FLOOR TILE TESTING

Testing and evaluation of the premise that water releases such as plumbing leaks cause floor tiles to debond. 

Testing variables:

  • type of floor tile
  • type of adhesive
  • duration of water exposure

FLOOR TILE TYPES TESTED

TYPE OF ADHESIVE TESTED

  • Mastic
  • Thinset

Mastic-  sticky tile adhesive used for vertical surfaces (walls/ backsplashes)

Thinset - Also known as  thinset mortar or thinset cement.  Consists of mortar, fine sand and a water retaining agent.

DURATION OF WATER EXPOSURE

submerged-

1 hr - 2hrs- 4hrs - 12hrs- 24hrs-48hrs- 72 hrs- 7days - 14days-30days

timed moisture exposure (intermittent)-

1 hr- 2hrs- 4hrs- 12hrs -24hrs -48hrs- 72 hrs- 7days-14 days- 30days

TESTING RESULTS

Testing Summary:

The floor/wall tile testing was consistent with the intended used of these materials.   High moisture areas like bathroom and kitchens used tile flooring for exactly that reason; they are moisture resistant.  Floor tiles expand very little when exposed to moisture.  And although tile grout is not waterproof, it is not water soluble either.  The curing process of thinset is very similar to other cementitious materials.   Like a concrete bridge column which functions through its service life underwater, the concrete will not return to its liquified state.

Tiles are found debonded by many installation issues.  If a floor tile installation is determined to be debonded by a homeowner or adjuster following a  water release or other event, it must be proven under testing that the floor was not debonded prior to the reported event.  Unfortunately this type of evidence is never available.  So we are left with the question: "Can water cause a properly installed floor tile to debond?"  According to our testing studies, the answer is no.