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How to replace a broken tile

Replace a broken tile

The look of a tiled wall can be ruined by a broken tile or discoloured grout.

There is no need to re-tile the whole surface - both problems can be solved fairly easily.

Tools and materials

Tiling kit

Quantity: 1

Tile spacers

Quantity: 1

Notched trowel

Quantity: 1

Tile cutter

Quantity: 1

Silicone sealant

Quantity:
Min 1

Wall tile adhesive

Quantity:
Min 1

Wall tile grout

Quantity:
Min 1

Hammer

Quantity: 1

Cold chisel

Quantity: 1

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The look of a tiled wall can be ruined by a broken tile or discoloured grout. There is no need to re-tile the whole surface - both problems can be solved fairly easily.

safety first: Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect you from flying fragments and sharp edges when drilling holes in the damaged tile. Wear heavy duty gloves to protect your hands when removing the broken pieces.

Simply follow these steps to replace a damaged tile...

The hardest part of replacing a damaged tile is removing the old one without damaging the surrounding tiles. Very occasionally they lift out easily, but usually the adhesive holds the damaged pieces just as firmly as it held the whole tile.

1 Loosen the grout around all four edges of the damaged tile with a grout remover and rake it out.

2 Drill some holes in the centre of the tile to weaken its surface, using a power drill fitted with a ceramic tile bit. Change to a large masonry bit to increase the size of the hole, if necessary.


3 Use a hammer and cold chisel to cut through the tile between the holes and to chop out the central portion, taking care not to dig the chisel into the wall.

4 Work towards the edges of the tile, gently breaking pieces away and being especially careful as you get close to neighbouring tiles. Once the tile is removed, scrape out as much adhesive as possible.


5 Make sure you have removed enough adhesive by inserting the new dry tile. It should not be proud of the surrounding tiles. Coat the back of the tile with tile adhesive, using an adhesive spreader, and position it in the hole.

6 Press the tile into place with a wooden batten to ensure that it is positioned flush with the other tiles. Fit tile spacers perpendicular to the tile’s surface to maintain the gap for grout and prevent the tile from slipping out of position before the adhesive is dry. When the adhesive has dried, remove the spacers and grout the tiles (see Regrouting, steps 2-3).


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Simply follow these steps to re-grout your tiles...

Grout can become stained, leaving it looking shabby while the tiles themselves are fine. Simply replacing the grout can make the tiled surface look good as new.

1 Use a grout remover to remove the old grout from around the tiles to at least half the thickness of the tiles. Do all the vertical joints first and then the horizontal ones.

2 If using powdered grout, mix it with water to a creamy consistency with a spiral mixer as per manufacturer’s guidelines. Use a grout spreader to press the grout firmly into the joints between the tiles. Move the spreader diagonally over the joints to prevent the grout being dragged out again. Wipe the excess grout from the tiled surface with a damp sponge - don’t press too hard or you may remove grout from the joints. Rinse the sponge frequently to keep it free from grout build-up.


3 Run a grout finisher along the joints to give them a neat profile, and remove excess grout with the sponge. Leave the grout to dry, then wipe the tiles with a soft cloth.


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Simply follow these steps to add waterproof seals...

To complete your tiling you may also need to add a waterproof seal - along the bottom of a splashback, for instance. Although there are waterproof varieties of grout, the joint between a basin or bath and a splashback should be protected with a flexible silicone sealant. This will accommodate any movement in the fitting, which could cause the grout to crack and allow water through.


1 Working from one end of the splashback to the other, apply a continuous bead of sealant. Maintain a steady pressure and speed.

2 Any irregularity in the shape of the bead can be smoothed with a special sealant shaper, or even a soapy wet finger, but take care not to pull the sealant from the surface.


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