As a home decoration material, improper construction will cause hollowing between the tiles and the grassroots due to poor bonding and weak bonding.

So what are the hazards of tile hollowing?

  1. The hollow part of the tile is not sticky, and it is easy to break when the external force is significant in the future.
  2. The hollowing area of the tiles may gradually expand, and finally, the tiles will lift or fall off.
  3. Hollow tiles will cause difficulty to drill the wall and easily break (for example, when installing water heaters, mirrors, pendants, cabinets, and bathroom cabinets).
  4. Hollow tiles will cause water to accumulate on the bathroom floor, which will eventually rot and smell.

We analyze the reasons for the hollowing of the tiles and the corresponding solutions from the following 5 aspects.

  1. Unqualified base layer

Therefore, it is necessary to carefully check the base layer before application to determine whether the surface is dirty or uneven or cracks or looseness. If so, use a spatula to remove the easy-to-peel areas on the surface of the base layer, and then repair the cracked areas to ensure that the surface of the base layer is clean, flat, and firm, which can reduce the probability of tiles falling off. The painted base layer should be roughened.

Tile Hollowing

2. Improper operation during construction

3. Inappropriate temperature

Excessively high or low temperature during construction will affect the viscosity of the tile adhesive. Tile adhesive is generally used at 5-35°C. When the temperature is lower than 5℃, the hydration reaction of cement is too slow, and it can not fully react in the original time. Moreover, when the temperature is lower than 0°C, the water in the tile adhesive freezes, and the volume increases. After the temperature rises above 0°, the ice cubes absorb heat and re-form into the water, and the tile adhesive returns to its original volume. Changes in temperature and volume will seriously affect the tile adhesive’s coagulation effectiveness and bonding strength, resulting in weak tile bonding and loose tiles. Generally, when the temperature is lower than 15℃, we can see that the hardening speed of the tile adhesive is significantly reduced, but this does not affect the viscosity of the tile adhesive. If the temperature is too high, the moisture will evaporate too fast, which will result in an insufficient cement hydration reaction and affect the bonding strength.

In the same way, if the tiles are laid close to the heat source or are subjected to short-term temperature changes caused by over-cooling and over-heating, thermal expansion and contraction of tile adhesive and tiles will also cause hollowing.

Correct construction process:

Pour the tile adhesive powder into clean water and stir it into a paste. Put the water first and then the powder. It is best to use an electric agitator when mixing to have sufficient blending. The mixing time of the machine should not be less than 2-3min so that the material can be fully hydrated without agglomeration. After stirring, let it stand for about ten minutes and then stir again before using.

Use a toothed scraper to spread the grout evenly on the base layer and form a toothed shape (the tile adhesive should be evenly and thoroughly applied, and the thickness is about half the height of the tooth pitch of the scraper). Apply about 1 square meter each time, and then lay the tiles within 5-15 minutes (adjustment needs to be carried out within 20-25 minutes); Choose a suitable tooth scraper according to the flatness of the base layer and the degree of convexity on the back of the tile; If the gap on the back of the tile is deep or the stone or tile is more extensive and heavier, apply mortar to the base layer as well as the back of the tile; Pay attention to leave proper gaps between the tiles, it is generally recommended to reserve an expansion joint of 1-3mm; After laying, wait for the grout to harden completely (approximately 24 hours) to fill the joints; Clean the surface of the tiles with a damp cloth or sponge before the grout hardens. If it hardens for more than 24 hours, the stains on the surface of the tiles can be cleaned with tile and stone cleaners (do not use acid cleaners).

If it is a rainy day, waterproof measures are needed to ensure that the tiles will not be exposed to rain within 24 hours

4. Tile characteristics

When buying tiles, we have to consider their water absorption and volume. If they are relatively sizeable full tiles with poor water absorption, it is recommended to use tile back glue and tile adhesive simultaneously. The primary raw material of tile back glue is a compound of high-quality polymer emulsion materials and inorganic silicate, mainly for tiles with non-water absorption and low water absorption, microcrystalline stone, marble, etc. When tiling, clean the tiles’ back, apply glue on the surface, and wait for it to set, and then we can tile it on the wall with tile adhesive. Because the glue can adapt to the thermal expansion and contraction of the tiles and other external factors, tiles, and the mortar can be firmly bonded together, effectively reducing or even avoiding the hollowing of the tiles.

5. Poor quality of tile adhesive

Suppose the quality of the tile adhesive is poor and its adhesive force is not enough. In that case, it is easy to cause tile hollowing, falling off, and internal water accumulation.

To ensure the quality of tile adhesive, we can do a small test before large-scale construction.

The high-quality tile adhesive becomes a thick uniform paste after thoroughly stirring, then sticking two test materials. After the tile adhesive is cured, tear them apart along the bonding interface. If the adhered material is damaged, it proves that the adhesive strength is sufficient; If only the bonding interface separates, it indicates insufficient adhesive strength. It can also be tested in high or low-temperature environments, such as grilled on fire or placed in the refrigerator.

During the test, we can also:

①Look at the water retention of tile adhesive. The too-fast water loss will cause insufficient cement hydration and insufficient strength. Therefore, a suitable tile adhesive must have excellent water retention.

②. Feeling it during construction. The tile adhesive has a delicate and smooth hand feel and also saves time and effort in construction.

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