What are the effects of temperature/humidity changes on interior ceramic tile?

QUESTION

Temperature - What are the effects of sudden ambient temperature and humidity changes (cold climate in winter) on interior ceramic tile?

ANSWER

ANSWER - Ceramic tile is very tolerant to temperature extremes. The effects are that ceramic tile can expand and contract, to some degree, from exposure to temperature and moisture changes. The more absorbing the ceramic tile the more it will be affected. It is never good to have extremely rapid changes in temperature or in moisture, as we know how glass can crack with rapid temperature changes. As long as you have proper placement of movement (expansion) joints in the tiled areas and you have a good quality installation, the temperature and humidity changes in seasonal changes or from warming a cold house should not affect the ceramic tile. I hope this helps!

7 thoughts on “What are the effects of temperature/humidity changes on interior ceramic tile?

  1. Catalina says:

    I’m absolutely devastated we had our floor done about a year ago, and I woke up this morning and notice a long hump when I steped on it, it cracked and sunk in can cause this? Please help

  2. Donato Pompo says:

    Your description sounds like your tile floor is what we call tenting. This is caused by the tile expanding and that there isn’t any movement joints to mitigate the expansion so the tile isn’t subjected to more stress than it can resist.

    Often when tenting occurs, we find that the tile wasn’t bonded as well as it should have been; thus the tile is less able to resist the stress.

    Often when tenting occurs it is with very porous ceramic tiles, which are more absorbing and will expand more than denser tiles. Also often the tiles are butted up to the perimeter walls or the joint between the tile and the wall is filled with a cementitious grout. This prevents the expanding tile from expanding as much as it wants to, so that subjects the tile to shear and tensile stress that can cause the tile to debond and then tent up to relieve its stress.

    You need to remove the tented tiles and re-install them. You need to add movement joints at the perimeters and within the field of tile every 20 to 25 feet for interior applications and every 8-12 feet for exterior applications or interior applications subjected to direct sunlight.

  3. Jesse says:

    I had a water loss in my home where the first floor was covered with water; a week or two later we started noticing an excessive amount of hollow tiles throughout the first floor. We don’t know if it’s due to the large amount of water under the tile or maybe the temperature change?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the tile was not hollow sounding before, there is a good chance that being submerged in water caused the tile to expand. If there were not adequate movement joints in the installation to mitigate the resultant stress and the tiles were not bonded as well as they could be, then it might have caused the tiles to loose their bond to some degree. The only way to know for sure is to remove some of those tiles and look for evidence to determine if it was a pre-existing condition or if it was likely due to the water loss event.

      Higher temperatures can cause the tile to expand too. So it might have been a contributing factor; after the water drained away and the tile dried out.

  4. Arslan says:

    We had a bonfire on our roof top. I had placed the wood in a steel tray but after a while I noticed that there was a huge hump beneath the tray and it was extremely hot as if it were about to explode. There is a white circle around it and the tiles are still in a hump form and cracked.
    What could’ve caused this and what could be a possible remedy for this??
    Please suggest

    • Donato Pompo says:

      It depends on what kind of roof tile you have. I assume it must either be a concrete roof tile or a clay roof tile or a slate roof tile. Otherwise it would be some sort of composition roof or wood shingles.

      I’m guessing it is a concrete roof tile. There are light weight concrete tiles and regular concrete tiles and they likely behave differently. Bottom line is you subjected the tile to too much heat. Aesthetically there isn’t anything you can do other than paint it to match the other tiles. Material wise, if it is still shedding water off the root then you might be able to leave it. If it is structurally damaged where it could come loose during a wind storm or if it is not shedding water, then you should replace it. Call a roofing company and they should be able to replace it.

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