Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 2/28/2012

my small bathroom floor keeps cracking (ceramic tile). what are my best options. must tolerate moisture from shower.

I've already re-tiled. I'm okay with linoleum, but want to see other options as well. Does anyone install vinyl anymore?

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

3 Answers


Ceramic tile will crack 99% of the time on a floor, especially if on a wood framed substructure. Porcelain and stone are much better options but the subfloor must be framed and secured properly. Is this on a concrete slab or a wooden frame? If it is a concrete slab you have bigger problems and need to have it stabilized. If wooden, such as pier and beam or second floor framing, you need to have adequate joists with glued and screwed plywood subflooring no matter the floor covering.

I occassionally still install vinyl or linoleum but not very often. There are some new vinyl products that better resemble tile or wood you can install and hold up well in bathrooms. No matter what the manufacturers claim laminate does not work in wet areas. I've seen bathrooms with it installed that were supposed to be approved for kitchen and bath use and they do not last. I turn down jobs on those installs rather than taking the customer's money for what I know to be a bad job even though they are determined to do it.

It sounds like you've been mislead by a poor contractor who has twice now not taken the appropriate measures to install the tile and not warned you about the use of the softest tile available, ceramic. They may have been unknowledgable or just too lazy to reframe the floor properly.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services


One of the main reasons bathroom floor tiles crack is if the floor is not stiff enough to resist bending slightly when walked on. Preventing this can require installing the tiles on top of either ¾ inch waterproof plywood over the existing subfloor, or plywood with another layer of cement tile backer board. Older houses (or high end new construction) may have an inch of actual cement between the sub flooring and the tile.

Another problem can be that the tiles are too large. If you look in many older –pre 1950 homes- the bathroom floors are made up of a large numbers of very small tiles often less than two inches square. Today many contractors and homeowners prefer large tiles that may be as big as 12 inches square. Larger tiles are much much more likely to crack. If a floor with small tiles does flex slightly, the cracks are most likely to happen in the grout between the tiles which is easier to repair, and harder to notice.

A third problem is that your contractor used wall tiles rather than floor tiles. Wall tiles are much thinner.

However, any properly- installed tile floor should easily be able to withstand the ordinary water that gets on a bathroom floor.

Answered 8 years ago by PaulRuffins


If it is the grout that is cracking, try replacing grout with an epoxy stain resistant grout that is stronger. If it is the tile itself that is cracking, then the adhesive may have blank spaces under a few tiles. Tap them with a wooden stick and you will hear the ones that need to be reset. These will sound more "hollow" than those that are evenly adhered to the subfloor.

If it is happening in various random locations, find out what the subfloor composition is. It should be at least 1 1/2" thick and probably a combination of wood, plywood and concrete backerboard.
Hope that helps,
Norton West Norton West and Co


Answered 8 years ago by Norton West

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy