What are tented tiles?
The term tented tiles refer to floor tiles that have lost their bond to the slab surface and have popped up. Check the video below: as you listen notice the popping noise. Those pops are from the thin-set separating from the concrete surface.
Almost every layperson believes that the presence of tented tiles means that the foundation has failed
In truth, the foundation is not the culprit. The root of the problem is poor application. In many cases, the tiles were not applied properly. Weather can be an important contributor underlying factor. Check out this short video:
Did you notice how strongly Tynan insists that the cause of poping or tented tiles is not the foundation?
Missing soft (movement) joints
Tynan correctly identifies one cause of tented floor tiles: an inadequate gap between the tile and the baseboard. In a specific house, you would have to remove any quarter-round material to check for the needed gap.
Another thing to check is what is known as “soft joints” or “movement joints.” A soft joint is a joint between two tiles that is not grouted. It is typically filled with a colored caulk.
The best resource for learning more about tented tile:
The Tile Council of North America publishes a short document about tented tile. You can download the document here.