Loose or Hollow Sounding Tiles? Why does it happen?
When you walk on a tile floor you know what to expect right? It's supposed to feel solid & hard & it kind of feels like walking on solid concrete or it should, shouldn't it? At some stage, most people will have walked on a seemingly solid tiled surface & it's felt kind of hollow, kind of feels like walking on a drum or worse still it feels crunchy underfoot.
It doesn't feel right, does it? Absolutely no it's not right. Should you be concerned? Most definitely, as bad as it is it also may be a sign of a major issue to come.
Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence in older properties as the adhesive used to bond the tiles can deteriorate over time. The hollow, drummy sound may also be a result of incorrect installation procedures. Unfortunately, some tilers will not install the tiles to the Australian Standard & use a technique called dabbing or spot bonding. This is where they only put a dab of adhesive in the corner of the tiles & lays them in place. This makes it quicker for the tiler to do the installation & also cheaper as they only use a fraction of the adhesive that should be used. The result is you end up with a gap between the tile & the substrate which creates that hollow sound. As well as the hollow sounding tiles you may also find that you will have many tiles that crack, your grouting will fail & in extreme cases, you will end up with a complete floor failure.
One of the other main causes of hollow, cracked & drummy tiles is the installation of the tiles direct to sheet timber flooring again without following the Australian Standard. While installation direct to a sheet timber substrate is possible it requires a completely different installation methods & techniques. If the correct installation methods are not followed it is not a case of if the installation will fail it is a case of when.
As you can see in the photo below, the tiles were installed straight onto a sheet timber floor. On inspection, Grout Wizards found that there was NO PREPARATION whatsoever & the incorrect adhesive had been used. The client was lucky as the tiles basically just popped off the floor & with some proper care & attention Grout Wizards were able to replace them correctly without an issue.
All Grout Wizards are fully trained in the correct installation techniques & all work carried out by Grout Wizards is completed to the Australian Standards.