A cracked tile on the wall in your bathroom can look grotty, but for most of us if you leave it long enough you don't notice it anymore. It is an easy task though to replace that tile and once you've done it once, it's a cinch and I'll bet you will never leave a cracked tile hanging around too long again.
Even if this is your first time, replacing a damaged tile need not be a daunting task. It can easily be done even if surrounded by other tiles.
First make sure you get the same colour as the surrounding tiles, or you may want to insert a "picture" tile just for fun. Heck, you may decide to do a whole mosaic of beautiful picture tiles on your wall once you've worked out how easy it is to replace a single cracked tile.
Also make sure you get exactly the right size tile - you can always get your hardware store to cut it to the correct size.
You will need some tools, these are not expensive tools and handy items to keep in your tool cupboard.
You will need:
- Safety goggles
- Wide flat-tipped screwdriver
- Tile adhesive
- Tile spacers (available from hardware stores, matchsticks are also pretty handy spacers)
- Puttty knife
- Tile cutter
Always use safety goggles as chiselling and hammering can cause bits of always results in bits and pieces of tile or grout flying around and you don't want to get a piece in your eye.
Start by making an X with a tile cutter from corner to corner of the damaged tile (careful of your fingers) - this makes removal with the chisel and hammer much easier. Instead of a chisel you can use a wide flat-tipped screwdriver.
Now the trick is to start from the centre, working your way outwards. This helps prevent accidental chipping of the surrounding tiles. Once the whole tile has been chipped away, you must remove all the old adhesive and grout as well. A screwdriver and hammer works well for this job. Do small areas at a time, piece by piece, you want the area flat and clean for the new adhesive to stick.
Spread the tile adhesive on the back of the new tile and press into place making sure the space all around it is equal.
Tip: You can use matchsticks as spacers to get alignment correct.
Replacing the grout:
Mix a small quantity of grout and press into the gaps with a putty knife.
Smooth with your finger and remove any surplus with a damp cloth.
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It is important to remove excess tile adhesive and grout immediately before it dries, so clean well while it is wet.
Wait approximately three hours for the grout to harden, then polish the tiles with newspaper bunched up into a ball.
Finally, clean with warm water and cloth.
Useful tools to have for cutting tiles:
Tile cutter with a tungsten carbide tip – you can score the surface of the tile with this handy tool.
A wheel cutter – the cutting wheel scores the tile and the jaws break it at the scoreline.