Raise your hand if you, at any point in your childhood, were genuinely frightened at the prospect of breaking your poor mother’s spinal column if you stepped on a crack in the sidewalk. It’s okay, you can be honest. After all, we can’t actually see you.
While that particular fear may have been a bit irrational, there are a few other things that make finding a crack in your floor scary. When a tile separates the outcome is unsightly to say the least, but it could also lower your property value or serve as a red flag for more problematic damage. No matter which issue the crack results in, it’s going to cost you money to fix (like we said, scary). Let’s just make sure it’ll cost you as little as possible by figuring out the culprit first.
Here are our suspects:
1. The Tile
Sturdy as they are, tiles are not immune to constructional problems. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were? Alas, every once in awhile a bad batch will make it into stores without being caught. Maybe the tiles weren’t made uniformly, or an air pocket creeped into the clay, but the point is they aren’t fit to last. All you can do is replace them with a set that is better quality, or one that has better luck.
2. The Slab Below
Like most things, if your tile doesn’t have a firm foundation to depend on, it’s going to crumble when push comes to shove. More often than not, there lies a concrete slab beneath the tiles in your home that serves as said foundation. Unlike tile, however, concrete is an ever-changing creature. It has a tendency to shift and break at the hand of time. If this is the case, your tiles will succumb to the same fate that the earth’s crust undergoes when the tectonic plates decide to make a move. In this case you’re going to have to fix the foundation in order to make any headway with the problem.
3. The Blunt Object
In almost all cases, this one is blatantly obvious. If a pot, pan, computer, or trophy falls onto your beautiful tile floor, there’s a good chance it will crack. Yeah, we know it was probably an accident, so we’ll just blame it on the dropped object rather than the person holding it. No judgement here!
4. The Refrigerator
If you were to allow someone sit a full-grown heifer on your back, how long do you think you’d last before being crushed? Same concept. If you put a extraordinarily heavy object on your tile for an extended period of time, you are running the risk of the tile eventually giving in to the weight on top of it. Don’t get us wrong; tile was definitely intended to be used as flooring and we know that there are certain objects you will have to put on top of it. All we’re saying is that if you find a crack near an object like the ones listed above, you may have found the cause for the issue.
5. The Concrete Substrate
Don’t worry, we’re not picking on the concrete anymore. We’re picking on the person who poured it. As we mentioned earlier, a well-installed tile floor requires a concrete foundation beneath it. Obviously, you want this foundation to be as strong as possible, so the process of pouring and curing the concrete has to be done right. But often people are impatient with their concrete.
When concrete is first made, it is full of water and needs to sit long enough for the liquid to evaporate before any tile is laid down. The proper amount of time sits at about thirty days. Unfortunately, some manufacturers give people the green light to install their tile floor after a measly fourteen days. FOURTEEN! While this is the fast way, it is not the right way and will eventually bring harm to your floor.
Hint: If your home is newly constructed, there’s a good chance that this is the cause for the cracks in your floor.
6. The Joists
Joists are the wooden beams underneath your subfloor that basically hold everything up. They’re kind of like the baseboards in your bed frame. As you can imagine, if you only had three baseboards beneath your mattress, your bed would sag in the gaps. Flooring is the same way. Incorrectly spaced joists will make your floor sag in spots and cause cracks.
7. The Installer
Yes, it’s true; the “professional” who installed your tile may be at fault! Accidents happen, and sometimes an installer will rush through the process of laying down your tiles. As you can imagine, this leads to shoddy work and - you guessed it - cracks in your beautiful tile. It is unlikely that such oversight is intentional, but it does happen.
Here’s the good news, though! If you live in the Grand Rapids area the Floor It team can help you. Call us to come diagnose which of these problems is causing your floor to crack. Once we do, we will fix it, and we’ll do it right the first time. After all, flooring is our specialty!