When do you need Movement/Expansion Joints?


17 years in home and subsequent to heavier moisture my 17"+ tile tented. Ins. Co. denied claim after sending engineer who concluded tenting due to "material expansion" and lack of "expansion joints".

I consulted with 2 installers and 2 tile distributors who all said they do not use expansion joints for residential installations and the distributor said while he carries expansion joints he has "never sold any".

When you represent the need for such joints I'm wondering what span or area would require such installation?


ANSWER - Expansion joint is a type of movement joint.  All tile installations require movement joints of some type.  The tile industry installation standards require movement joints and all the manufacturers of tile and tile installation products require movement joints in tile installations.  Movement joints are joints filled with a resilient sealant meeting ASTM C920 that is typically a structural silicone or urethane sealant/caulk.

The movement joint standard is TCNA EJ171.  For interior applications there should be a movement joint every 20 to 25 feet and if it is near direct sunlight they should be placed every 8 to 12 feet in each direction and at all perimeters and transitions.

The purpose of movement joints is to mitigate the stress that the tile is subjected to from temperature and moisture fluctuations that cause the tile to expand and contract.

Generally speaking, insurance companies will pay claims when tile is damaged from a flood event if in fact the tile tenting was resultant damages from the flood event.  They will cover this claim even if the tile was not originally installed correctly.  They will not cover pre-existing damage.  The key is whether the damages were pre-existing or resultant damages from the event.

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