Drummy Tiles: What They Mean For Home Buyers

Whether you’re willing to take on a project property or are looking for a home that’s ready to go, understanding the ins and outs of a house is essential to ensure value. For instance, where flooring is concerned, the escalating costs of ‘drummy tiles’ too often come back to haunt homeowners unaware of the risks that this problem might indicate. To help you avoid that fate, we’re going to consider what exactly drummy tiles are and what they might mean for your new home overall. 

What are drummy tiles?

The meaning is quite simple. It refers to loose tiles that make a hollow ‘drummy’ sound when you stand on them. There can be drummy floor tiles, but wall tiles can also have a hollow sound when tapped. 

How can you identify drummy tiles?

Significant gaps, lifted edges, and even evident cracks aren’t unusual in drummy tiles. However, more recent installations or less obvious cases may require further steps towards identification. These include:

  • Dropping a golf ball on suspected tiles
  • Tapping wall tiles with the end of a screwdriver
  • Hiring professionals with resonance-testing tools
  • Checking for grout lines that appear longer than elsewhere
A video of Ben explaining drummy tiles during an inspection.

What causes drummy tiles?

The causes vary but often, wall and floor tiling mistakes leading to loose tiles involve improperly applied adhesive. When the adhesive has failed to bond the tiles to whatever surface they have been placed on, loose tiles occur. Tiling over the top of timber floorboards often poses problems when the incorrect adhesive is used. Loose tiles are common in properties that have had DIY renovations. That said, would-be homeowners should also consider further potential causes that could ultimately prove more problematic, including –

Why should you worry?

When left unchecked, drummy tiles can crack, lift, or even explode under extreme pressures. These issues pose significant safety risks and can create more significant problems that may be convoluted or potentially costly to deal with.

Tiler avoiding drummy tiles

How to fix the loose tiles

The right drummy tile solution depends on the severity and prevalence of loose tiles across a property. However, the two most common ways to address this issue include:

Complete re-tiling

If loose tiles are evident across large areas, or if you’re concerned that further issues may be at play, then it’s often worth lifting an entire tiled section, running diagnostics, and then hiring a professional company to provide a far higher quality finish during re-tiling. 

Injecting bonding between loose tiles

Suppose you’re confident that inadequate adhesive is the problem. In that case, the injection of bonding between loose tiles can be a much simpler and more affordable solution. In that case, homebuyers should use a professional with a specific understanding of the risk of loose tiles.

Drummy tiles shouldn’t automatically prevent you from buying a property. However, they do need addressing, and costs relating to that can soon escalate.

By doing your research and understanding the severity of the problem in advance, you’re best poised to ensure that your overall offer on a property reflects that fact and that you know precisely the work necessary to solve the issue. Perhaps you’d prefer a timber bathroom floor over floor tiles? Read our blog post on the pros and cons of a timber floor.

Do you need a professional to identify tiling issues and other problems? >> Contact us for a building inspection quote.

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