Ceramic tile is durable and comes in a range of sizes, colors and styles. There are few places where ceramic tile is not ideal, because it works well on floors, walls and counters. One of the biggest causes of why ceramic tile might crack is deflection, or bounciness, in the sub floor.
Ceramic tile can be installed over a number of substrates, but there are some materials that are simply not good to support it. Unacceptable substrates include interior grade plywood, masonry, vinyl flooring, resilient flooring and OSB wood. The substrate must also be clean, dry and within the acceptable deflection levels for ceramic tile. Good materials for substrate include concrete, outdoor grade plywood and cement fiber board.
Deflection can be affected by a number of things, like the joist size, types of joists, spacing of joists, subfloor fastenings and even the condition of the subfloor and the joists. Installers can add another layer of plywood to reduce deflection and make it appropriate to install ceramic tiles.
When the substrate is properly prepared and deflection is property accounted for, a ceramic tile installation job will go more smoothly and there will be a much lower risk of problems in the future.