How to fix ceramic tile popping up

People usually choose ceramic flooring due to its quality and durability as compared to wood flooring and carpet. But, is also sometime popped up. Here I’m going to show you how to fix ceramic tile popping up?

Carpet causes allergic reactions and is not suitable for health, and wood floating does not have enough lifespan compared to ceramic tiles.

But if ceramic tiles are not installed properly, it may affect their durability and leads them to bulge up and make your house unpresentable. First, you should know about the reasons leading to this problem so that you should take care of these situations next time.

In this article, I am going to tell you how to fix popped-up ceramic tiles? And the reasons leading to it with bonus information .so, let dive into it without wasting our precious time! 

Reasons for popped up ceramic tiles

How to fix ceramic tile popping up

Improper tiling

Proper cleaning is needed for the uniform bonding layer before installation, and if not, it may result in buckled tiles.

Floor expansion

Tiles are permeable, so due to expansion, they may swell with high moisture absorption. The pressure may cause the tiles to pop up.

Uneven subfloor

Uneven subflooring may lead to not having uniform bonding with adhesive or mortar with the tiles and subfloor and can cause popped-up tiles and make them miserable. 

Improper tiles set

If we use large and over sized tiles in our house flooring, we require certain troweling techniques to ensure that they achieve a strong bond with it. We need to give a gentle whack with the wooden object to set them in adhesive when the tiles are installed. The tiles which are installed without adhesive also end up bulging. Read more, repair ceramic tile.

No or incorrect movement joints

If you do not do the correct installation of the moment joint, it also leads to the buckling tiles.

The poor quality bonding agent

Bonding agents are used to fixing the underlying substance bond. If we do not use a good quality bonding agent, any slight change in an environment, like changing temperature change in humidity, will lead to lose the grip and cause the tiles to be popped up and buckle up. 

Poor quality tile adhesive

If poor quality of the adhesive is used and the tile is exposed to sunlight, then the direct sunlight will lead to an expansion of the tile so, it may lead to pop up and buckle if the adhesive is not strong.

Improper bonding material

Improper bonding materials are another reason for tile damage. If a dry powder is used, you have to check whether it is mixed or not to prevent the popped-up tiles and bulged tiles. 

Old tiles

Old tiles old get brittle and lose their flexibility with time and cannot cope with the temperature variations, and end up in a mess. Check here, how to repair hairline crack in ceramic tile?

Bent tiles

Sometimes people use already bent tiles. So, it is obvious that they will end up bad if they use such materials in construction. 

Not enough gap

Tiles usually contract and expand, and it is a natural process. Skilled contractors know about it and give proper gaps to the tiles, but some inexperienced contractors do not provide appropriate tiles, resulting in tiles bulging up.

Replacing a single popping up ceramic tile

Replacing popped up ceramic tile
  • First of all, try to solve the issue with replacing a damaged tile by finding a new matching replacement tile.
  • Make gaps between the tile you want to remove and the tile along with it by using a utility knife to cut out the remaining grout and make gaps.
  • Use the chisel to remove the tile making sure not to damage the attached tile.
  • Wipe the area with a wet sponge to remove dust and damp the would to help it bond to the adhesive and clear out all the adhesive.
  • Apply new adhesive
  • To create stronger connections, create a notch in the adhesive. 
  • Make sure that the tiles are leveled and lined up correctly.
  • Find matching grout
  • Apply the grout, and once the grout is done, remove excess grout using a wet sponge
  • Try to keep away from newly installed tile at least for 24 hours.
  • Then wipe away the Grout residue with a wet sponge.
  • Buff with a dry sponge.

Precautions to remove your current floor

Precautions to remove your current floor
  1. A sledgehammer will damage the underlying structure of your floors, so never use a sledgehammer.
  2. If you want tikes pieces not to move to another room, use tape to block the space under the door.
  3. Clean the area and prepare to get started.
  4. To dispose of the removed tiles, use heavy-duty demo bags.
  5. Break up the Defected tiles and use small hand Hammers for this purpose
  6. Ensure that the adhesive and the surface are not dry to ensure a proper bond when applying a tile.
  7. Use appropriate safety equipment. 
  8. Installing a new tile floor
  9. First, make sure that you have a solid substrate to install tile on it.
  10. The best surface to install tiles is on the cement board, but you can also install it on plywood.
  11. Install the cement boards in full sheets. 
  12. Use a flooring screw to attach the substrate.
  13. Start your tile installation process from the center of your room.
  14. The Grout line in the center of the high traffic area will receive excessive traffic, so you will never want a grout line in the center of the high traffic area.
  15. For thinner tiles, you can use a snap cutter to cuts the tiles. 
  16. For thicker tiles, you can use a wet screw or rent it to cut the tiles. 
  17. To create ridges in your adhesive notch trawl, it helps produce a suction effect when the tile is pressed into them. 
  18. Make an even grout line using a plastic tile spacer.
  19. Only make as much grout that can be used in 30 minutes because it dries and cannot be used again.

How to prevent popping up ceramic tile

There is always a chance for the floor to pop up, and that’s the natural process due to climate change, but we can reduce their chances by doing some preventions while installing the floor properly. Hence, there are some points that you should consider while flooring. You can lessen the chance of the tiles bulging up.

  • Use quality adhesives
  • Make sure that sublevel is installed properly.
  • Make sure the sound quality of the tile
  • Try to keep water away from the tiles.


We can minimize the chance of tiles to damage and prolong their lifespan by taking some preventative measures and make sure not to install the tiles improperly while the construction. If you were worried because of your floor, I’m sure your problem has been solved through this article. 

by William Jon
Hello, I'm William Jon. I'm a ceramic researcher, ceramic artist, writer, and professional blogger since 2010. I studied at the NYS college of ceramics at Alfred University in the USA about ceramic. I'm a professional ceramicist. Now I'm researching the ceramic products in Wilson Ceramic Laboratory (WCL) and reviewing them to assist online customers.

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