Why do I have loose Grout and Hollow Tiles?


Would like to pick your brains about loose grout and hollow sounding tiles in different areas of a tiled house.

Approx 15 years old - unknown installation details. Floor appears very level and no obvious water damage.
Most of the tiled areas are fine however there are a couple of area which have severely loose grout and there are areas where the tiles are very hollow sounding.

I have no experience or knowledge of tiled floors - and would appreciate any information, advice or even direct me to where I can source information. Thanking you for your time and look forward to hearing a reply


ANSWER - Even though the tile floor was installed 15 years ago, if it was installed correctly it should not have loose grout; unless it was abused in some way.  I am assuming that these problems are limited and the entire floor doesn't have these problems.

Normally loose grout means that the tile might be loose or the tile and/or floor is moving for some reason; such as excessive deflection in the floor.  Or sometimes it might mean the installer did not full pack the grout joint full that made it susceptible to damage.

If the tile is not moving and the floor doesn't have deflection, then you should be able to regrout those tiles.

Regarding hollow sounds, hollow tile is not a defect, but it can be a symptom of a problem.  If all the tiles around this tile is solid sounding, then changes are the follow tile is an isolated condition.   The tile could be hollow sounding because there are voids under it.  It could be hollow sounding because the tile is not bonded to some degree to its substrate.  It could be that the substrate under the tile has a hollow sound and the tile is bonded well.  The only way to determine why the tile sounds hollow is to remove it and see what are the underlying conditions and look for evidence of what cause it.


2 thoughts on “Why do I have loose Grout and Hollow Tiles?


    Can I live in a home with tile sound hollow? Is there any risk that these tiles fall apart? can we polish and seal then under such conditions? Many thank in advance.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Tile sounding hollow is not a defect in itself. The hollow sound might be an indication that there are voids under the tile or it could mean that there is a membrane installed under the tile, or that the floor is over a raised subfloor.

      If the tiles are hollow sounding because of voids, they won’t become damaged unless they are subjected to something very heavy or if they are impacted. In those cases, typically the tiles will crack. If the tiles are a natural stone they can be polished and sealed.

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