Archives for November 2015

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Ceramic Tile Repair, Installation and Maintenance

How do I replace a broken ceramic floor tile? Is it the same procedure to replace a broken wall tile?

Replacing a broken tile can be very easy or very hard, as with most things in real life! The type of adhesive and the substrate, the material the tile is attached to, and determine the difficulty of removal.

In modern homes, wall tiles are generally set in adhesive, while floor tiles are set in either adhesive, thinset, or mortar. Mortar, or mud, is still commonly used for bathroom and shower enclosure tile floors. Thinset is like mortar in that it is a cement-based product. It differs from true mortar in that it may be applied directly over plywood or tileboard without the need for the metal-mesh reinforcement necessary for mortar.

Ceramic

1. Remove the grout from around the tile(s) you want to replace.

The grout bonds and seals the area between the tiles, protecting the floor underneath from the moisture which can eventually loosen the tiles and damage the substrate. If you try to remove the tile without removing all of the grout first, there is a chance that the adjacent tiles will chip.

If the grout is a soft, unsanded wall grout, you can scratch it out with a utility knife, being careful not to slip and scratch adjacent tiles (oddly enough, you will find that as the blade dulls, it does a better job).

If you are dealing with a sanded floor grout, which tends to be tougher than wall grout, you may have to use a small cold chisel to get the grout out, especially if the grout line is very wide (over 1/4″). However, once you break the surface of the grout, you may be able to go back to the utility knife with the dull blade. There is a tool called a grout saw that is intended to remove grout. However, it is useless unless the grout line is wide.

2. Remove the broken tile.

If the broken tile is loose, simply lift it out and go on the next step. For floor tiles, rap on the edge of the tile, using a hammer and a small cold chisel or other suitable tool (in other words, whatever you have handy, such as a screwdriver). Do not touch any of the adjacent tile, because you may loosen or chip them. A few carefully place whacks may loosen a tile set in mortar or Thinset.

If the tile is set in adhesive, as are most wall tiles, or well adhered to the mortar, every piece of the tile is going to fight you during the removal process. You will probably do some damage to the floor or wall underneath the tile during removal, but it is of little consequence once you install the new tile.

You can use a cold chisel to break a tile into pieces, but you must be very careful to not damage adjacent tiles. I usually use a carbide drill bit, 1/4″ to 1/2″ diameter, and drill a series of holes in the tile, making it easier to break apart. Once you have a hole in the tile, you can use a chisel or screwdriver to pry/break the rest of the tile out.

3. Prepare the hole and set the replacement tile.

Vacuum out all debrus, and scrape out any lumps or bumps in the mortar or adhesive. Test fit the new tile to make sure it 1) sits firmly without excessive rocking, and 2) doesn’t sit higher than the other tiles. Scrape out more remaining adhesive/mortar if necessary.

Apply a 1/8″ layer of adhesive to the back of the tile with a putty knife. It is not necessary to use a special grooved tile adhesive applicator for a small repair such as this.

Do not apply the adhesive closer than a half-inch to the edge of the tile. You don’t want the stuff to squeeze out into the area between the tiles when you place it. Just more of a mess to clean up later!

Press the tile into its place with a slight wiggling motion, which will spread the adhesive and assure a good bond.

4. Let the adhesive dry for 24 hours and apply matching grout.

If any more than a slight amount of adhesive squeezed out between the tiles in the last step, use a utility knife or a thin screwdriver and scrape as much of it out as you can.

Mix the grout per instructions on the label. I always mix no less than 2 cups of grout, regardless how little grout I actually need. By doing so, you are more likely to get the proper mix of chemicals and pigment.

Article source: http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/inftil.html