Remodeling Tips and Reviews

Repairing a broken or unlevel Tile

Repairing a broken or unlevel Tile

Jan 24, 2012

You love your tile floor but you have a problem. One or two tiles are either broken, off center, or uneven with your other tiles. Maybe someone not paying attention decided to walk on your new tile floor before it set up, but after you left. Maybe a heavy object dropped on a tile and cracked it. What ever the reason, don’t despair. You can demo out that one tile with some elbow grease and about 20 minutes of time.

Here is what you will need:

  1. hammer to wack the tile in question
  2. chisel to clean out the remnants
  3. Shopvac to clean out the space
  4. mortar ( I prefer quick set for these small jobs, but any will do)
  5. Matching Tile
  6. Matching grout
  7. Correct Sized Trowel for your Tile
  8. Float for grout ( or your finger for this small of a job)

You will need to carefully break the offending tile into several small pieces by hitting it with a hammer and then removing the pieces with a 3/4″ or 1″ chisel. Slowly work your way around the entire tile until it is gone. You will then need to use your chisel to remove the mortar and grout under and to the sides of the tile. If the mortar bed is quite thick then make sure you only go down far enough to install a new tile and an additional 1/8″ or so clearance for the new mortar. Once you are sure you have a clean spot vacuum it out thoroughly and test it with the new tile. If the problem is with the subfloor ( i.e. a hump) you may need to use a grinder with a diamond blade on it and grind down the problem area. This will require a mask and I recommend running the shopvac while you are using it. Once the space is clean it is ready to go.

If you are using quick set mortar you will need a small batch ready to go, about a 2 cups should be plenty. Using theĀ  trowel you will want to apply the mortar to the back of the tile ( called back buttering) while holding it. Once the back is covered evenly with the mortar you will then set the tile in place and firmly push it down til it is level with the other tiles. If is too high, you will need to pull it up with a putty knife or chisel and remove some mortar. If it is too low, add more mortar. Once you have it done you need to allow it time to set up.

Once the tile is no longer moving and has set up, you can grout it. Make a half cup or so of grout and apply it around the tile in the seams with a float or a putty knife, or your finger. Just make sure you completely fill the seams with grout. Use a sponge to wipe up excess. Once the grout is dry you will need to clean the area a time or two to get rid of grout haze. Then seal the grout.

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