Will cracks in foundation cause my tile to crack?


Cracks in Concrete Slab - I plan on having 18" porcelain tile installed in my home over a concrete slab foundation. There are miner cracks in the foundation. I was told that the cracks will not cause my tile to crack because my house is 17 years old, and therefore, is through setteling. What is your opinion?


ANSWER - Per our industry standards for ceramic tile and stone and from a practical point-of-view, any concrete substrate that has shrinkage cracks should be isolated with a crack isolation membrane.

If the cracks are structural cracks where there is a height difference from one side of the crack to the other then the crack isolation membrane will not provide protection and the crack will have be repaired with epoxy and dowel pins.

Shrinkage cracks will continually move in a horizontal plane and need isolating so they will not continue up through the tile.

Be sure to adequately place movement joints (expansion/soft joints) throughout the tile floor and along the perimeter where it abuts restraining walls. They should be placed every 20' to 25' each direction interior and for exterior or near interior windows and skylights every 8' to 12' in each direction. Use a proper sealant meeting ASTM C920 i.e. 100% silicone, urethane or polysulfide (not a latex caulking).

For website links to manufacturers of installation systems to go our website Resources and Links section under installation products

5 thoughts on “Will cracks in foundation cause my tile to crack?

  1. Jeffrey Smith says:

    Our 2-year old house developed a 17-foot crack in the ceramic tile floor of the foyer and kitchen. The tile was laid directly onto a concrete slab. Pictures taken during framing of the house show a crack in the newly poured concrete that corresponds to the large crack in the tile floor. Since then, additional multi-room cracks have appeared in the tile. The builder sent us to the new home warranty who denied our claim since the house wasn’t unsafe or unlivable as a result. We’re looking at a $20k floor replacement and I’ve been quoted $26K to stabilize the slab. That was before the 2 additional cracks appeared. This was our retirement home and we can’t afford these expenses. I am developing a web site to shame the builder into standing behind their work. Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Based on what your information. According to ANSI A108 industry standards they should have never installed tile cover a crack substrate. If the cracks were shrinkage cracks and no wider than 1/8″ with no vertical displacement they could have been remediated with a crack isolation membrane.

      It does not seem reasonable that the builder would deny the claim. This would be considered a latent defect that you could have not anticipated. Most states have laws that state that the builder has to honor claims of latent defects for a certain number of years. In California it is for 10 years.

      I would file a claim against the builders contractors license through the contractor license board if you have one in that state. Or if practical get an attorney and file a civil lawsuit.

  2. Jeffrey Smith says:

    Thank you, sir. I filed a claim against their license this morning on your advice. How do I get the relevant text for ANSI A108? Is it available free online? One more question… are ANSI standards voluntary or mandated? Thanks again.

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