How to replace broken tiles

At one time or the other you will be dealing with a broken or cracked tile. While it is sometimes easy to ignore, it may become unsightly and pose a fall hazard.

Causes of broken tiles

  • In the kitchen tiles mostly break due to objects falling on them.  You may have dropped a heavy pot or pan on the tile and cracked it. This will result in a single tile having that unsightly crack line or a piece of it chipped off.
  • Another reason why tiles crack is that they are placed right above a concrete control joint. These joints allow the concrete to expand and contract. Placing a tile over a control joint will result in the tile cracking due to reflective cracking.
  • Heavy loads do not necessarily crack tiles as the standards for tile manufacture ensure that they can carry at least 250 pounds of pressure. However dropping a load on them will cause them to crack as will anything that is above this weight.
  • Sub-standard tiles will crack eventually because they are not strong enough for the weight they carry. These tiles are cheap and you’ll have a hard time tracking down the manufacturers.

Removing the old tile

  • You’ll have to remove the old tile completely as well as the adhesive and grout. Use a grout saw to begin scraping away the old grout. To do this faster make use of a rotary tool with a grout removal adjustment.
  • The next thing is to break up the tile with a hammer. Cover the tile with a heavy piece of cloth and smash it. Be careful as you do this to ensure you only hit the broken tile and not the others around it.
  • Remove the broken pieces completely. You’ll need to clean out the old adhesive thinset or mortar. Use a chisel and a hammer to accomplish this task. The aim is to remove all this material and remain with a clean surface. This task is a bit tedious but must be done well. Then vacuum out the space.
  • Try and fit the new tile into the space and using a level check to make sure that it is at a slightly lower level with the surrounding tiles. This means that you have room for your adhesive as well as the tile.

Fixing in the new tile

  • Some tile adhesives are suited for wall tiles while others are suited for floor tiles. They are designed for their purposes with some suited to withstand pressure for high traffic areas and others keep tiles from sliding off walls. Choose an adhesive that is suitable for your needs.
  • Pour the adhesive into the tile pocket and spread it using the flat edge of a quarter inch notched trowel. You’ll then go over it with the notched side of the trowel to form ridges that stand on their own.
  • Next you will place the tile gently into the ground while ensuring that it is straight and not on an angle. Gently press it down. Then remove any excess thinset or mortar that comes up the grout lines after you place the tile. It is very important to do this immediately because once it dries up, it can be quite a head ache to get it out.
  • Mix your grout according to the instructions on the package. It should have the consistency of peanut butter when you’re done. Letting it sit for a short while will allow it to absorb the water better.
  • Spread the grout at a on the grout lines at a 45 degree angle all around using a grout float. When you see a thin film develop on the tile, wipe it off with a damp towel.
  • Once you are done with this, give the grout a few hours to dry. Then using a dry towel buff the tile. You’ll then give the tile about a day before resuming foot traffic in the area.
  • Finally to prevent the tile from experiencing water damage, use a grout sealant.

Replacing your broken tiles is thus not a difficult job to do. It certainly does not require hiring a professional and the more you do it, the better you’ll become at it. Get the right tools for the job and broken tiles will be a thing of the past.

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