How to Replace a Broken Wall Tile
Most of us have needed to replace a broken wall tile. Usually broken tiles are the result of DIY work in the bathroom, such as trying to install a new accessory such as a soap holder. Once the tile has been broken, it is probably then followed by much swearing and panic.
In general, a tile would not crack on its own as they are quite hard wearing. Restoring cracked tiles will keep your bathroom looking beautiful. It is also important to replace cracked tiled because water could otherwise penetrate the crack, leading to water damaged walls. Or could create a breeding ground for mold and eventual structural damage.
If this is something you have recently done, then there is no need to panic! Usually there are two options when it comes to tile repairs.
- You could hire a tiling contractor to replace the tile for you. Although replacing a tile is a relatively simple and quick job for a contractor, it could be a substantial expense.
- Another option is to replace a broken wall tile yourself using the step-by-step guide below.
- Grout (that matches your existing grout)
- Notched trowel
- Putty knife
- Grout remover (grout raker)
Step 1 – Type of Tile?
Tiles come in a variety of materials. You will first need to determine the type of tile you have. Are they ceramic, porcelain, glass, marble or anything else? The most common type of tile is ceramic.
When it comes to bathrooms, the common choices are ceramic or porcelain. Granite tiles look very impressive, but very expensive. Also, tiles such as granite are more difficult to install.
Step 2 – How Many Tiles need Replacement?
When a tile first starts to crack, it is possible the crack could propagate into the adjacent tiles too. It is important to access exactly how many tiles have cracked by having a close look.
Step 3 – Remove the Surrounding Grout
A grout raker is the perfect tool to remove the grout surrounding your broken tile. The Tungsten Carbide blade allows the grout to be sliced into easily. Once you have cut either side of the grout, you should then be able to scrape it out using a flat head screw driver.
Step 4 – Removing the Tile
It is important to note that the tile is likely bonded to the wall very well. Drilling various holes in the tile can help to weaken it, and allow you to remove it in smaller sections via a chisel.
Once the tile has been fully removed, brush out any tile chippings and dirt. Use sandpaper if necessary to ensure the wall is smooth, ready for a new tile.
Step 5 – Apply Adhesive
Apply a thin layer of tile adhesive to the back of a tile using an adhesive spreader.
Next position the tile, checking that it sits flush. You can use spacers to help maintain grout gaps. Allow the adhesive to dry for the recommended time given on the packet (usually at least 1 hour). Once dry you can then remove the spacers.
Step 6 – Apply the Grout
Step 7 – Cleaning Up
Once all of your broken tiles have been replaced, you will need to thoroughly clean around your replaced tile to remove any excess grout.