How to Replace a Broken Tile

A cracked floor tile is not only unsightly, but it can also pose a risk to your home’s safety. While your first instinct may be to call a professional to take care of a cracked floor tile, replacing it yourself is actually a simple task. Even an untrained homeowner can accomplish this. With the right tools and steps, you’ll have a brand new floor tile minus the expense of hiring a professional. Handyman Connection® of Chattanooga suggests following these steps:

Remove the Old Grout

To ensure a successful replacement, you’ll have to completely get rid of the grout holding the old tile in place. We recommend wearing protective gear like safety goggles to protect yourself from chips of tile and the unavoidable dust. Then, remove the grout surrounding the broken tile using a scoring tool with a carbide tip. Apply enough pressure to rake the grout out, but be careful, as too much pressure can end up gouging neighboring tiles.

Lift the Cracked Tile

Achieve professional-looking results by applying painter’s tape around the old tile to protect the adjacent ones. Drill holes into the broken areas of the tile, making sure the holes are spaced as evenly as possible. Doing this with a 1/4-inch ceramic bit will free the tile from the substrate, making the pieces of tile easier to chisel out.

We recommend working from the center, gently tapping the broken pieces using a hammer and a 3/8-inch chisel. A flat screwdriver will do in the absence of a tile chisel. You may also use a cold chisel. Start with the tool at a 90-degree angle to the floor and switch to an angle of 45 degrees after penetrating the glaze. When the tile is completely removed, use a wide chisel to clean any residue on the substrate.

Install the New Tile

Clean the area thoroughly and use a 1/4-inch notched trowel to comb some thinset mortar over the substrate. Make sure the application is straight and even. For better adhesion, you can also apply some thinset on the back of the replacement tile. Set the tile in place carefully, making sure it’s even on all sides, and press down firmly, leveling it with the surrounding tiles.

Let the thinset cure for two hours then mix some grout. Swipe this into the exposed joints. A rubber grout float angled at 45 degrees will do the job. Let it harden for 15 minutes. When the grout is no longer tacky, clean off any excess with a damp sponge. Don’t walk on the newly installed tile for at least 24 hours so the grout has time to fully harden.

For more home improvement and maintenance tips, turn to Handyman Connection of Chattanooga. Contact us today at (423) 709-8005 to learn more about our services. We’ll even offer you a free estimate.

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