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Ask the Expert – Can a cement tile be fastened too tight?

A recent Ask the Expert question and answer from TRI President and Technical Director, Rick Olson.

Question – Can a cement tile be fastened too tight? And would that cause breakage?

Response – The simple answer is yes, but that depends upon the type of fastening and if the fasteners are over driven. Our tiles can be fastened with nails, screws or foam adhesive products. The ability of the fastener to provide the greatest uplift resistance will come from the fastener being relatively flush to the top of the tile. For nails, that can be with a hammer or a nail gun.

With a hammer, if they are over driven, the hammer can hit the top of the tile and can create a crack around the nail hole, or in some cases break the tile.

With nail guns, the roofing contractor will set the “chuck stroke” or  height to be just above the tile surface to prevent over driving of the nail or screw. This should eliminate any chance of tile breakage.

When screws are used with an impact gun, contractors will generally set the resistance of the chuck to allow the screw to go flush. This will prevent the screw from stripping out the wood and will also provide the best uplift resistance.

The goal is to have the fastener seat to the top surface of the tile. If fasteners are too high they will create a point load on the overlapping tile that can result in breakage when the tiles are walked on.

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