What is bowing?

Bowing, also known as warping of cupping, is a problem where individual tiles appear as a curvature or they pop up after they’ve been laid.

Movement in the architecture or ground is an unavoidable natural occurrence that buildings and substrates need to accommodate. Materials move and settle depending on the conditions. They can shrink and expand with changes in temperature even shortly after they’ve been manufactured.

Builders and landscapers accommodate this movement by using appropriate substrates, including expansion joints and applying the correct adhesives. Failure to do so and you can experience bowing in your flooring due to extreme lateral pressure.

What can cause bowing?

There are several reasons stone tiles may bow or popping. The most common include:

  • Using the incorrect adhesive that fails to bond the stone tile to the substrate.
  • Applying incorrect adhesive onto a concrete slab that hasn’t had adequate curing time.
  • Not allowing for control joints in the substrate to accommodate movement or the joints being less than the recommended specification.
  • Not continuing the control joints through the mortar bed, adhesive and grout joints.

What’s the best way to avoid bowing? Quality installation and appropriate product selection is the best way to avoid bowing and warping of stone tiles. If this does occur, contacting your builder, landscaper or tiler to rectify the problem is the first step.