How to Repair Chips in Ceramic Floor Tiles

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How to Repair Chips in Ceramic Floor Tiles

Ceramic tiles provide durable flooring, while maintaining a classic look. These tiles last for decades when properly cared for, but occasionally, accidents happen and tiles chip. How to repair chips in ceramic tile flooring depends partly on the size of the chip, and the availability of replacement tiles. In addition to finding the right supplies, repairing chips in floor tiles requires a little patience to ensure that the final repair is unnoticeable.

 

About Ceramic Tile

Although ceramic tiles might chip, the flooring material serves as a strong and attractive option for many homeowners. Like any other flooring, ceramic tiles have benefits and drawbacks.

 

Advantages

Disadvantages

Scratch and stain resistant

Hard surface, uncomfortable to stand on for long periods

Easy to clean

Can be slippery

Large selection

Grout can stain

Long-lasting

Cold on bare feet

 

Ceramic tiles are not only suitable for floors, but also for indoor and outdoor countertops, and for bathtub or shower surrounds. The repair process for chipped tiles is the same regardless of the tile's location.

 

Repairing the Chip

If the chip is relatively small, a simple repair saves replacing the whole tile. This method requires patience because homeowners must wait for each stage to dry before moving on to the next.

Preparing the Surface

Homeowners should wash the area with soapy water and rinse it thoroughly, allowing time for the tile to try. The interior, unglazed area exposed by the chip soaks up water, so it should dry overnight. Alternatively, homeowners can dry the area with a hair dryer for approximately 15 minutes. The next step is to apply a thin coat of oil-based primer/sealer to the chip, being careful not to let it splash onto the surrounding glazed areas. This takes at least two hours to dry.

Colour and Fill

Homeowners should paint the discoloured chip with standard wall paint or oil-based art paint. The colour of the paint should match the tile exactly. Paint stores can mix the colours accurately, or homeowners can blend oil-based paints themselves. If the paint is not exactly the same colour as the glazed tile surface, the repair becomes noticeable.

Drying Process

After the paint dries, homeowners should wait at least 24 hours. Then they should mix the two parts of a clear, waterproof marine epoxy in equal measure. This creates a thick, gel-like consistency. Homeowners should dab the epoxy onto the chipped area with a toothpick, layering it until it is level with the tile's surface. Finally, it needs to dry for at least 24 hours.

 

Replacing the Tile

When the chip is too large to fill in easily, it may be necessary to replace the chipped tile instead of repairing it. This method works if homeowners have extra tiles to match the existing ones, or if they can find an exact replacement in a home improvement store. This may be difficult with older, discontinued tiles.

Remove Chipped Tile

Removing a single tile requires precision. Homeowners should drill several lines of small holes diagonally across the tile, using a 6mm masonry bit, spacing them approximately 25mm apart. Using a hammer and chisel along the lines to split the tile, homeowners should pry loose the broken pieces and the surrounding grout. They must scrape the dried mortar off the subfloor, and vacuum the debris so they have a clean work surface.

Replace with New Tile

The next step is to spread a bed of mastic about 6mm deep across the empty area and rake it with a notched trowel to create thin lines. Homeowners should press the new tile onto the mastic, twisting it slightly to set it. They should pound it gently with a rubber mallet to level it with the floor, letting it sit about 12 hours to dry.

It is important to match the existing grout colour by bringing samples home and comparing them. Homeowners should mix the grout powder with water and push the grout into the open joints surrounding the new tile using a rubber float. They should wipe up the excess grout with a sponge. When a light film appears on the tile, they should wipe it again. The grout must sit for at least 24 hours before anyone can walk on it.

 

How to Buy Ceramic Floor Tiles on eBay

Sellers on eBay offer ceramic floor tiles, as well as the tools needed to repair chips or replace the tile. Some sellers provide single tiles, while others sell them by the square metre. You can narrow their search by colour, or other specifications. You can type keywords such as '300 mm ceramic tile' into the search box that appears on every eBay page. You can also find items such as marine epoxy or chisels.

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