Home Improvement

How to Repair Cracked Floor Tile

Ceramic tiles come in various colours, are easy to clean, and are very durable. Still, as hard as they might be, they can sustain damage. The level of damage can vary, from small hairline cracks to shattered tiles. Do not let a small crack fool you into thinking you can ignore it. If the broken tiles are in your bathroom, they can be an opening for moisture to get through the subfloor. Even if they’re not in that room, they are still rather unpleasant to look at, which sometimes is reason enough.

So, if you:

  • Accidentally broke a tile in the shower whilst removing a shower screen frame.
  • Still have the broken pieces and wonder what you should use to glue them back together.
  • Have several tiles in your kitchen that have come loose with time.

Then, read along and learn how to perform a cracked floor tile repair.

How to repair cracked floor tile

Your goal is to seal and strengthen the problematic area and by doing so, prevent moisture problems and worsening of the crack. With that said, let’s start with…

How to repair minor floor cracks

Can hairline cracks in tile be repaired, you may wonder? The answer is yes and the repair process has a lot to do with using epoxy. Tile replacement is usually the last resort since it’s somewhat risky, in terms of potentially damaging the adjacent tiles. With that said, this is how you repair a cracked floor tile without replacing it:

  1. Clean the damaged tile from any grime. You can use a commercial tile detergent or just soapy water. If you use soapy water, make sure to rinse it off properly afterwards.
  2. Allow the cracked tile to fully dry; otherwise, the epoxy will not work fully.
  3. Pour your epoxy compound onto an old piece of cardboard and mix thoroughly with a wooden stick. (There are 1 and 2 part epoxies on the market. 2 part ones are generally considered of higher quality.)
  4. Apply some epoxy to the crack using a small painting brush. If you have a glue gun, it can also work. Just be careful not to put too much epoxy in the crack.
  5. Wait for about 8 to 10 minutes for the compound to harden.  Scrape any excess with a razor blade. You need to wait about an hour for the epoxy to set fully.

If the tile is in a visible place, you may have to tint the epoxy to make the repair less apparent. This is how to do it:

  1. Wait until the epoxy is completely dry.
  2. Purchase liquid or powder tints in the colours of your tiles. Either one will get the job done.
  3. Mix the pigments until you get the right kind of tint.
  4. Apply the pigment with a small, clean paintbrush.
  5. Wait for the pigment to dry.
  6. Apply a clear coat of sealer onto the painted epoxy to protect the paint from damage.
  7. Wait for the sealant to dry.

We also repair other hard surfaces, check our dedicated page to…

How to replace large tile cracks

When the crack is larger or the tile is shattered, then repairing is no longer an option. You need to remove and replace it with a spare one of the same size, material, colour and pattern. Hopefully, you have some leftover tiles from when the floor was first installed. If not, you will have to order a new batch of tiles just to use one of them for this purpose.

Replacement of floor tiles is somewhat tricky but not impossible. This is how you do it:

  1. Remove the grout from around the edges of the damaged tile – For this job, you will need a heavy-duty utility knife. Cut the grout on the edges of the damaged tile and be careful not to wander off to the adjacent ones. If the grout is old, it will be soft and easy to cut.
  2. Smash the damaged tile – Lay a towel over the cracked tile and hit it with a lump hammer right in the centre.
  3. Clear out the pieces – Put away the broken shards and remove the ones, which are stuck, using a small chisel and hammer. Also, scrape off the old adhesive from the floor. A solid metal blade will be perfect for this task.
  4. Vacuum clean – Get rid of all the dust from the spot where the tile was.
  5. Prepare new adhesive – Mix a small amount of tile adhesive and apply it to the underside of the new tile. Cover the surface fully, so there would be no air pockets. An alternative way to go about this is to fill the hole with the adhesive and add the tile on top.
  6. Place the new tile – Try to put it in the centre of the hole and press it down. Make sure it’s aligned with the rest of the tiles.
  7. Leave the adhesive to set and dry –  A few hours should be enough, but check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
  8. Prepare joints for new grout – Scrape the excess adhesive from the edges of the new tile before it dries. You can use a flat screwdriver for this purpose. 
  9. Prepare grout – mix several grout samples until you get a colour close to the original. Buying premixed grout is also an option.
  10. Fill the joints – Get the compound into the joints using a float tool. Don’t push too hard. When the joints are full with grout, take any tool and use its handle. Push the grout down with the butt end of the handle.
  11. Wipe the excess grout – A damp sponge will do just fine and do not push too hard when wiping. Leave the grout overnight to fully set.
  12. Wipe down residue – On the next day, take your damp sponge again and wipe the residue.

Hire a professional

If the task of repairing a cracked floor tile seems too troublesome for you, then it’s best to call professional help. Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped technicians. The materials are also included in our tile repair service. The professional tilers can repair all kinds of tile damage, such as chips, holes, cracks and even replace completely broken tiles. So, don’t try to replace that shattered tile on your own when you can entrust the job to us. We also offer flexible working hours both for residential and commercial properties. Call us today and get your quote!

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Did find our post helpful? Did we miss something? Let us know by commenting below!

Takeaways

  • Minor cracks can be repaired and that’s the preferred solution to replacing the entire tile.
  • Always clean the tile surface before attempting to repair hairline cracks.
  • Minor cracks can be repaired with epoxy, which you may or may not need to colour afterwards.
  • Larger cracks require you to replace the tile entirely.
  • You need to remove the grout, first, before removing the damaged tile.
  • When you put the new tile, you then need to add new grout around it.

Image source: Shutterstock / JKDECODE

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