Cracked and loose bathroom tiles are significant problems that you should never ignore. Falling bathroom tiles aren’t only unattractive, but they also pose a health hazard. Cuts and bruises may result from cracked or falling tiles, so what do you do?
There are many reasons bathroom tiles fall off, one of which is unavoidable (hot water exposure). Regardless, you can’t allow this issue to linger for too long if it occurs. It’s easy to fix falling tiles, and you can also take preventive measures as you replace them.
This article delves into the best bathroom tile adhesive and the specifics of bathroom tiles falling off. I also discuss how to fix bathroom tiles falling off.
The best tile adhesives for the bathroom are epoxy and thin-set mortar. They firmly attach the tile to the walls and floors for years. These adhesives don’t crumble, bow, or crack with age despite the high-moisture environment.
A mortar bed is also an option for tiling a shower floor. While professionals opt for epoxy mortar, most DIY folks choose pre-mixed thin-set mortar.
The eyesore of missing tiles is enough reason to tackle falling bathroom tiles. I also don’t think you can enjoy your shower if you are worried about a loose tile dropping on your head.
For these reasons and more, your bathroom tiles falling off are a considerable concern. Before calling in the calvary to address the problem, it’s crucial to understand why the tiles are falling off in the first place.
So here are some reasons behind your bathroom tiles falling off:
Priming the surface for installing a new bathroom tile is essential, and you must do a good job of lasting effects. Tile primers are usually oil or latex-based, making them waterproof.
Covering the area with a primer will keep the tile firmly in its position and protect the walls from water. The best way to apply a primer is to spread it over the whole shower area with a thick brush before placing the tiles.
Chalkdust—common on new tiles’ surfaces—can obstruct the tile’s adherence to the underlying surface. Failure to clean the tiles before applying them may cause issues down the line.
If the contractor or homeowner uses an adhesive that cannot withstand water, the tiles will become loose quickly. Bathrooms and kitchens need a water-resistant adhesive that must be applied evenly on every tile to prevent falling off.
The kind of grout, the method of application, and the timing of application all determine its efficacy. Grout should repel moisture and keep it from getting behind the tiles. If you install bathroom tiles with non-waterproof grout, disaster awaits.
It is also important to grout after the tile adhesive has been set (at least 24 hours after putting up the tiles). Water can trickle beneath the tile’s surface if the grout is too loose. This happens when the contractor doesn’t fill the space around the tile’s seams with enough grout.
Grouting without applying a sealant is also a recipe for falling tiles, as sealing helps keep water out of the tile’s seams. In addition, a good sealant with antifungal properties is ideal for preventing the formation of mildew and mold.
Although hot water is important in all bathrooms, it contributes to the rapid deterioration of the seals protecting your bathroom tiles. It’s also an issue if you expose the newly applied grout to hot water before it becomes 100% dry.
The reasons above show that most bathroom tiles usually fall off because of flawed installation processes. So even if your bathroom is the busiest and you use the hottest water daily, the tiles won’t fall off with the proper installation.
I can’t overstress the importance of fixing loose or broken bathroom tiles. One crucial reason to address this issue quickly is mold development. Any warm, dark place with the potential for water to accumulate is a breeding ground for mold.
Mold can release spores into the air, triggering episodes and relapses for people with respiratory illnesses. If healthy people also inhale spores for a long time, they may develop respiratory challenges. Moreover, mold spreads rapidly between and on top tiles, making the area ugly.
To nip these hazards in the bud, here is a detailed description of how to fix the issue yourself:
- Wear protective gear: Keeping yourself safe from injuries and following safety guidelines is vital for any repair job. Protect yourself by wearing goggles and gloves.
- Remove the tile: Whether small or large, you must remove all broken pieces of the tile. If it’s still whole but loose, you can cover the damaged tile with a towel and tap gently with a hammer.
Doing this ensures that you loosen the damaged tile from the wall without destroying adjacent tiles in good condition.
Lift off the broken tiles with the back of your hammer or a putty knife and remove all old grouts and adhesive. Ensure to scrape away any remnants from the area because it must be clean for the replacement to fit.
- Install the new tile: The replacement tile must have the exact measurements as the previous one to fit the space. If you purchase the tile from the hardware store, you can carry the fallen tile along to aid your search.
Choosing the correct adhesive is the second step for installation. The popular recommendation for replacing bathroom tiles is a water-based mastic adhesive. Since this formulation is durable and has a strong bond, less is more.
Spread a thin layer of adhesive behind the tile and press it firmly into place. You should hold it in position for about 30 seconds before releasing it.
- Grout the replacement: Remember that grout seals the tiles’ seams, making it watertight. The ideal wait time for the adhesive to set fully is 24 to 48 hours. Again, the type of grout you select is essential.
Two types for your consideration are sanded and unsanded grout. Sanded grout is best for tiles separated by over 1/8 of an inch. Unsanded grout works best for tiles separated by 1/8 of an inch or less than that.
Mix the grout with water, the amount of product depending on how many tiles you are replacing. When you have a pasty (toothpaste or peanut butter) consistency, spread it on the tile. After 30 minutes, wash the tile’s surface to remove any excess grout.
- Allow the grout cure: Leave the tile(s) alone for at least 24 hours after applying the grout. Anything less, and your tile will fall off again because it isn’t secure.
Seal the grout: Although it blocks water from the tile, the grout also needs protection. A grout sealant/sealer keeps water from penetrating the grout and making it useless. Use a sealant that fits the grout you used and only apply it after the grout is fully cured.
If you are unsure about the wait time, you can ask the manufacturer or your tile expert before sealing the grout.
Replacing one tile yourself may be easy, but doing an entire wall is risky without experience. Please employ the services of a professional if you are in over your head. No cost is too big to pay for mold-free air and peace of mind as you use the bathroom.