Replace tiles before mildew sets in

Ceramic tile is beautiful and easy to clean and care for, but it is not indestructible. If you’ve ever dropped something heavy on the floor, or flung open the door and heard the doorknob cracking a wall tile, you already know this.

Even if you’re very careful, over time, grout can crack, chip and wear down, which increases the likelikhood of chipping the tile.

Either way, left unattended, these problems will only make for bigger problems. The immediate threat is that water collecting behind the tile makes a wonderful medium for mildew to grow. In the long run, the moisture will damage the floor or wall behind. So consider taking some time to replace broken tiles.

The hardest part of repairing ceramic tile is removing the broken piece and the surrounding grout without damaging the other tiles or what’s underneath the tile. So use the right tools and don’t rush.

A grout rake or grout saw, available at hardware stores or home centers, will help you remove the grout around the damaged tile. If the grout is the only problem, remove all the loose, cracked grout, brush the grout lines to remove loose pieces of grout and dust, and proceed with putting in new grout.

If you have a cracked or damaged tile to fix, too, the surest way to remove it without damaging surrounding tiles is to break it into smaller pieces.

There are several ways to do this. I use what’s referred to as a cold chisel and hammer. Holding the chisel against the tile with one hand, I hit the handle of the chisel with the hammer.

Crack an X across the surface of the tile, then break up these smaller pieces with the chisel and hammer until the tile is loose enough to allow you to start removing it. Work the chisel under the loosened tile and gently tap the chisel with the hammer to coax the tile off. Be careful not to slip with the chisel and damage adjacent tiles.

To clean all the old grout and adhesive off the surface below where the tile was, I recommend using a wood chisel or a thin-bladed putty knife. Be especially careful if you are removing adhesive from a wall. The solid surface underneath is probably drywall, plaster, green board or cement board. If you gouge or otherwise damage any of these kinds of surfaces, you will need to fill any holes with an appropriate patching compound before continuing.

Before replacing the tile, make sure the area is clean, dry, smooth and dust-free. Spread ceramic tile mastic on the back of the new tile with a putty knife or notched spreader. Press the tile in place firmly, checking to be sure it is flush with the surrounding tiles. Let it cure according to the manufacturer’s directions. For more information please visit discount Inalco ceramic tile store.

When the adhesive has dried, apply grout to the joints. Since it is such a small area, you can use your fingers, but make sure to wear work gloves.

Press the grout into the grout lines until the grout is flush with the tiles. Let is set about 15 minutes, then wipe diagonally across the tiles with a clean, damp sponge to remove any excess grout.

Let the grout dry for at least 12 hours before using a soft, dry cloth to buff away any remaining powdering grout residue.

CHeck the directions for the grout you purchased. Some need to be resealed after 48 to 72 hours.

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