How to Replace a Cracked Tile

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A cracked tile poses an unsightly appearance to your floors or walls. If you have leftover or matching tile, you can replace the tile and avoid total replacement. This inexpensive option is easy to do for homeowners with a limited-to-moderate skill set in home improvement repairs.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Utility knife
  • Diamond blade
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Floor scraper
  • Vacuum
  • Notched trowel
  • Margin trowel
  • Thinset or Mastic
  • Grout
  • Tile
  • Grout float
  • Sponge



SkilToolsTo prevent cracking the adjoining tiles, you must first cut through the grout surrounding the damaged tile. An angle grinder equipped with a diamond blade or oscillating tool fitted with a grout removal blade are the most effective methods to cut the existing grout. Small grout joints less than 1/8-inch might require using a utility knife to score and dig out the grout.

After cutting through the grout, tap the damaged tile in its center with a hammer to crack and loosen said tile.

Working from the center of the tile, work a pry bar or screwdriver through a crack and pry up on the tile until it detaches. It may take several attempts to remove all pieces of the cracked tile.

Use a floor scraper to remove any remaining adhesive from the work area. A floor scraper is a tool fitted with a specially designed razor blade ideal for removing adhesive, paint and other debris stuck to floors and wall surfaces. It is very sharp, so use extreme caution.

Vacuum the work area to remove all dust, dirt and tile debris.

Apply an appropriate amount of thinset or mastic adhesive to the substrate using a notch trowel.

Press the replacement tile into the adhesive and press down firmly. Check to make sure the replacement tile is flush with adjoining tiles on all sides. You can adjust the height of the tile by adding or removing adhesive as needed.

Remove any adhesive from the grout joints surrounding the tile and allow it to dry overnight.

Mix a small amount of grout — either sanded or non-sanded — and grout the joints surrounding the tile. Use a grout float to work the grout into the joints until they are full. Smooth the grout joints by working a damp sponge in circular motions over the tile. Allow the grout to set for about twenty minutes. Wipe up excess grout with the sponge. Remove remaining haze with the sponge and clean water.

Tips:

  1. Use a piece of the old grout to match the type and color of the new grout.
  2. Use fast-setting thinset adhesive to speed up the project.


Warnings:

  1. Wear protective eye gear when using power tools.
  2. Use extreme caution when using the utility knife or floor scraper.

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