June 26th, 2012

This is part of an ongoing series to help educate both consumers and trade professionals with real answers to every day challenges in the tile industry.

Q: Why is the grout between my counter and backsplash cracking?

A: This is a common and easily remedied problem in the tile industry. Cracking at a joint where two tiles come together at different planes is caused by the natural movement caused by expansion and contraction. Because the tiles are on different planes, they move at different rates and independently from each other. Frequently, the tile on the wall is installed on an exterior wall, which is subject to more expansion and contraction. Any area that tile meets at different planes is subject to this type of movement. It could be a wall and floor, shower wall and shower floor or your backsplash and counter.

In easiest way to alleviate this cracking is to use a coordinating silicone caulk in the joint. While it may not eliminate the cracking entirely, the flexibility of the silicone caulk adjusts to the movement better than a latex caulk can.

Laticrete makes an excellent silicone caulk that coordinates with their grout line, available in both sanded and unsanded. If you have more questions, you can always
one of our friendly sales representatives.