How to Fix Ceramic Tile Popping Up? [Find Easy Solution]

Tiles popping up from the floor, a situation known as tiles buckling, is a common phenomenon, and it can be very problematic.

Now, if a portion of your home’s ceramic tiles is popping up, don’t worry. If it’s just a simple tile buckling case and there aren’t any broken tiles, you can fix this mess by yourself without calling a professional.

Want to know how to fix ceramic tile popping up? Follow us till the end!

How to Fix Tile Pop?

If the ceramic tile floor of your home is popping up, then you can follow these steps to fix them yourself!

If a Single Tile Pops Up:

If a Single Tile Pops Up

Step 1: Find a Tile

You need to find a tile that matches your ceramic tile floor—taking your broken tile to a shop might help you pick one easily.

Step 2: Remove the Broken Tile

First, you need to loosen the tile you need to remove. Using a knife to clear any adhesive and grout is a good plan. Then again, the surrounding tiles can be detached using a chisel. After this, remove the tile and clean the subfloor with a wet sponge.

Step 3: Install a New Tile

Apply adhesive on the subfloor and place the tile directly over it. Make sure that you level the tile with the floor before installing it. Finish this step by applying grout on the tile.

Step 4: Finish It

Once the grout is all dried up, you need to wipe the excess grout with a wet sponge.

Read more about carpenter tool daily use.

If a Portion of Ceramic Tile Floor Pops Up:

If a Portion of Ceramic Tile Floor Pops Up

Step 1: Find an Appropriate Tile

You need to find the right match for the existing tiles. If you want to redo the entire floor of a specific room, you can choose a different tile in that case.

Step 2: Remove the Previous Tiles

Don’t use anything heavy to break the tiles. Doing so will harm the subfloor below the tile layer, and you will need to redo that to install the tiles properly. Instead, you should use chisels and small hammers to do this job.

It’s also important to ensure that the tiles aren’t moving to other rooms. Use a tape to block the space under the nearest door.

Step 3: Prepare the Sub Floor

It’s recommended to install ceramic tiles on a ceramic board. However, if you have a plywood layer as a sub-floor, that will work too. Make sure the subfloor is leveled correctly; otherwise, the tiles will pop up eventually. Also, check if they’re appropriately cleaned before the installation process has begun.

Step 4: Install the Tiles

Now, you need to apply cement on the sub floor and put tiles on the floor. It’s always recommended to start from the middle. Apply cement on the area you want to install the next tile, install the tile, and keep repeating this process.

You may have to cut some tiles to fit certain spaces. It’s better to cut them from a reputed shop with proper measurements. Once the installation is done, you need to apply grout on the sides of the tile.

Step 5: Finish It Up

After the grout dries up, clear it with a wet sponge and then dry the sponge.

Why Do Ceramic Tile Pop Up?

There are several reasons why ceramic tiles may pop up, and knowing why the tiles of your home are popping up is just as important as knowing how to fix them. Otherwise, the tiles may continue popping up even after the initial and temporary fix.

Here are some of the most major reasons why the ceramic tile of your home might be popping up:

Why Do Ceramic Tile Pop Up

Environmental Change

In some cases, the installation and the material quality of the tiles might be perfect, but they can still pop up due to some environmental factors. For example, if some ceramic tiles are placed right under sunlight, then the heat from the sun rays may lead to an expansion of the ceramic tiles, causing them to pop up ultimately.

Then again, if the tiles are exposed to high moisture or water directly, they have a chance of popping up. In this case, the adhesive around the tile and the cement underneath might swell up, which will make the tiles pop up ultimately.

Unsuitable Sub Floor

If the screening process isn’t finished with care, then the subfloor might be left to be uneven. In such cases, as the very base of the tiles are uneven, the tiles are likely to pop up very easily. If you cheap out on the contractors, then there’s a chance that you’ll not get much performance out of them.

Another problem related to the preparation of the subfloor is seen when the contractors don’t clean the subfloor properly before installing the tiles.

If there’s any dirt or debris on the subfloor before the tiles are installed, they tend to get stuck under the tiles. This garbage ends up decaying the cement and adhesive, and it may also bulge the tiles upwards.

Not Enough Gap

The tiles are prone to contract and expand, and this is completely natural. Skilled and experienced contractors know this, and they know exactly how much the tiles may contract or expand.

This knowledge helps them determine the exact gap that must be kept between the tiles, and if this is maintained properly, the tiles will not pop up.

However, many contractors are too inexperienced to maintain this properly, and if the gaps aren’t perfect, there’s a great chance that the tiles will bulge up.

Bad Quality of Adhesive

The proper adhesives for installing tiles are quite flexible. These adhesives are made in such a way that they can adjust themselves with the contraction and expansion of the tiles, allowing them to keep the tiles at their respective places.

However, some tiles don’t come with such features, and these are relatively cheap. If your contractor isn’t sincere or experienced enough, there’s a chance that they might go for these.

How to Prevent Ceramic Tiles from Popping Up?

As you can see, the chances of ceramic floor tiles popping up increases if the installation is improper. Although there’s always a chance that the tile will pop up due to natural causes, you can always decrease the overall chance of that by ensuring that the installation is perfect.

Ensure these things to prevent faulty installation:

  1. Use Quality Adhesive
  2. Make sure that the sub-level is prepared properly
  3. Use quality tiles
  4. Don’t let the tiles be exposed to water
How To Fix Ceramic Tile Popping out


Hopefully, this article has answered your question, “how to fix ceramic tile popping up?” With the steps mentioned above, you’ll easily be able to fix any popping ceramic tile problem on your floor, be that a single tile or an entire floor. If your home is still in the development stage, or if you’re changing the tile of the entire floor of your home, you should prepare the subfloor again. Doing so will prevent the tile pop in the future.


My name is Michael M. Militello, and I want to help you find the right tools and the best products for your next project! As a professional tool expert here in Houston, TX, With my vast tool experience, I can help you choose the right brand, model, and size for the job. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. You can reach me here on my blog and also on Facebook, Twitter , and Pinterest. I look forward to hearing from you!

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