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Why Do Tiles Fall? How To Fix Them?

Falling tiles not only present an unsightly appearance, but their neglect can further culminate in complicated issues.

Mainly, the detachment of tiles from the wall can be attributed to an inadequate installation process. Following closely, the influence of hot water – particularly in scenarios involving hot showers or baths – emerges as a subsequent factor.

Table of Contents

What are the causes of falling tiles?

The phenomenon of falling tiles can be ascribed to a couple of essential factors:

Cause 1: Unprimed Plaster Underneath the Tiles

To ensure a seamless adherence of the tiles to the wall, the underlying plaster must be methodically primed. In the course of affixing the tiles, attention must be directed towards priming both the tiles and the immediate vicinity.

This primer serves as a waterproofing agent, imparting a slender yet resilient layer that not only anchors the tile firmly but also obstructs water infiltration towards the walls. Customarily, the priming substances employed are latex or oil-based, bestowing them with a quality that repels water.

It is imperative that this primer is judiciously applied across the entire wall surface before the tiles are installed.


Cause 2: Uncleaned Tiles Before Installation

The pre-installation purification of the tiles is a pivotal aspect often overlooked. A meticulous cleaning and wiping off any residual chalk dust are vital, as such remnants can impede the tiles from forming an effective bond with the wall. By ensuring this prerequisite, the tiles are afforded an unobstructed opportunity to adhere appropriately to the wall surface.

Cause 3: Improper Application of Adhesive

The adhesion of tiles necessitates a meticulous approach where the adhesive plays a pivotal role. Selecting a water-resistant adhesive is the initial step towards ensuring longevity.

However, the application method is equally vital. The adhesive must be uniformly applied across the surface of every tile. A haphazard or partial application may lead to an inconsistent bond, undermining the structural integrity of the tiling. Any oversight in this critical phase will inevitably culminate in the detachment of the tiles over time.

Commitment to this imperative procedure ensures that the tiles remain steadfast and visually appealing.


Cause 4: Inadequate Grouting Process

Tiles, in their application, require a well-timed grouting process. An erroneous practice of premature grouting can lead to the tiles falling off. Grouting too early, without allowing sufficient time for the adhesive to set, disrupts the cohesive bond that must be formed between the tiles and the wall.

A waiting period of at least 24 hours post-adhesion is a vital requisite before commencing the grouting process. This strategic delay fosters a resilient union of the tiles with the underlying surface, thereby minimizing the risk of dislodgement. The adherence to this timeline enhances the stability and appearance of the tiled area, reinforcing its functional value.

Cause 5: Incorrect Tile Grout Usage

The selection of the proper tile grouting product is an essential aspect of the tiling process. When purchasing tile grout, attention must be directed towards acquiring a waterproof variant, ensuring that the tiles remain affixed and are not dislodged due to moisture.

Failure to grout the tiles properly allows water to penetrate behind them, resulting in loosening. The tiles then quickly become detached and fall off, leading to both functional and aesthetic issues.


  • Even Application: Ensure that the wet grout is uniformly pressed around all seams of the tiles, covering the entire area without skipping any section.
  • Removal of Excess: Carefully scrape away any excess grout to avoid a cluttered appearance.
  • Proper Setting Time: Once the grouting process is completed, leave the space undisturbed for at least 24 hours. This period allows the grout to set properly, culminating in a firm and durable finish. The observance of these fundamental principles will significantly contribute to the longevity and aesthetic value of the tiled surface.

Cause 6: Incorrect Tile Grout Usage

Following the setting of the grout and the precise positioning of the tiles, it is imperative to apply a grout sealant to every tile seam. Omission of this vital step can lead to water penetration behind the tiles, resulting in their detachment from the wall.

The choice of sealant is pivotal, with preference given to those possessing antifungal properties to inhibit the growth of mold or mildew.

Expert Tip: Consider investing in specialist sealing strips, particularly for the spaces around shower attachments and faucets, enhancing waterproofing and resilience.

Cause 7: Failure to Allow Tiles to Set

Patience in allowing the grout to fully set and dry is vital to the overall success of the tiling. A premature disturbance, such as walking on the floor, can displace tiles and disrupt the setting grout. It is advisable to withhold any contact for at least 24 hours, ensuring the grout and tiles are firmly set.

Cause 8: Uneven Surface of the Wall

The evenness of the wall surface plays a significant role in the adhesion of tiles. Walls with irregularities, such as humps and dips, compromise the ability of tiles to adhere properly. Such inconsistencies can lead to easy dislodgement, detracting from both the functionality and appearance.

An unswerving commitment to a flat surface during the preparation phase will foster robust adhesion, contributing to a lasting and aesthetically pleasing result.

How to Fix a Broken or Missing Tile

Fixing a broken or missing tile doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here’s an accessible step-by-step guide that can lead you through the process.

Step 1: Remove the Damaged Tile

If the tile hasn’t already fallen off but is broken, carefully remove all the remaining pieces, even the small fragments. During this removal process, exercise caution to avoid inadvertently damaging the adjacent tiles.

Step 2: Select a New Tile and Adhesive


Once the removal is complete, it’s time to select a suitable replacement tile. Ensure that you have the exact measurements for a seamless fit. If the tile isn’t entirely shattered, bringing the fallen piece may assist in matching a new one.

The selection of adhesive is equally vital. Consult with the seller to choose an appropriate adhesive for your specific area. For bathroom applications, a water-based mastic adhesive is often recommended. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the back of the tile, pressing and holding it firmly in place for about 30 seconds.

Step 3: Grout the Tile

Grouting assists in sealing the tile, preventing water ingress, and ensuring stability. Wait until the adhesive has dried before proceeding with grouting. Consider the following two types of grout:

  • Unsanded Grout: Ideal for tiles that are ⅛ inch or less apart.
  • Sanded Grout: Suitable for tiles spaced more than ⅛ inch apart.

To apply the grout:

  1. Mix with water to form a paste, using only as much product as needed.
  2. Apply evenly across the tile surface, extending beyond the edges to ensure full coverage.
  3. Remove any excess grout from the tile surface with precision.

Step 4: Allow 24 Hours to Set

Patience is key for the final step. To maximize the durability of the new tile(s), leave the grout undisturbed to set for at least 24 hours. This practice ensures the lasting integration of the tile with its surroundings, maintaining both functionality and visual appeal.

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