Asked on May 28, 2020

How to fix tiles that are popping up on a wooden dresser top?

Becky at Flipping the FlipJohnavallance82Agnes Chrzanowska


Hi! I recently laid tiles on top of a wooden dresser and now, after letting the grout dry, it's starting to crack, the tiles have begun to pull up from the mortar, and and even the caulking around the edges has cracked. I'm not sure what to do next. I'd like to avoid nailing on cement board and having to relay all the tiles. Any advice?" Will wood glue work (or something similar)?

10 answers
  • William
    on May 28, 2020

    Wood glue will not work. The wood top moves with temperature changes while the thinset and grout does not. Hence the cracking and lifting of the tiles. What you should have used was tile mastic to glue the tiles and a latex modified grout.

  • Flipturn
    on May 28, 2020

    William is right that mastic is used when applying tiles to a surface to make them adhere. Grout is used afterwards to fill in the indentations in between the individual tiles.

  • I agree with William. Sorry, but it looks like you'll need to redo the project.

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on May 28, 2020

    You can glue them back down with Power Grab by Loctite. It has a long setting time so keep that in mine.

  • Robyn Garner
    Robyn Garner
    on May 28, 2020

    It looks as though the base you placed the tiles on has chipping paint, etc. The base is not stable and the chipping paint will allow all above it to move/crack. Sorry but you need to start over.

  • Lindsay Aratari
    Lindsay Aratari
    on May 28, 2020

    The Power Grab by Loctite works wonders! We used to keep tile down and it worked amazing!

  • Simple Nature Decor
    Simple Nature Decor
    on May 28, 2020

    Take them out and clean that section out, add adhesive and re grout that section.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska
    Agnes Chrzanowska
    on May 30, 2020

    The reason why it is popping is because it is installed on the wooden , plywood top ... Wood like surfaces move with temp change so for now if you are not ready to replace all you would need to clean up completely tiles back and area you are going to adhesive it to . Wait till it dries completely and then add grout

  • Johnavallance82
    on Jun 1, 2020

    Hello Kelsey,

    You needed to seal the timber before starting, because the timber is sucking in the moisture and therefore loosening the tiles. Pity because it looks as if you did a great job. Take heart - If a job is worth doing at all it is worth the time and effort to get it right, otherwise it will not be pleasing to the soul!

  • Wood expands and contracts with the weather and moisture in the air which ultimately means your hard work is going to keep cracking. You might try creating a sort of box out of 1/4" thick cement board and treat it like a tray top.

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