How to Repair Cracked Tile

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How to Repair Cracked Tile

New homes start out pristine. Eventually, normal wear and tear, as well as the occasional household mishap, takes its toll on tiled floors and walls. Friends and family drop furniture during spring cleaning, spill heavy dishware during dinner parties, and let water and mold wear away at ceramic tiled walls in the showering, degrading tiles and leaving them vulnerable to pressure and waterlogging. Instead of paying a high hourly rate to a professional, homeowners can replace chipped and cracked tiles with relative ease.

Homeowners must arm themselves with information. Different rooms, such as tile in a shower versus a kitchen floor, require varying approaches. Homeowners also need to know how to apply grout and repair varying degrees of damage.

Mix and Match

Homeowners who boast little attention to details such as colour and style need to exercise their inner interior designer when the time comes to repair and replace cracked tile. Take a close look at the area surrounding the damaged tile. Three elements should stand out: the grout, the paint, and the tile itself. If the damage calls for replacement instead of a simple repair, homeowners must match these elements to maintain the uniformity of the surrounding tile.

Paint

Take a snapshot of the paint around the tile and take it to the local paint store or browse eBay to find a colour that matches. Experienced clerks at paint stores can likely put a name to the colour and produce an exact duplicate.

Grout

Few vendors sell grout that matches existing grout exactly. To match the colour and texture, homeowners need to blend powdered grout of different colours to hit on a mirror image. Bear in mind that grout changes colour when wet.

Tile

Homeowners who make a habit of archiving spare pieces and parts could find matching the damaged tile the easiest part of the repair procedure. Oftentimes, professional tile setters bring extras to construction sites and leave those parts in the hands of the owner. Check attics and sheds for duplicates. If that does not pan out, place a call to the tile setter and ask them to come take a look at the tile job so they can make or order a replacement.

Gather Gear

Stock up on tools and equipment before diving into repairs.

Tool

Use

Rag and bowl of soapy water

Scrub away grime around tile

Oil-based primer

Protective covering over cracks in tile

Adhesive / Tile filler

Fill cracks in tiles

Electric drill

Bore holes to remove tile

Putty knife

Chip away at old grout

Notched trowel

Spread adhesive

Remember to buy paint, grout, and replacement tiles in addition to other supplies.

Repairing Tile

Most tile repairs follow a general order.

Remove Old Tile

Tiles beyond repair must be broken and removed to make room for replacements. Cover the tile with a dry cloth and pound away at the tile with a hammer, shattering the tile into tiny fragments. Clear away the fragments and scrape around the edges with a putty knife to pry loose scraps of debris, then wet a rag and clean the gap.

Some professionals prefer to use a drill to remove cracked tiles, as hammering at the old tile can cause damage to surrounding pieces. Fit anelectric drill with a 1/4-inch masonry bit and bore holes diagonally across the tile, separating each hole one inch from the last one. Now split the tile along the line of holes by tapping lightly using a chisel or ball-peen hammer. Clear away the pieces and pry away any debris, then proceed to cleaning.

Replace Grout

Inspect the grout between tiles. If the grout appears stained or damaged, remove it using a grout remover, and then install new grout and seal it to harden it against damage.

Apply Replacement Tile

With the gap cleaned, homeowners can install the replacement tile. Using the notched trowel, spread adhesive across the replacement tile and set the tile. After waiting a period of time prescribed by the tile manufacturer, fill the grout lines with grout, spreading it evenly. Grout is available in squeeze tubes for convenience.

Hairline Cracks

Not all damage warrants tossing an old tile and installing a new one. Homeowners can repair hairline fractures by mixing paint with tile filler and applying a thin layer to the crack. Let the filler dry, then wipe away excess bits with a dry cloth. As long as the paint matches, the crack should be less visible.

How to Buy Tile on eBay

To repaired cracked tile, homeowners need the right tools for the job. eBay's Top Sellers offer new and used products that simplify the already-simple process of repairing tile in any room of any building. Many vendors also supply new tile. Start out on any eBay web page and locate the search bar. Enter a keyword phrase such as "shower tile" to narrow down search results to specific products. Buyers unsure of the exact tool they need can enter general terms such as "power drill" to take a look at a wider selection of results. Buy used to save money.

Repairing a cracked tile requires little more than competency with a drill, a keen eye to select matching paint, grout, and tile, and a little patience.

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