So, you have a cracked tile eh? Don’t panic. This is something that you can easily deal with. All you have to do is to read this guide and follow it. We got you covered.
WARNING: For a fully successful DIY experience, we highly suggest that you read the whole article first before even beginning the activity. It’s best that you have a full understanding of the whole process before following the instructions step-by-step. Knowing what to look for and what to prepare is best when it comes to replacing cracked tiles. If you’ve read the full article and you feel that it’s something that you can’t confidently handle, then it’s also perfectly fine to relax, let go, and simply contact a shower tile repair company that can easily do everything for you.
Before beginning, we’d inform you first on the many things that could go wrong while one replaces a cracked or broken tile. Ensure that you avoid the following at all costs:
1. Tile won’t come off
You may encounter a problem where the broken tile won’t seem to come off. This is tricky as you may have to remove the underlying shower wall. Without the shower wall, there will be nothing to attach your tile upon. In such a scenario, you will need to cut into the adjacent wall and just repair the hole right after.
2. Additional tiles were broken
This only happens if you won’t be careful in replacing the broken tile. Should not cause any panic though as you could simply replace the newly broken ones. To avoid this, just make sure that you’re extra careful.
3. Small hairline cracks
You may create small hairline cracks upon installation. This should not cause any panic as it is but a cosmetic issue. So long as it’s thin and it doesn’t allow water to get through, you’re good. PRO TIP: Use silicone caulk on the hairline to ensure no water truly gets through.
Step-by-step Guide on Replacing a Cracked or Broken Shower Tile
1. Remove the old tile
Note that this is the hardest and trickiest process. Once you’re done with this part, you can safely claim that you’re out of the woods. This part is tricky because sometimes, broken tiles just won’t come off. If you’re one of the lucky ones where the broken tile just simply came off, then congratulations!
Step 1: Remove the surrounding grout on the broken or cracked tile.
Step 2: Use a chisel and a hammer to carefully chip the broken tile into small pieces.
Step 3: Remove the small pieces of tile.
Step 4: Scrape the area where the broken tile was attached. Do not scrape away the entire thinset. Just scrape the high spots.
2. Attach replacement tile
Step 1: Ensure that all broken tiles are removed in the area where you will place your replacement tile.
Step 2: Measure the area. You need to make sure that your replacement tile will exactly fit in your desired area.
Step 3: If the tile is too big, you will need to adjust its size by cutting through it.
Step 4: Check the height. Check if your replacement tile will be of the same height as the old tiles surrounding it. It should not sit too low or too high when compared to the old ones. PRO TIP: Don’t use a thick layer of thinset as such can easily cause your replacement tile to rise above the surrounding tiles.
To avoid having tricky situations by using a thinset, you may opt to use a 100% polyurethane adhesive. The advantages of using a 100% polyurethane adhesive are as follows:
- thinner consistency if be compared to regular thinset
- extremely strong bond
- bonds with all kinds of tiles
- bonds with all kinds of wallboards
- will bond with any kind of surface
If you’re going to use a 100% polyurethane adhesive, you should use a caulking gun in applying it. Even if it is thinner than a regular thinset, you should still be careful in applying it. You should still spread it thinly to ensure that it does not create bulk. If your replacement tile sits too low, you can simply choose to add more polyurethane adhesive. Only add a few until the tile reaches the right level.
3. Apply grout.
Step 1: Wait for your replacement tile to set for at least three hours.
Step 2: After waiting for the tile to set, only then should you apply the grout.
PRO TIP: It’s best to accept as early as now that it will be tricky to find a grout that is identical to your current grout. Nonetheless, you should still endeavor to look for one that closely matches your current grout. This will not be a problem for you if you took note of the grout that was used during the initial installation. A matching grout is ideal because it will allow your replacement tile to truly blend with your existing tiles.
4. Allow grout to set and dry for at least 72 hours.
Step 1: Wait for 72 hours for the grout to set.
Step 2: Seal the grout.
Step 3: If necessary, you should recaulk.
Step 4: Wait for the caulk to dry.
Step 5: You may use your newly repaired shower once the caulk is fully dried.