Why are movement joints needed?
Recognizing that tile is a facade, movement joints are needed to eliminate stresses that can occur between the substrate and the tile due to differing amounts of expansion and contraction.
Where should movement joints be placed?
The TCNA Handbook recommends allowing for expansion and contraction in every tile installation. In small rooms, a gap at the perimeter of the room (often hidden by baseboard or shoe molding) is sufficient. For larger areas, the movement joints will be visible. We cannot specify the exact location nor frequency of movement joints as there are many site related conditions that must be addressed; however, we do offer guidelines in Detail EJ171 in the TCNA Handbook. It is especially important to note for interior installations, movement joints are placed more frequently when moisture or direct sunlight is expected. For exterior installations, the range of temperature from summer highs to winter lows must be considered.