Will the Cold Temperatures cause Tiles to Tent, and Will the insurance provide coverage for a tented tile floor?

QUESTION

Our house is 25 years old (we have lived in it for 15 years) and this week our stone floor in the kitchen has began to tent. I have been reading about it and the most likely cause for us I believe is we live in south Louisiana where it rarely gets cold and we have gone from 70's down to 20's now for the second time in weeks and it is staying that cold for several days.

It seems that it happens if not put down properly but since it has been 25 years I wondered if insurance can still say it is because it was not put down properly? I also read that the tenting more typically occurs within the first 12-18 months or 2 summer and winter cycles.

Second I wondered if you could tell me what I should expect the insurance guy to do when he comes and looks at it. (I called them Monday morning and they were to come today at 2 pm but they had to cancel because the insurance agency wanted them off of the potentially dangerous roads).

ANSWER

ANSWER - Normally it isn't the cold that leads to a tile tenting, it is the higher temperatures or moisture that causes expansion in tiles that can lead to tile tenting if the tile wasn't installed correctly.  When a tile gets cold it contracts.  When a tile gets warm or absorbs water it expands.  If there are no movement joints to mitigate the expansion of the tile, and if the tile isn't bonded as well as it should be to its substrate, then when the tile expands it can cause the tile to tent up or debond from the substrate.

Depending on the respective state laws, some insurance companies will cover a loss if the tile tented or debonded as the result of a certain weather or flooding event; even if the tile had not been originally installed correctly.  Other insurance companies will take the position that if the tile had originally been installed correctly, then the tile wouldn't have tented as a result of the weather or water loss event, and they will not provide coverage.

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