What Causes Drummy Tiles

What Causes Drummy Tiles

Published by Shalex Industries on 10th Jun 2021

Drummy Tiles is a term used to describe loose or de-bonded tiles and often a hollow sound can be heard when those tiles are walked on or tapped with an object. This sound is an indication that the tile adhesive has failed or not enough was applied, allowing the tile to become loose. Quite often there are no visible signs that tiles have de-bonded but left untreated over time then visible signs such as cracked grout, cracked tiles and even tiles that lift or tent along one edge are more common and are tell tale signs the tiles are not securely fixed.

There are a number of reasons why tiles can become loose and drummy, but the most common reasons are poor workmanship by the tiler or builder (including using the incorrect adhesive), structural movement in the floor or wall and moisture under the tiles.

Coverage is the term used to describe the amount of surface area covered by tile adhesive.
Ideally tiles should be laid with 100% coverage, but where a lesser amount is used then the tile adhesive has to work a lot harder to maintain a bond through stresses such as expansion and contraction caused by heating and cooling of the tiles. Sometimes only a section of the tile adhesive will fail, so the tile is still bonded in parts but in others it is not secure.

Most tilers will use a thin set tile adhesive which is a dry bagged powder mixed with water immediately prior to laying the tiles. Insufficient mixing, incorrect ratio of adhesive powder to water and allowing the adhesive to ‘skin’ or dry out too much before laying tiles on it are key causes leading to drummy tiles.

Incorrect preparation of the substrate prior to laying the tiles (eg a loose or dusty surface) can be another cause, along with insufficient expansion joints in the tiled area. This often will cause extreme tile movement or tenting where the tiles lift along one edge or ‘tent’.

Problems with the structure of the home or building could also be a cause for tiles to come loose, as movement in the wall or flooring can cause the adhesive to let go.

If you find that you have tile movement, or some tiles have come loose, it’s important to act quickly. Failure to attend to the problem and re-glue the tiles will often result in the problem becoming worse or the tiles cracking. This will result in a much larger and more expensive repair job.

Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to re-glue drummy tiles yourself and avoid costly repairs.

Using our Shalex StickIt Tile Injection Repair Kit, you can quickly re-glue loose tiles in place, without the need to pull them up or replace them.

This process works by injecting the StickIt adhesive under the tile where it can flow into the void between the tile and original adhesive. Once dry, it will re-bond the tile to the floor and securely fix it back in place.

Available in 1 and 5 litre options, the StickIt Tile Injection Repair Kit is a simple solution that any DIY’er can use to fix drummy tiles.

Refill kits are also available if you find you need to perform more repairs on other tiled areas.