If you have a broken tile amongst many in your bathroom or kitchen you may think it’s the end of the world. You need not worry of course. You can easily replace a tile with only a small amount of time and materials. You are more likely to have trouble finding a tile which is an exact match for you old ones than actually replacing it.
What you need to remove a broken tile
There are a few things you need for this task. Firstly you need to make sure you are proceeding safely, having safety goggles is a must as are a decent pair of work gloves. For the removal you will need: Masking tape, an electric drill with a 5mm masonry bit, a cold chisel, a wood chisel and a grout rake. For the affixing of the new tile you will need tile adhesive, tile grout (ready-mix is fine), tile adhesive spreader, tile spacers, grout spreader, a plastic grout finishing tool and, of course, a replacement tile.
If you have all this you are ready to go!
Preparing the tile for removal
The cracked tile should have an “X” of masking tape placed across it. The point of this is to keep your drill from slipping on the tile and damaging it further. A good tip is to make some sort of mark on your drill, possibly with a strip of masking tape to denote the depth of the tile. It is best not to drill into the wall!
Removing the broken tile
Drill along the “X” shape at even intervals. Once you’ve done this use a grout rake and remove all of the grout surrounding the tile – make sure you don’t damage the other tiles. Next use your cold chisel and hammer to chip at the tile along the edges of the masking tape.
Now you must remove the masking tape. Most of the tile should come with it. Use your wood chisel (bevel side down) to remove any remaining tiling and, once you’re finished, remove any old grout too. Use the chisel to remove any remaining tile adhesive. Leave yourself with a nice flat and clean surface to make the replacing of the tile as easy as possible.
Replacing the broken tile
So now you should have a nice clean space in your tiled wall just about the right size for your lovely new tile. By putting your tile in the space you have just made you should be able to tell whether it fits nicely or not – if the tile rocks it means the surface is uneven. If the surface is uneven you will have an indication of the amount of tile adhesive you will be applying. If the corner and sides are nearly flush with the surrounding tiles you should be ready to go.
If you’re ready it’s time to apply adhesive to the back of the tile using an adhesive spreader. Use it as sparingly because the tile needs to sit flush. When you’re satisfied the tile is in the correct place clean off and adhesive form the front of the tile and the surroundings areas. Once clean you should use your tile spacers to make sure there is an even distance around the tile.
Usually you should leave it for 24 hours – although it is always best to follow the manufactures instructions to the letter if stated otherwise.
Once it has dried and is fixed securely you may remove the tile spacers and grout around the tile. Use the grout finishing tool to get a smooth and professional finish – once the grout has dried simply polish up with a dry cloth.
All there is left to do now is tidy up and admire your handy-work.