Significance of checking hollow tile or stone flooring

When you walk on a tile or stone floor of your home, you know what to expect right? It is supposed to feel solid, hard & comfortable to walk on. At times you will feel, it is hard but it can be a bit uncomfortable or disbalancing to walk – maybe a hollow tile. Now You would be thinking – What is a hollow tile or stone? And is it significant to check?

Let us try to answer your general question first.

What is hollowness on tile or stone flooring?

A hollow sound which is heard when tapped with a tile hollow checker (this can be done with a screwdriver also) shows that the tile or a portion of the tile is not bonded or that there is a void under that portion (also applicable for stone flooring).

Unbonded mortar beds have a different sound than bonded mortar beds. If you hear a hollow sound, this can indicate that tiles have debonded, or were never bonded, somewhere within the tile assembly. Well bonded tiles do not have such sound on tapping.

Causes of hollow sound on the flooring

Let us go through the causes of hollow sound on tile or stone flooring:

  • Inadequate or uniform bed mortar under tile or stone flooring.
  • Improper cleaning of the floor before tile installation.
  • Lack of supervision while installation.
  • Poor quality of material used e.g., mortar.
  • It is possible that if you walked on a tile installation before it was well cured, it could compromise the tile’s adhesion. So it is important to have proper curing after tile installation for minimum 2 to 3 days.
  • Using old tiles may also cause the tile floor buckling. Old tiles may get brittle. With passage of time, they lose flexibility and are not able to withstand changes due to temperature variation. Hence this also one of cause of hollow sound.

Hollow-sounding tiles may signal installation problems. To know more, go through article by Tile letter1.

Significance of checking hollowness on flooring

Firstly, we would like to share with you a small tip related to checking of hollowness on tile or stone. If you got to know that more than 50% of the area of a tile/ stone is hollow. Then this is important to get it rectified soon. If left unchecked, this can lead to the tile cracking and potentially breaking or damage. Aside from the aesthetics of such a result, it could also cause tripping – safety hazard.

The reason for checking for hollow spots in tile is due to the possibility of either improper installation or some other reason for the bond of the tile to separate from the floor. If left unchecked, this can lead to the tile cracking and potentially breaking or damage. Aside from the aesthetics of such a result, it could also cause a tripping hazard.

If this is not rectified on time, hollowness can lead to further cracks in tiles/ stone due to lack of support beneath tile/ stone & looseness from bed mortar. This can lead to water intrusion through cracks and which can create further problems in other associated or attached areas and damp/ seepage issues, thereby increasing maintenance cost and hassles to residents. Additionally, replacing damaged tiles may cause shade/ colour variation.

Hence, it is significant to check the hollowness on flooring.

Solution for repair of hollow tiles/ stones

Option 1:

Step 1 – Tiles joint cutting to be done with a suitable tool.

Step 2 – Preparation & pouring of high viscosity cement grout and adequate vibration to be made on floor tile with rubber hammer during pouring.

Step 3 – Tile joint to be sealed with colour matching tile grout.

Option 2:

Step 1 – Minor hole to be made in the centre of the hollowness with a drilling tool.

Step 2 – Preparation & pouring of high viscosity cement grout and adequate vibration to be made on floor tile/ stone with rubber hammer during pouring.

Step 3 – Hole to be sealed with colour matching tile grout/ stone grout.

Either Option 1 or 2 can be applied for tiles and only Option 2 for stone (commonly used one like marble) flooring. Additional tip always try to apply this method firstly for a small portion.

Sometimes hollowness can be noted on wall tiles but this one of the rare cases. This can be neglected at times but it is important to repair in case there are loose tiles due to hollowness.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article could be helpful for your general understanding and has also given you an effective idea about how to get your hollow sound tile or stone flooring repaired. So beware! Hollow flooring can hollow your pocket. It has also be a safety hazard. If you feel you require a professional for checking or inspecting your floors for any issue, you can contact home inspection professional services which is available in India.

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