Once you have your new entry or bathroom ceramic tile installation project done, the most important next step is to make sure you have at least one or two spare tiles. These tiles are crucial if you will ever be able to make a repair in the future.
Cracked ceramic tiles generally occur when the subfloor is slightly uneven or if an unequal amount of mortar has been applied in the installation process. In either case there is a void below the tile which may not be a problem for years until there is a significant temperature change or a very heavy load is placed on the tile. When this happens you’ll see a hairline crack in the tile which will grow larger over time.
To replace this tile like a pro you’ll need to follow these steps. With a small hammer (and while wearing eye protection) break up the broken tile, taking care to not damage the surrounding tiles. You will also need a small putty knife to remove all the tile pieces. The next step is to scrape away all the remaining mortar that below the tile. You’ll want to have the floor as smooth as possible before you install the new tile. Next, vacuum the area to get all the dust and debris removed.
Now comes the installation. There are two approaches you can follow to set the new tile in place. For bathrooms or other wet areas the tile can be set in silicone caulk, but in general the tile should be installed just as the original tile was – by setting it in mortar. No matter which method you use make sure you apply the adhesive at about ¼” thickness, in rows with ¼” gaps. This will allow the tile to set evenly. Once the tile is in place (with an even gap on all sides), allow it to adhere for at least 24 hours. After that, apply grout in the same color as the original and you’re done.
Following these tips you’ll have a professional installation that will last for years to come.
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