Rosie on the House: DIY tile and grout repair | Out

A chipped tile can be a tripping hazard and you could cut your foot on the sharp edges. Chipped and broken tiles need to be repaired. Dirty and crumbled grout can make your home look unkempt.

Here’s how to fix both.

A cracked tile floor can indicate a cracked concrete floor that has been wired through the tile. Telegraphic means that the floor takes on all imperfections, protrusions or undulations in the subsoil (foundation). This is often the result of poor installation and maintenance.

There are several ways to deal with telegraphy. The best way is to remove all the cracked tiles plus an extra row on each side of the cracked tiles. Clean the concrete floor completely so that the crack under the tile becomes visible. Most professional flooring wholesalers and retailers will have a floating bitumen membrane (usually 6″-8″ wide, sometimes 12″ wide) that you apply over the top of the crack. It serves as a cushion and shock absorber between the tile and the crack itself. Then simply re-spread the thinset mastic and pass the tile and grout as usual. This process, called slipsheeting, has a much better success rate in solving the cracked tile problem than other options you might try.



First clean the old grout so that you can make the best match with the new grout.




If you have chipped tiles, any good epoxy adhesive product can repair ceramic or Saltillo tiles (if you still have the chipped piece). However, it can be difficult to refinish the surface to match the original tile. You can try using a similar color of car paint to make the stain disappear.

If you need to replace tiles and don’t have extras from the original installation, and it’s been many years since it was installed, you may have trouble finding a perfect match. Once you have selected the correct color and texture (or match it as closely as possible), make sure it is the same size as the one being replaced. Buy extra tiles so that if other tiles on the road break, you have the best match with the tiles you just replaced.

Tools needed for tile removal and replacement:

1. Remove the irreparable tile by cutting the grout around it with a utility knife or hand grout saw.

2. Carefully cut the tile by placing the cold chisel in the crack. Hit it with the hammer until the cold chisel can crawl under the tile. Take care not to damage the surrounding tiles and joints.

3. Remove any adhesive residue on the floor with a damp sponge.

4. Thoroughly clean the area and ensure all adhesive and tile residue is removed.

5. If the tile cracks because the foundation is cracked, apply the floating bitumen membrane first. Then liberally apply the tile adhesive to the area where the new tile will be installed. Spread it evenly with the flat side of the trowel. Then use the notched side to make grooves in the glue.

6. Place the new tile on the surface, making sure it is flush with the rest of the floor.

7. Remove excess adhesive from the tile and surrounding area. Let it dry for a few hours.

Now it’s time to grout the tile in place.

There are three main types of grout.

Unsanded / non-sanded joint

Made from mixing cement, water and non-sand particles, it is used in grout lines less than an inch wide. Because it contains no abrasive particles, this type of grout is excellent for natural stone such as polished marble and ceramic tiles on shower floors and walls.

A cement-based mortar ideal for grout lines larger than one-eighth inch, it’s great for ceramic and stone tiles. Because it is absorbent and can attract dirt; it must be sealed.

Strong, durable and versatile epoxy grout is made by combining epoxy resins and hardeners. Impermeable to liquids and moisture, it is likely used for splashbacks, kitchen floors and bathrooms. We love it because it doesn’t need to be sealed, but because it’s epoxy based it’s a pain to use.

To find a grout that matches what is currently in place, start by thoroughly cleaning the grout around the nearby tiles with an oxygen bleach powder mixed with water. Grout samples are available at flooring stores. Match the steel to the existing joint and buy more than necessary. This way you already have it at hand if you later need to replace grout in other places.

1. Follow the grout manufacturer’s instructions to mix the grout.

2. Insert the tile into the floor using the rubber float. Apply the joint diagonally in the cracks.

3. Drag the round handle along the new grout lines for a clean, finished look.

Weekly sweeping and mopping, regular tile and grout inspections, and re-sealing will keep your floor in good condition for a long time to come.

For more DIY tips, visit rosieonthehouse.com. Rosie Romero has been an expert in home building and remodeling in Arizona for 35 years and is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix; KGVY (1080AM 100.7FM); 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Tucson and KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.

A chipped tile can be a tripping hazard and you could cut your foot on the sharp edges. Chipped and broken tiles need to be repaired. Dirty and crumbled grout can make your home look unkempt.

Here’s how to fix both.

A cracked tile floor can indicate a cracked concrete floor that has been wired through the tile. Telegraphic means that the floor takes on all imperfections, protrusions or undulations in the subsoil (foundation). This is often the result of poor installation and maintenance.

There are several ways to deal with telegraphy. The best way is to remove all the cracked tiles plus an extra row on each side of the cracked tiles. Clean the concrete floor completely so that the crack under the tile becomes visible. Most professional flooring wholesalers and retailers will have a floating bitumen membrane (usually 6″-8″ wide, sometimes 12″ wide) that you apply over the top of the crack. It serves as a cushion and shock absorber between the tile and the crack itself. Then simply re-spread the thinset mastic and pass the tile and grout as usual. This process, called slipsheeting, has a much better success rate in solving the cracked tile problem than other options you might try.

If you have chipped tiles, any good epoxy adhesive product can repair ceramic or Saltillo tiles (if you still have the chipped piece). However, it can be difficult to refinish the surface to match the original tile. You can try using a similar color of car paint to make the stain disappear.

If you need to replace tiles and don’t have extras from the original installation, and it’s been many years since it was installed, you may have trouble finding a perfect match. Once you have selected the correct color and texture (or match it as closely as possible), make sure it is the same size as the one being replaced. Buy extra tiles so that if other tiles on the road break, you have the best match with the tiles you just replaced.

Tools needed for tile removal and replacement:

• tile

• knife

• hand joint saw

• cold chisel

• hammer

• eye protection

• work gloves

• sponge

• clean cloth

• floor glue

• rubber float

• bucket

• level

• water

• grout

1. Remove the irreparable tile by cutting the grout around it with a utility knife or hand grout saw.

2. Carefully cut the tile by placing the cold chisel in the crack. Hit it with the hammer until the cold chisel can crawl under the tile. Take care not to damage the surrounding tiles and joints.

3. Remove any adhesive residue on the floor with a damp sponge.

4. Thoroughly clean the area and ensure all adhesive and tile residue is removed.

5. If the tile cracks because the foundation is cracked, apply the floating bitumen membrane first. Then liberally apply the tile adhesive to the area where the new tile will be installed. Spread it evenly with the flat side of the trowel. Then use the notched side to make grooves in the glue.

6. Place the new tile on the surface, making sure it is flush with the rest of the floor.

7. Remove excess adhesive from the tile and surrounding area. Let it dry for a few hours.

Now it’s time to grout the tile in place.

There are three main types of grout.

Unsanded / non-sanded joint

Made from mixing cement, water and non-sand particles, it is used in grout lines less than an inch wide. Because it contains no abrasive particles, this type of grout is excellent for natural stone such as polished marble and ceramic tiles on shower floors and walls.

sanded joint

A cement-based mortar ideal for grout lines larger than one-eighth inch, it’s great for ceramic and stone tiles. Because it is absorbent and can attract dirt; it must be sealed.

epoxy mortar

Strong, durable and versatile epoxy grout is made by combining epoxy resins and hardeners. Impermeable to liquids and moisture, it is likely used for splashbacks, kitchen floors and bathrooms. We love it because it doesn’t need to be sealed, but because it’s epoxy based it’s a pain to use.

To find a grout that matches what is currently in place, start by thoroughly cleaning the grout around the nearby tiles with an oxygen bleach powder mixed with water. Grout samples are available at flooring stores. Match the steel to the existing joint and buy more than necessary. This way you already have it at hand if you later need to replace grout in other places.

Let’s start adding.

1. Follow the grout manufacturer’s instructions to mix the grout.

2. Insert the tile into the floor using the rubber float. Apply the joint diagonally in the cracks.

3. Drag the round handle along the new grout lines for a clean, finished look.

4. After the repair is complete, clean the tile and seal the grout. Click here for more information about cleaning the tile and sealing the grout.

Weekly sweeping and mopping, regular tile and grout inspections, and re-sealing will keep your floor in good condition for a long time to come.

For more DIY tips, visit rosieonthehouse.com. Rosie Romero has been an expert in home building and remodeling in Arizona for 35 years and is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix; KGVY (1080AM 100.7FM); 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Tucson and KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.

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