What is the difference between Tile Debonding and Delaminated Tile and Tented Tile?


What is the difference between Tile Debonding and Delaminated Tile and Tented Tile?


ANSWER - Whether it is stone tile or ceramic tile or porcelain tile or glass tile, if the tile becomes loose or unbonded, then we refer to that either as a tile that debonded or we might say the tile has delaminated from its substrate.

If the tile has lifted off of its substrate at some point of the tile installation, but is still attached to the adjacent tiles by the grout joints, then we call that a tented tile.  In this case the tile has delaminated from its substrate or come loose, but is held together by the adjoining tiles.  You can normally step on the tented tile and it will move up and down to some degree.   Normally this condition is due to the tile not being bonded as well as it could be and because there is a lack of movement joints to mitigate the expected expansion in the tiles.

6 thoughts on “What is the difference between Tile Debonding and Delaminated Tile and Tented Tile?

  1. Brian Wilson says:

    I had a bathroom floor delaminate quite severely. (Chipboard floor with plywood screwed to it)

    Photos showed a 60cm length of perimeter showed some movement on a chipboard and plywood floor where there was a 1-2mm gap beween the mastic between the floor and the wall.

    How much vertical movement should be expected to be absorbed by the tile adhesive & tile, as my client is claiming that there should be some flexibility as with all timber frame buildings

  2. Donato Pompo says:

    If chipboard (saw dust with resin) gets wet it can be problematic. The standards for ceramic tile is generally that the floor has to be sturdy and not deflect more than L/360. For natural stone it is not more than L/720.

    If you are saying that the adhesive was 1-2 mm thick then that is considered too thin for a thin-set mortar. It should be over 2 mm thick. USA standards require a minimum thickness of 3/32 inch thick.

    There are thin-set mortars that are low modulus mortars that can absorb more movement, but they are not meant to compensate for substrates that have too much deflection.

  3. Dave Bevin says:

    I have large stone tiles installed on an exterior wall that measures 7.7 metres long by 2.7m high. The house was completed 4 years ago. Just recently we have discovered the bottom row of tiles have debonded from the substrate which is 6 x 2 framing, building paper, and then a cement sheet. I have photos I could send. Your help would be much appreciated.

  4. Donato Pompo says:

    Sounds like you have large slabs of stone that was installed. Why the bottom row of tiles debonded depends on who it was installed and how it debonded. If you hired someone like http://www.CTaSC.com we would look at the underlying conditions for evidence of why tile debonded. We would look to see at what level of the tile configuration did it fail? Was the failure an adhesive failure or cohesive failure within the various materials? We would certainly figure it out, but it isn’t always practical to hire someone of our caliber.

  5. Sandy says:

    Have ceramic tile on my patio. It does make a hollow sound when tapped but there is no give or chipping of the tiles. The grout is solid and not chipped. It has been installed over 20 yrs ago. Should I worry?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Technically hollow sounds is not considered a defect. It can be a symptom of a defect. If you see not damages then it might just be indicative of the type of substrate to which the tile is installed to.

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