Understanding Tile Expansion and Contraction - Conestoga Tile

Understanding Tile Expansion and Contraction

If you are currently aging in place, you have probably noticed how your home has changed over the years. Door joints may have shifted, windows may not close as easily and your tile may be starting to buckle and “tent.” Many people assume their home is a solid structure that doesn’t bend and flex. The reality is that every home is subject to the laws of physics, and expansion and contraction happen every day of the year.


Tenting occurs when new tile has been incorrectly installed. As the tiles press up against each other, they have nowhere to go but up. This creates a tent that is not only unsightly, but can lead to even more damage.

If you follow these suggestions you will never have to worry about tenting:

  1. Use smaller tiles as this allows for minor movements to take place.
  2. Don’t mortar the tile that is against a wall. This will provide a natural place for the tile to expand into.
  3. Make sure your contractor uses expansion strips that are set within the tile assembly.

For help with your tile and for some more tips on aging in place, give Conestoga Tile a call at 888-415-5659.