How to Replace a Cracked Terrazzo Flooring Tile
I’m going to share with you how to replace a cracked tile. So if you’ve got porcelain or ceramic tiles in your kitchen, bathroom, or maybe in your utility room and one of them has come loose or it’s cracked or damaged, this article is going to walk you through how to replace that tile step by step.
I’ve got a lot of great tips for you. And you’re going to save yourself some money by DIY-ing this yourself. So let’s get to it. This tile is damaged and I need to remove it. But the first step is to remove all the grout that surrounds the perimeter of the tile. There are a multitude of tools that you can use to remove the grout.
Terrazzo Tile Replacement Tools Required
There are manual grout saws and You also have a carbide tip knife, that you can use to score the grout. But my ultimate favourite tool is an oscillating multi-tool by Bosch with a grout removal attachment on it. This is the number one way to remove grout. But if you can’t afford this or if you don’t have one, not a big deal.
It’s just going to take a little bit longer using these tools. Now before you remove a cracked tile, you’ve got to take some safety precautions. So protect your eyes with either goggles or safety glasses like these ones. Put on some gloves. And wear a long-sleeved shirt because when you smack a tile, shards of it go everywhere and anywhere, and the shards will cut your skin. So protect your skin.
And also protect your lungs by wearing a respirator like this one. Now I’m going to show you why I like oscillating multi-tools for removing grout. I almost forgot one more safety precaution, and that’s hearing protection. If you’re going to use an oscillating multi-tool, make sure you wear some hearing protection ’cause it gets loud fast.
When using the multi-tool it turns the grout into a fine powder. It does an awesome job of removing the grout. And if it gets too dusty, you can use a vacuum while you’re using the multi-tool. Or you can turn on the bathroom ventilation fan to help out with the dust. It took me about 5-7 minutes to remove all the grout around this tile using the oscillating multi-tool, and that’s why it’s so fantastic. Whatever tool you use, just be careful not to gouge any of the neighbouring tiles. What you need to do next is drill some pilot holes into the centre of the tile. You can use a 6mm carbide-tipped ceramic drill bit for this job. Now what I like to do is place some blue painter’s tape into the centre of the tile so that the drill bit can grip into the tape and go down through the glaze that is on the ceramic or porcelain tile.
I’m only drilling about 6mm down through the tile because the tile itself is only 6mm. You can take your hammer and you can take a chisel. Now in this case, this is a 3/8″ chisel. And what I’m going to do is pound it down into these holes and pry up the tile from the inside working my way to the outside perimeter. That way I’m not going to damage the surrounding tiles. So again, start in the holes that you just drilled. Oh, and leaving the blue tape on helps reduce the splintering of the tile. Once you get a big enough hole, you can switch from the smaller chisel to a larger chisel. Now the other thing that I wanted to tell you about is you know you’ve gone deep enough when you start to see ridge marks in the substrate.
The ridge marks are from the thin set mortar that was used to adhere the tile to the substrate. So that’s when you know you’ve gone far enough and you don’t need to go any deeper. And if you really want the process to be a lot faster, you can go with a larger chisel. And this will help really chip into the tile and remove huge chunks of it. Old thin set on top of cement board or whatever back or substrate you have needs to be removed. Otherwise, your tile won’t sit even with the surrounding tiles.
So you can either chisel it out using a hammer and chisel, or you can try to use the opposite end of your hammer to pry if off. I’m going to be frank with you. Trying to get the mortar out is a real pain in the you-know-what. But you can do it, and once you get to the point whereby you think you’re ready, you should dry-fit the tile after vacuuming into the space and making good.
You need to take one extra step. Use a level. So place the level on the tile and make sure that the tile itself is quite level and just slightly depressed such that it’s lower than the adjacent tiles because when you go to put the thin set mortar on below the tile, it’s going to raise the tile up just a slight bit. So you always want the new tile to be slightly lower than the surrounding tiles. Now I can apply some mortar to the base that we’re going to put the tile on. Unfortunately, you might dig out some divots in the cement board. So no big deal here. I mean, obviously, you would prefer not to do this. But what you can do is put some mortar in its place and you should be good to go.
That will provide a nice substrate for the tile to rest on. So what I would do is mix up some mortar using a margin trowel. And you want the consistency to be pretty thick like so. It has to barely fall off the trowel. And what I’m going to do is place some of this mortar into the depressions that I made with my chisel. So I’m just going to replace the cement board that I broke apart. In an ideal world, I would let this mortar solidify. But because it’s a little bit tricky replacing a tile, I want to actually not do that. And I’m going to trowel some more thin set on using a 6mm x 6mm trowel. What that means is the space in between the notches is 6mm and the depth is 6mm. And I’m using this type of trowel because the tile I’m using is 6mm high or 6mm deep. So with your trowel at a 45° angle, you can move it across the bed and create these ridges.
The ridges should stand up on their own. That’s how you know that you’ve mixed your thin set the correct way. Now the other thing that you can do to ensure that your tile isn’t going anywhere is back-butter it. What this means is just simply applying a thin coat of the mortar to the back of the tile.
With the tile back-buttered and my mortar in place, I can set the tile. Once you have the tile set. You should remove any mortar that oozes up out of the grout joints because it is a real pain in the rear end to get it out once it dries. So you can use any kind of tool. You can use a screw driver. You could use anything you want to remove that mortar but make sure you get it out immediately after you set the tile.
Then you can use a paper towel to just get the rest of the mortar off the tile. And the last thing you should do is make sure all the corners of the new tile line up. And you can use tile spacers for this. Although in my case, I’m just going to eye it because I only have one tile to replace. But again make sure all four corners are lined up even with the other grout joints. After waiting about 2-3 hours for the thin set mortar to set up, now it’s time to add grout. And you want your grout to have the consistency of thick peanut butter or toothpaste. What I like to do is to scoop the grout onto the tile. Then you can use a rubber float to spread it into the joints. Oh and by the way, if you’re not sure what colour grout to use, you can take a sample of the existing grout to the tile or diy store and they have these little grout samples.
You can try to match it up based on the samples and always wear chemically resistant gloves when you’re spreading the grout ’cause it can dry out your hands. Now because this is only one tile, what I’m going to do is basically smoosh the grout into the grout line. And then, I’m going to move the grout float at a 45° angle across the grout line. And that will add the slight depression in the grout that I want and remove a good portion of it off the surface of the tile. If you want to completely get a nice clean sweep, you can hold the grout float at a 90° angle. Let the grout set up according to the directions on the bag—so anywhere from 15-20 minutes, typically.
You’ll develop a haze on the top of the tile, which you’ll then remove. Once the grout has set up, it’s time to use a sponge, to clean it up. So take a bucket of water. Dunk the sponge in. Wring it out. And wipe off the surface. And typically what I like to do is tool the grout lines so they’re a little bit concave with the grout sponge. And it’s super important to get all of the grout off the tile.
Otherwise, if it dries, it’s a mess ’cause obviously, grout hardens up pretty good. Do get the grout off any of the tile surface. And dry it off. After waiting about 60 minutes, what you should do is buff the surface of the tile. And what I like to use is a microfiber cloth. You may like something else a little bit better. But in my experience, microfiber cloths are awesome. And they do a great job of cleaning off glazed surfaces like this tile. And the final step is to add grout sealer to the grout. All right. That’s how you replace a cracked tile. It wasn’t that bad, right? And these skill sets will serve you well in your home ownership adventure, right? So saving yourself £50 here, £75 there, it adds up over 25 years, right? So if you got any questions about this particular project, please let me know in the comments. Id’ be more than happy to help you out.
As found on Youtube