What are ‘drummy’ tiles? How can they be fixed?

what are drummy tiles

Drummy tiles are named so because they sound “drummy” (hollow sound like a drum) when tapped or trodden upon.  Wall tiles may sound hollow when tapped and appear like they are about to fall off the wall.

Drummy floor tiles

The typical cause of drummy floor tiles is the adhesive hasn’t formed a good bond between the tile and substrate (wall or floor), or there is hollow or missing adhesive under the tile(s).  Excessive movement of floorboards can also be the cause.  A special timber floor adhesive should also be used.

Correctly laid tiles will have 100% adhesive coverage making a sound bond. The tile and substrate effectively become one.

If incorrect adhesive coverage is used, as the floor is walked up, tiles are more likely to break, crack or chip. In extreme cases the tiles may start lifting off the floor.

Drummy wall tiles

If your newly laid wall tiles sound hollow or “drummy” when you tap on them, this could indicate an improper installation job. Probably when the tiler places the adhesive onto the tiles, he/she is not achieving 100% coverage.  Any hollow void without adhesive will sound “drummy” or hollow when tapped.

Over time, excess water penetration behind tiles can cause the adhesive to breakdown. This can also lead to a hollow sound.  This is common when inappropriate waterproofing has been done before the tiles are laid. Read more about the importance of proper waterproofing here »


For tile repairs, regrouting and all your requirements, get in touch with our friendly team for advice. We service all Northern Beaches and North Shore suburbs 24 hours, 7 days a week.