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How to Replace a Ceramic Tile

Skill Level: Intermediate


A cracked and broken ceramic kitchen or bathroom tile is not a major disaster and can be rectified easily and cheaply.  The important thing is to have a replacement tile at hand.  Always keep a few spares when tiling; you never know when you might need one or two later on. Accidents do happen unfortunately and kitchen surfaces and tiles do suffer from wear and tear. There’s no great skill involved in replacing a tile, just a few basic tools, a few minutes of your time, a little confidence, and it should be job done.  Extra care should be taken during this job due to the risk of flying tile chips, especially to the eyes.  Always wear protective glasses and hand protection during the removal of damaged tiles.


The first step is to safely remove the broken tile

Place two strips of masking tape diagonally, from corner to corner on the tile, and a couple of more strips horizontally.  Drill a series of holes using say a 5mm bit, penetrating through the tile along the strips of masking tape. Drill gently, about half a dozen holes per strip should do it.  Once you’ve done this, leaving the tape in place for now, rake out the old grout around the tile, being careful not to damage the surrounding tiles.  Now we’re ready to take out the old tile.  Using the cold chisel and hammer, whilst still wearing your safety glasses, chip and crack the tile, working outwards towards the edges of the tile.  But be careful not to damage surrounding tiles.  Finally, remove the strips of masking tape; you will find that much of the broken tile will come away stuck to the tape. Any bits remaining stuck to the wall can be removed using a chisel.


When the space where the old tile was is thoroughly cleaned out

When the space where the old tile was is thoroughly cleaned out we are   ready to fit the new tile.  Firstly, offer up the new tile and check that it will fit, and that there is a nice even gap all the way around.  The same gap width as the surrounding tiles.  Apply adhesive evenly to the back of the tile using the adhesive spreader and press the tile into place ensuring the tile surface sits flush with the surrounding tiles.  Insert spacers to give a uniform gap all round.  It is best to now leave the tile for at least 24 hours, or as recommended by the adhesive manufacturer.  When the tile is fully set, the adhesive dry, we have only to grout the tile to complete the job.  Some adhesives are dual purpose and serve as grout.  Check with your supplier.


Remove spacers

Remove spacers and clean away any excess adhesive from the tile groove prior to grouting. When it is clear, fill the groove with grout material and finish off with a grout finishing tool.  Some adhesives are dual purpose and also serve as grout.  Check with your supplier.


Tools you will need:
Stanley 4-18-298 3 Piece Cold Chisel Set
Stanley 4-18-298 3 Piece Cold Chisel Set
- Newsome 5 Piece 100mm Masonry Drill Bit Set
Newsome 5 Piece 100mm Masonry Drill Bit Set

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