The kitchen is often the most abused room in the home. With all the traffic and cooking, accidents can happen and things get dropped. If you have a tile floor in your kitchen, a heavy pot or pan could easily crack one or more of the tiles if it falls. Tile flooring is pretty sturdy, but sometimes things just happen.
If one of your tiles has gotten cracked, it won’t just make your floor look bad. It will also allow water or other liquids like juice or milk soak into the wood underneath if it gets spilled in the area. Fixing a cracked or broken tile as quickly as possible can actually save a lot of water damage to the flooring.
To get the tile off the floor, you’ll need to crack it even more with a hammer. Place an old rag or towel over top of the cracked tile and tap it with a hammer hard enough to break it into several smaller pieces. The rag will help keep little shards of tile from flying up in your face as you break it.
Also, to keep the shock waves created by the hammer from damaging other tiles next to the broken one, you’ll need to remove all of the grout from around the damaged tile first. You can use a grout saw, which can be purchased at most hardware stores, or a rotary cutting tool. No matter what you use, wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.
It will take a little time to cut through the grout, it’s been down for awhile and has probably gotten quite hard. Just take your time and do it carefully so you don’t damage other tiles. Remove as much of the grout as possible, all of it if you can. After the grout is removed, use the hammer and rag to break the tile.
If the pieced of tile have sharp edges, use gloves to remove them from the floor. You will have to use a chisel or some other tool to pry most of the pieces up off of the wood surface. Once all of the tile pieces are up, you need to remove all of the old adhesive.
Use the chisel to pry the adhesive up from the wood, vacuum the area so that you can see what is loose and what is still stuck to the wood. If you don’t get the wood clean of all of the old adhesive or debris, the new tile won’t stick properly and will eventually just come loose from the floor.
If you’re lucky, you installed the tile after you moved into the home and have a few spare tiles stored back. If not you’ll probably have a hard time finding tile exactly like the ones on your floor. It will especially hard to find a match if the tiles have designs. If you can’t find an exact match, choose the one that’s the closest to the flooring.
Use a putty knife to apply tile adhesive to the back of the tile that your using. After you’ve applied the adhesive, use a notched trowel to spread the adhesive in a smooth, even coat on the entire back of the tile. It’s important to cover the whole area with the adhesive, but make sure that the edges are well covered.
Place the tile onto the floor and tap it with the handle of the hammer. You want to firmly set it on the floor surface, but don’t tap it so hard that it cracks. Position the tile in place so that the gaps around the edges are even. You don’t want to forget to leave room for grout around all of the edges.
The new tile will need at least 24 hours to dry before you can apply the grout. Once it’s dry and you start to grout the edges, make sure that you get it way down into the gap. You can use a grout float to press it down into the gap properly. Once you’ve applied all of the grout, use a damp rag or sponge to wipe up any excess grout before it dries on the tiles.