The adhesion of the ceramic tile relies on a chemical reaction between the tile and the adhesive and the adhesive and the rubber backing.
Ceramic tile loss due to debonding occurs when these chemical reactions breakdown and stop working effectively. This breakdown can be caused by many factors including outdoor exposure, UV, moisture, sub zero temperatures, prolonged service above 25C,and contact with chemicals such as acids, bases and oils. It is critical that extensive adhesion testing is carried out under the full range of conditions that the ceramic lagging will be subjected to in service to ensure that the tile/rubber bonds remain effective. Unfortunately very few ceramic lagging manufacturers do this testing.
Tile debonding is very easy to identify as the recesses in the rubber backing where the tiles are missing, are smooth, and have a detailed imprint of the back of the tile – often this can be seen as ribs or marks in the rubber surface (see photos #2 #3 and #4).