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Posted in DIY, Tile, Tips & Tricks

Damaged Tiles and How to Replace Them

Tiles are a really popular choice for flooring and walls due to their durability, aesthetics, and ease of maintenance. However, as durable as they are, this doesn’t make them immune to damage. Let us guide you through the process of replacing damaged tiles.

1. Assess your Damaged Tiles

Before you begin, you need to know how much damage there is. Is it just one tile or a few? Once you understand the severity of the problem it’ll be easier to plan out necessary materials and time for the task. 

Damaged tile

2. Gather the Necessary Materials

Depending on the damage you will need:

  • Replacement Tiles: when you make your initial purchase, make sure to buy extra so you always have matching ones for future repairs.
  • Chisel and Hammer: for removing damaged tiles, use a narrow (⅜ inch or ¼ inch chisel) or a flat blade screwdriver.
  • Tile Adhesive: choose a suitable adhesive that adheres well to your tile material and surface. Thinset is good for places with a lot of moisture or where the tile will be completely submerged in water while Mastic should be used in dry and damp areas. Epoxy tile mortar is another option as well but is less DIY friendly.
  • Grout: to fill in the gaps between the tiles.
  • Grout Float: to apply the grout smoothly between the tiles.
  • Tile Spacers: to make even gaps between tiles during installation.
  • Sponge and Bucket of Water: to clean and smooth the grout.
  • Wet Tile Saw or Tile-Cutter: to cut the tiles if necessary.
  • Safety Goggles and Gloves: always use PPE.

3. Removing Damaged Tiles

If the tile is chipped or cracked, it’s best to replace it entirely. Use a chisel and hammer to carefully remove the damaged tile(s) starting from the centre and working out. Be careful not to damage the surrounding tiles in the process by using painter’s tape around the edge of the tile you are removing.

Use a chisel and hammer to remove damaged tile

4. Preparing the Surface

Once you remove the tile, clean the area thoroughly and make sure it’s free of debris. Scrape off any adhesive remnants as a smooth and clean surface is crucial for the new tile to adhere properly.

5. Installing the New Tile

Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the back of the replacement tile and the substrate using a ¼ inch notched trowel before pressing it firmly onto the prepared surface. Insert tile spacers to maintain consistent gaps between the tiles and allow the adhesive to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use tile spacers to evenly space tiles

6. Grouting the Tiles

Once the adhesive has set, which can take anywhere between 2 - 24 hours depending on the adhesive, remove the tile spacers and proceed to grout the tiles. Use a grout float held at a 45 degree angle to apply the grout to the gaps.

Use a grout float to fill the gaps with grout

7. Finishing Touches

Give the tile some time to set (about 15 minutes) before using a soft cloth or sponge to clean away any of the remaining grout from the tile.

Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the tile

Et voila, your broken tile has been replaced!