights about 15lbs/sf.

      The concern is first whether the subfloor is structurally sound. The deflection between floor joists should not exceed L/360. Always good to add bracing between the joists. But you need an engineer to do the calculations to be sure the floor is designed to support those loads. Plus you need to install movement joints per TCNA EJ171.

      And the tile has to be properly installed. I would require 95% percent thinset contact with all corners and edges fully supported.

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