You’re having a good day when you suddenly hear the telltale sound of something heavy dropping on the floor. You now have the unfortunate task of repairing a broken, cracked or damaged floor tile. It wasn’t too long ago that I had this problem, and a friend who is a contractor told me how to fix floor tiles. If it is a small crack, you can often fill it with a kit. If it is a big issue, you will have to replace the floor tile. Let’s take a look at both options.
I have to admit I had no idea how to fix floor tiles before I had to fix two tiles that broke in my living room when I accidentally dropped a weight on the floor. With some help from my friend, I gained new insight into fixing floor tiles. I thought I would share what I learned in this post.
To fix a completely broken floor tile, carefully remove the broken, cracked, or damaged tile and clean all the old tile cement and tile debris. Then you mix Thinset tile adhesive or All-in-one grout and adhesive by following the instructions. Lastly, wait for it to dry, add grout if needed and seal the grout. Let’s discuss this in more detail below.
How To Fix Small Cracks in Floor Tiles
No matter how hard you try, there is always a chance that one of your floor tiles will crack, get damaged, or break at some point. The issue comes when you have to fix it. Small cracks are often fixable without having to remove the tile completely. It might look a bit intimidating, but you can have it fixed in less than a day with the right supplies and knowledge.
You can fill these hairline cracks with a two-part epoxy kit or a tile repair kit. The epoxy will harden, and you will have a stronger tile than the one you began with. It can take some patience to fill in all the small parts but the results can be well worth it. Read the instructions on the repair kit and you should be good to go. This whole process should take up less than an hour. The kits often include colors so that you can match the repair with the rest of the tile to make it less obvious that you had to work on it.
Steps To Fixing big Cracks: Replacing The Tile
Most of the time, you will need to replace the damaged tile.
There are a few obstacles to overcome, but it’s not too complicated. Here is how to replace a broken, cracked, or damaged floor tile:
Remember that tiles are sharp, so you need to wear proper protection to ensure you won’t accidentally cut your hand on a sharp piece of tile. We have discussed how to cut tiles here. And you get hurt if you don’t. So firstly you must do is to get the right supplies. The supplies you will need are:
- A replacement tile; you might have an extra box for these cases, but if not, you can buy tiles that are the closest match
- You will need a chisel and a small hammer to remove old tile adhesive and debris.
- You will need All-in-one grout and adhesive or Thinset tile adhesive
- Tiling trowel
- A mixing container
- Grout (if you are using Thinset tile adhesive)
- Two rags
- Grout sealant
- Gloves to protect your hands because broken tiles can be sharp
If you don’t have a replacement tile, you can try the following option. It doesn’t always work but can be worth to give it a try.
After you have all the supplies ready, it’s time to replace the tile. The first step is to prepare the surface for a replacement tile. Next, you must remove all the broken, cracked, or damaged tile pieces.
Then you need to use a chisel to remove all the old tile adhesive and clean up the debris to ensure a smooth surface. Next, take the chisel and small hammer and make thin lines in two or three rows next to each other; these grooves will give the adhesive something to stick to.
The third step is to mix the tile adhesive and water. Again, always follow the manufacturers’ instructions, and remember you won’t need a lot, so only mix enough for the number of tiles you will replace. Leave the mixed adhesive to stand for a few minutes to ensure the mix sets correctly.
Using the trowel, spread the tile adhesive on the floor with the grooved side; the grooves will help the tile stick to the adhesive better. Next, apply the adhesive halfway so the tile won’t stick out but flush with the surrounding tiles.
To ensure your tile is even and will be level, don’t angle the tile when you put it in its new spot, but hold a few inches above the adhesive and gently drop the tile into place. Firmly press on all four corners, or the tile will dry unevenly.
If you have applied too much adhesive, it will stick out at the sides of the tile. You can use a thin screwdriver to clean the gaps up. Once the tile is in place, you must leave it to dry overnight, or if you use Thinset, you need to leave it for at least three hours to dry.
Next, you need to mix the grouting if you have used Thinset adhesive and not All-Purpose-grout and adhesive. Leave the mixture to absorb the water for a few minutes. Then use the smooth side of the trowel to grout the edges of the tile (or the four gaps).
While it’s still wet, you might want to take a damp rag and wipe the tile as the grout leaves a hard-to-remove white or gray film on the tile. Take care not to touch the grouting, or it might leave unsightly imprints.
Leave the fixed tile for at least 24 hours after the repair to help the tile adhesive dry and for your tile to be fully set. Lastly, you need to spray the tile grout with a sealer to keep the grout from coming loose or getting damaged. Don’t put any weight on the tile for at least two days. After two days are up, use a dry rag to buff the now fixed tile.
If this doesn’t work, you will have to replace the tile. This can be done by using a hammer to break it into pieces. Wear proper protection when you do this!
I know the last thing I want to do is fix a floor tile. If you don’t have an extra box of tiles stashed away, you might have trouble getting a tile to match the ones that have been damaged. You must mix the adhesive correctly, or your tile might come loose or break.
It works best to replace most damaged tiles, as there might be an underlying issue causing the tiles not to set correctly. However, if you have more tiles breaking, you should call an expert to take a closer look.