Because New Zealand enjoys a mainly temperate climate, there is a misconception that only locations that actually experience snow or ice require frost-proofing consideration, but frost damage is a potential problem wherever you
get a number of seasonal freeze/thaw cycles. During the winter, this applies to most of New Zealand, with the possible exception of parts of the far north.
Another common misconception is that, to design a frost-proof ceramic tile installation, all you need to do is specify a frost-proof ceramic tile. What you actually need is a complete tile system that can resist the damaging freeze/thaw cycle. It’s all about water Designing a frost-proof ceramic tile installation is about the management of water.
When water penetrates a tile or any part of the installation and freezes, it solidifies. As it solidifies, it increases in volume. This volumetric change creates mechanical stresses that increase and become more damaging as the freezing and thawing cycles continue. The stress can damage the body of the tile, its surface (especially if it is glazed),
the adhesive (in some cases creating a loss of bond) and the grout, hence the need to specify a complete installation system and not just a frost-proof tile. The main design goal of such a system is to avoid water penetration and retention as much as possible. This can be done by use of waterproof membranes, latex or polymer modified adhesives and grouts, and appropriate sealers. Making sure the fall is right and that the flexible joints are correctly
placed are also important.