How to Replace a Cracked Floor Tile

Cracked Floor Tile

Ceramic tile is a durable and beautiful choice for any floor in your home. But one cracked tile can ruin the appearance of the entire floor. A cracked ceramic tile can also present danger by causing tripping or cuts from the sharp tile. There are several reasons a single ceramic tile may crack.

The most common cause is dropping a heavy object on the floor. Another possible cause is the subfloor underneath the tile lifting or warping. When the subfloor shifts it puts pressure on the tile and over time that tile will crack. You can replace a single ceramic tile in your floor without much difficulty to make your floor look like new again.

Before beginning repairs on your floor, a matching ceramic tile must be located to replace the cracked tile. You may have extra tiles left over from the original floor installation that can be used for replacement tiles. If the ceramic floor is older, or the previous owners had the floor installed, extra tiles probably are not available. Check home improvement stores for a matching replacement tile. Also, check flooring and tile specialty stores.

Many times these stores have remnants of discontinued styles available for low prices. If you cannot find an exact match for your tile you have two choices. One is to buy a tile that matches as close as possible to your floor tiles. A slightly different texture or shade of color will not be noticeable in your overall floor when you are replacing a single tile.

The other option is to use a complimentary colored tile to act as an accent in your floor. Depending on the location of the cracked tile this can give your floor character and originality. If you have to use a complimentary colored tile and do not like the look of just one different colored tile in your floor, you can replace more than one tile.

A pattern can be formed on the floor by adding several complimentary colored tiles. Follow the instructions for replacing a broken tile to replace any unbroken tiles, the procedure is the same.

When you locate a tile that is an exact match, close match, or an accent color it is a good idea to by more than one. If another tile in your floor ever cracks you have a matching tile on hand to use.

To replace the tile in your floor you will need the following tools.

1. Grout saw or old hand lever type can opener

2. Safety glasses

3. Chisel

4. Hammer

5. Glasscutters

6. Ruler

7. Sandpaper

8. Ceramic tile adhesive

9. Replacement tile

10. Masking tape

11. Grout, same color as existing grout in your floor

Step One. Remove the grout.

Remove the grout from the joints around the broken tile. You can use a grout saw, or scrape the grout away using the pointed end of the hand can opener.

Step Two. Score the tile.

You need to make an X on the cracked tile with the glasscutters. Put on the safety glasses when using glasscutters. Use the ruler as a guide to score the tile. Make two deep cuts in the tile, going from corner to corner of the tile making an X shape.

Step Three. Remove the damaged tile.

It is very important to wear the safety glasses for this step. Place the chisel at the center of the tile. Pound the chisel with the hammer to break up and remove the tile. It should break into four pieces because of the X you previously scored. Use the chisel or a scraper to remove any remaining pieces of tile, grout, and adhesive. Sand any rough spots left on the sub floor with sandpaper so the new tile will sit evenly on the floor.

Step Four. Seat the new tile.

Apply the adhesive to the back of your replacement tile and on the sub floor. Wiggle the new tile into place on the sub floor. Cover the tile with a piece of wood and gently tap with a hammer to seat the tile. Place two pieces of masking tape over the new tile in an X shape to hold it in place. Let the adhesive dry 24 hours before grouting. Keep all foot traffic off the tile when the adhesive is drying.

Step Five. Grout the new tile.

Apply grout to the joints around the new tile according to the grout manufacturer’s instructions. A putty knife works well for applying the grout to the joints. Smooth the grout in the joints using your fingers. Wait ten minutes then clean off the excess grout from the tile with a damp sponge. Let the grout dry for 24 hours, again keeping foot traffic off the new tile. You can then polish the new tile with a soft cloth to remove any haze left by the grout. Your replacement tile is now firmly in place and you can use your floor.

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