There has been an increase in reports of dislodged tiles with about 700 such cases in the first half of January, said the Housing Development Board on Wednesday (16 January), amid the recent cold spell in Singapore.
In response to queries by Yahoo News Singapore, the HDB said that close to half of the cases reported this month involved tiles in dwellings where homeowners had renovated flats using their own tiles. The rest were installed by the HDB.
Harvinder Kaur, who lives with her family in a five-room HDB flat at Blk 626, Senja Road, in Bukit Panjang, was among the residents who had reported about the dislodged tiles.
The legal professional in her 40s told Yahoo News Singapore that the tiles, which were installed by HDB, started dislodging on Friday evening “with a sizzling sound”, and continued over the weekend. The dislodged tiles eventually encompassed about 70 per cent of the floor area of her flat.
“We were wondering where the sounds coming from when suddenly, my son who was doing his homework on the dining table screamed. The tiles moved upwards, pushing the table up. The sound grew louder and moved to my living room… We ran out of the house,” said Kaur, who described the popping of tiles as an explosion-like sound.
This is the first time such an incident had happened in the 15 years that she has stayed in her flat, she added.
“The workers came to remove the broken tiles and covered the area with cardboard. HDB will inform (me) when the work will start in few days,” she said, a day after she left a message on HDB’s Facebook page.
The HDB said that the recent increase in cases is “consistent with the experience encountered in previous years” during the colder months in the year. The temperature in certain areas of Singapore dropped to as low as 21.2°C over the weekend, in part due to a monsoon surge.
The dislodgement of tiles can occur due to various reasons, including natural deterioration and differential thermal expansion or contraction of the tiles. This could result in a loss of adhesion that was holding the tiles in place.
“Significant changes in temperature can also cause more stress to be built up beneath the tiles and contribute to the loss of adhesion,” added the HDB.
Stressing that it will continue to offer “goodwill repairs for the tiles up to 15 years” for units with tiles laid by the HDB, the agency said, “HDB will also assist all affected residents to inspect their flats, lay protective sheets over the affected tiles and provide a list of repair contractors whom they can engage.”
The 700 cases so far this year are more than one-third of the total cases reported annually in previous years.
Responding to questions raised in Parliament on dislodged tiles, the Ministry of National Development said in April 2017 that HDB received about 2,000 cases of dislodged floor tiles a year in the past two years.