How to repair tile

How to repair tile

04 Mar Can cracked roof tiles be repaired or do they need replacing?

Cracked roof tiles ideally need to be replaced on a like-for-like basis to maintain the weatherproofing of the roof and its appearance.

However as a short term solution where you do not have access to a fresh tile, you can repair the cracked tile with roofing cement or silicone caulking. This is only a temporary solution though and you really should have the cracked tile replaced as soon as possible.

Replacing roof tiles is thankfully a simple enough job. However if you are not used to working at height, then you should definitely ask a roofer to carry out the repair for you.

We carry out hundreds of tile replacements in the Leeds area every year and generally speaking this is a twenty minute job for a job professional. However care has to be taken to ensure a safe working platform and ideally, the tile replacement needs to be made when the weather is dry.

Most roofs nowadays are constructed from interlocking tiles and these are usually made from concrete. The sides of the tiles interlock creating a watertight joint. Concrete tiles are hardwearing which is why they are very popular. Sudden changes in temperature however have been known to damage concrete tiles and over time as the concrete degrades, minor splits can occur which can grow into larger cracks. A cracked roof tile is not a watertight one so it’s always best practice to replace the broken tile with a new one.

Another common tile on roofs are plain tiles. These do not interlock and instead they are overlapped twice like a traditional roofing slate. This makes them watertight. As with the interlocking type mentioned above, most plain tiles are made from concrete however clay tiles are not uncommon. Plain tiles are very common on Victorian properties, although back then plain tiles were usually made from slate, or specifically Welsh slate. To make a repair to a plain-tiled roof, you first need to ascertain what material the tiles are made from.

In terms of sourcing tiles, any competent roofer will be able to source a suitable replacement. If you live in an older property or a listed building, it may even be possible to find a tile from the same period from a reclamation yard.

If you live in the Leeds area and you need a tile or a couple of tiles replacing, give us a call on 0113 293 4038 to speak with a member of our friendly roofing team.

October 31, 2020

Expert advice on how to repair tile and masonry roofs, including fixing holes and cracks, and tips for replacing broken roof tiles.

The most common problem with tile, concrete tile, fiber cement, and other types of masonry roofing is cracking. For anything but an occasional cracked or broken tile, hire a roofer.

Small Cracks or Holes

Small cracks and holes can be repaired by filling the defect with plastic roofing cement.

1 Scrub the area with a wire brush.

2 Fill the area with plastic roofing cement to seal or join the crack.

Cracked or Broken Roof Tile

If a roof tile is cracked or broken and can be repaired as discussed above, you’ll need to replace the tile.

1 Carefully pry up the tile (or tiles) just above the cracked or broken one.

2 Break the faulty tile, and remove the pieces. Also pry or force out any nails.

3 Spread a small amount of roofing cement along the underside of the replacement, and slide it into place. Adhesive, rather than nails, will hold this tile. How to repair tileIf a tile roof leaks, you’ll need to remove the tile over the leak, repair the area with asphalt roofing cement, and replace the tile.

4 Press all tiles down gently but snugly.

Tile Roof Leaks

If a tile roof leaks, the problem is almost always with the membrane beneath the tile. In order to repair this, you’ll first have to find the area that is leaking. How to repair tileBeneath tile roofing, 30-pound roofing felt on a plywood deck sheds the water. ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

For information on this, please see How to Find & Fix Roof Leaks. Then you’ll need to take-up the tile around the leak, patch the leak with roofing cement, and replace the tiles.

Call for free estimates from roofing pros now:

How to repair tile

Tiles are a popular choice for flooring, especially in restrooms and kitchens. They’re durable, long-lasting, easy to clean, and waterproof. Although tiles are strong, eventually they’ll wear out, crack, or become loose. It’s best to handle these problems right away before it causes any further issues, such as water seeping beneath a cracked tile and growing mold.

Whether you’re new to flooring or experienced and interested in learning more, this article will help you understand what makes tiles loosen, how to fix loose floor tiles, and even how to handle broken tiles. With this information and the proper tools, you should be able to fix your own loose or broken floor tiles yourself instead of having to pay someone else to do it.

What Makes Floor Tiles Loose and Crack?

There are many reasons why your floor tiles become loose. Here are a few of the most common reasons:

House Movement

As any house settles over time, the foundation can shift and walls can move a little too. Usually, when tiles are installed, a small perimeter is left between the wall and the tile to allow for the natural movement of the house. If no perimeter was laid or the house settles beyond the perimeter, it can cause tiles to loosen or crack.

Spot Bonding

One way of laying tile flooring is to place a dot of adhesive on each corner and one in the center of the underside of the tile before pressing the tile into place. This method allows too much room for gaps between the tile and the surface beneath it and can allow tiles to become loose.

Temperature Changes

Like most things, tiles expand in heat and contract in cold. It’s a minor and unnoticeable change in size, but when you multiply it by a large number of tiles, that’s a lot of shifting and changing over and over. It makes sense that thermal changes can lead to loosening or cracking tiles.

Surface Differences

A large difference between the surface beneath the tiles and the tile material itself can lead to faster loosing or cracking of tiles. For example, concrete can move and expand at different rates than tile. Make sure the material of the tiles you’re using is compatible with the surface that will be beneath it.

Adhesive Type

If the adhesive used to bind the tile to the floor underneath isn’t strong enough, the tiles will loosen more quickly. It’s inevitable for most adhesives to weaken over time, though, so even a high-quality adhesive can eventually lead to loose tiles. If the adhesive is too thick, especially when using the spot-bonding method described above, it allows for too much space between the tile and the floor beneath. If the adhesive is too thin, it won’t be strong enough to bind the tiles to the surface beneath for very long.

How to Handle a Broken Tile?

A tile is kind of like Humpty Dumpty – once it’s broken, it can’t (or at least shouldn’t) be put back together again. Don’t waste your time or resources trying to bind a broken tile back together. It doesn’t look pretty and it will likely cause greater issues down the road. For example, if you miss even a small gap while repairing the crack in a tile, you can allow water and air to seep beneath it and cause mold or for the tile to just crack again soon. Do yourself a favor and replace, rather than repair, a broken tile.

One thing to note when replacing a broken tile is that you must take special care not to break the surrounding tiles. This may mean that instead of trying to pull up the whole tile in one or two big chunks, you may need to break the tile down into smaller chunks for easier removal.

First, cut the grout around the broken tile. Then try to lift up the broken tile, or if necessary, break it into a few pieces using a hammer or a drill. Be careful not to drill past the tile into the surface underneath. Then, vacuum up and clean away any debris so you can proceed to the next step, replacing the tile.

How to Fix Loose Floor Tiles?

  1. Cut the grout around the tile you want to remove and use a chisel or other tool to gently pry it off the floor.
  2. Now take either a new tile or, if you’re going to reuse the same tile (in case it’s unbroken), scrape all the adhesive off the tile and the floor beneath it and vacuum any debris.
  3. Reapply new adhesive to the new tile and to the floor, set the tile in place, and press it down evenly until it’s level with the surrounding tiles.
  4. Grout the area around the tile. After the adhesive has dried (this may take up to 24 hours), your floor should look as good as new!

If your tile is broken, your best bet is to remove that tile and replace it. As noted above, be sure not to damage the surrounding tiles.

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why tiles crack or loosen, including natural house movement, temperature changes, old or improper adhesive, bad adhesive methods, and incompatibility between the tile and the floor beneath it. Luckily, you don’t have to be a home improvement expert to take care of your own tile flooring as it fairly easy and inexpensive to pull up and relay an unbroken loose tile or replace a cracked tile yourself.

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How to repair tile

Floor tile maintenance is important if you hope to keep your floor in good shape. In some cases, scratched tiles have to be replaced; however, you may be able to repair the damage sometimes. It is almost impossible to avoid scratches from appearing on tiles in a regular household. Shoe heels, pet claws and children’s toys may leave scratches at some time or another. There’s a simple method you can use to repair scratches.

Step 1 – Identify Tiles

A scratched ceramic tile shows up easily. It shouldn’t be too hard to identify the tile in need of repair. It is a good idea to examine your floor carefully to identify all incidences of scratches. This way, you can undertake repair once rather than in subsequent stages. A well maintained ceramic floor makes the room attractive and pleasant to be in.

Step 2 – Mark the Tiles

Once you’ve identified all the scratched tiles, mark them with a piece of chalk. It’s best to use chalk as it can be easily wiped away when you’re done.

Step 3 – Clean the Scratch

Fill the basin with warm water halfway. Add dishwashing liquid. Mix well to evenly distribute the soap in the water. Dip a sponge in the mixture and work on the scratch. Be sure to clean through the entire length of the scratch. This will eliminate all dirt and small particles from the area. Wipe the scratch dry with a soft cloth when you finish.

Step 4 – Apply Brass Polisher

Put a small amount of brass polisher on a clean, soft cloth. Alternatively, you may use toothpaste or vinegar. Rub the product into the scratch and all the edges. It is best to use small, circular motions. After a while the scratch should no longer be visible.

Step 5 – Apply Car Wax

Use a soft cloth to apply some car wax over the scratch. This will help seal the area.

Step 6 – Clean Chalk Marks

Use a damp cloth to wipe away the markings earlier made. Once repaired and cleaned, your ceramic floor should look as good as when first installed.

Examine the extent of damage caused by the scratch. If the damage goes beyond the surface color glaze, it is best to replace a scratched floor tile. Always buy enough tiles to keep some as extra when you install your floor. They will come in handy should replacement needs arise. It is difficult to get the exact match to your existing tiles when you purchase much later after installation.

Mistakes to Avoid

It is not a good idea to use sharp objects when dealing with a scratched floor tile. Avoid abrasives, tough scouring pads, and other rough materials. They will add to the damage. Do not try and clear the scratch before cleaning the area. If you proceed to apply any of the suggested materials without cleaning, surface color may be disrupted. The dirt will mix with the scratch clearing agent to give you a smudged appearance.

Tiles or grout on a tile patio table can cracked due to many factors, such as direct impact, extreme temperature, etc. Although the entire tiled top can be removed, it is more economical to repair specific parts that are damaged. If the table has other structural damage, refer to general table repair guides.

Step 1 – Spot Damaged Tiles and Grout

Inspect every tile and grout joint, to see which parts need to be repaired. If the grout lines are cracked, the tiles do not need to be removed. A simple re-grouting can do the trick. If some of the tiles are damaged, prepare replacement tiles, so that these damaged ones can be replaced. When purchasing replacements, find those that are an exact match, or at least the nearest possible color, pattern and texture.

Step 2 – Replace Damaged Grout

When the damage only involves the grout on the joints, use a grout saw to remove the cracked top layer. Be careful not to saw too deep. Just remove the damaged portion and leave the inner grout intact. Remove the residue from joints to prepare for re-grouting.

Mix new grout in a container accordingly. Apply it to the joints using a rubber float, and let it set for about 20 minutes. Clean the surfaces of the tiles with a damp sponge, and let the grout cure for 48 hours. Apply grout sealer to the grout lines, to protect them from liquids and other contaminants. Use a small, artist’s brush when applying sealer. When grout sealer touches the tiles, wipe it with a damp cloth.

Step 3 – Remove Damaged Tiles

Wear protective gloves and safety goggles before working. Use a small sharp chisel and a light hammer for this purpose. Position the sharp edge of the chisel on the grout around the tile, and lightly tap it with the hammer to break the tile free. Cut the grout around the edges along the tile perimeter, until the tile can be removed easily. Extract the tile and clean the adhesive with a putty knife, scraper or sandpaper. Before installing the replacement, make sure the entire cavity is free from grout, adhesive, and other debris.

Step 4 – Install Replacement Tiles

Fit the replacement tile into the vacated cavity to check if it fits. Cut the tile accordingly, until it can fit through the hole perfectly, with enough space for grouting. Apply adhesive on the base of the cavity according to manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the adhesive at the underside of the tile as well. Place the tile into the cavity, and let the adhesive cure for about 6 hours or so.

When the tile adhesive has cured, prepare some grout. Use a rubber float to apply the grout around every replacement tile. After about 20 minutes, clean the excess grout on the surfaces of the tiles using a damp sponge. After 48 hours, apply grout sealer onto every grout surface, to ensure that it is impervious to moisture and other contaminants.

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How to Repair Chipped Tile TIPS

DEAR TIM: I dropped a glass on our new tile and put a chip in one of the tiles. The chipped tile is part way under the refrigerator and we don’t want to put in a new tile.

The inside of the tile is very dark, but the top glazed surface on all of the other tile is a white/tan color. Is there anyway we can fill the chipped place and do some kind of repair job? Ann A., Estero, FL

DEAR ANN: It’s absolutely possible to repair this chipped tile.

If you’re patient and have some decent hand-eye coordination, you can very possibly accomplish a repair that will fool everyone unless you draw their attention to the exact spot of the accident.

The first step is to gather the needed materials for the job. You’ll need the following:

  • Stain Solver oxygen bleach
  • primer/sealer paint
  • high gloss oil paint
  • two-part clear epoxy

CLICK HERE to get a wonderful primer / sealer that’s easy to use and dries fast.

This clear primer sealer is perfect to seal the absorbent inner core of the chipped tile. CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO ORDER SOME.

You’ll get the finish paint at a top-quality local paint store. Your challenge will be to get a great color match. This may take a few attempts.

Hopefully you have a piece of spare tile you can take with you to the paint store. If not, you’ll have to use the color chip samples and get as close as possible.

I use this brand of clear epoxy all the time. It’s a great product and will work well on your chipped tile. CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO ORDER IT.

Stain Solver is MADE in the USA with USA ingredients that are food-grade quality. CLICK THE IMAGE to order some NOW.

I prefer to use Stain Solver to clean tile and grout. It’s a deep cleaner that’s certified organic.

You mix Stain Solver with warm tap water and stir. Apply some of the solution to the chipped area of the tile and allow it to soak.

After 15 minutes, scrub the tile and chipped area and rinse. Use a hair dryer for several minutes to ensure the tile is completely dry.

Even when you think it is dry, continue to blow warm air over the chipped area for 15 minutes. The exposed tile can soak up lots of water and it may take a while to wick out all of the moisture from the tile. It’s best to wait 24 hours before proceeding.

You need the tile and chipped area perfectly clean so the next materials bond permanently to the tile.

Seal Porous Tile

Once the tile is dry, use a very small brush and carefully apply some of the primer/sealer to just the chipped area of the tile. Don’t get any on the upper glazed surface immediately adjacent to the chipped depression.

Don’t apply so much that you end up with a puddle of paint in the chipped area.

The primer / sealer is going to allow you to make sure you get a perfect color match with the glossy paint you’ll be using.

Wait an hour and then apply a coat of finish paint in the same manner as you applied the primer/sealer. Once again do not get any on the glazed surface of the tile and don’t apply any excess paint so it puddles in the chipped area.

The purpose of this step is to see if you’ve got a perfect color match. You don’t want to discover at the final step the paint doesn’t match.

Wait for the paint to dry and check the color against the adjacent tile that’s not chipped.

Be sure to check the color in different light, both night and day. If the color is off, do what you need to do to get the paint to match.

Once you have a great color match it’s time to install the epoxy. The epoxy is going to be built up so the depression created by the chip is filled in.

Carefully squirt out equal amounts of each part of the epoxy onto a scrap of cardboard and mix it very well. I prefer to use a toothpick for this task. Be sure the chipped tile area is lighted very well so that you can see what you’re doing.

Tile Repair Video

I taped this video a few years before refined my method of repairing chipped tiles. That means what you see in the video will not match exactly what you read here. Follow the steps you read here for perfection, but still watch the video.

The video shows you how to use the Stain Solver and how easy it is to use the clear epoxy. It’s worth watching.

Apply the epoxy with the tip of a toothpick being very careful to only get it in the chipped area. Carefully dab a small amount of epoxy at a time and add just enough so the top of the epoxy is level with the top of the tile. It usually takes an hour for the epoxy to fully set.

You may need to apply two layers of epoxy to get the surface to match the adjacent tile. You can apply the second layer in just 30 minutes.

Allow the epoxy to set for about eight hours. Paint the epoxy patch and sit back and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

How to repair tile

I have a gorgeous white tile floor in my home. It’s a long story, but I dropped something and chipped a tile. I tried to hide it with a throw rug, but my wife caught me. To get out of the doghouse, I need to repair the tile. Do I have to take out the old tile and replace it with a new one? I would think matching the grout would be very hard to do. Is there another way to repair the chipped tile that will work and get me back into the good graces of my better half?Andrew V., Perth, Australia

I’m reminded of the time 40 years ago when I ruined some brand new ceramic tile in the kitchen of my second home. It was one-of-a-kind hand-painted backsplash tile near a sink that I sprayed with molten copper and steel. I need not go into the details about how that happened, but suffice it to say my better half was standing next to me just before the foolish accident and had asked me if I knew what I was doing. The sparks, smoke and molten splatter told her all she needed to know.

Here’s the good news. You’re going to be able to repair the chipped ceramic tile in less than a day. You do have options with respect to how to accomplish the task. I recommend you also buy a box of fine chocolates to supplement your peace offering.

Let’s discuss the option of replacing the chipped tile. Sometimes you have to do that because the chip is so big that you may not have the skill set to repair it using the second method I’ll describe.

If you decide to remove a ceramic floor tile, first make sure you have an exact match of the tile. Most people don’t keep leftover tile at their homes. I feel that builders and remodelers should always leave behind spare tile, in the boxes it came in. Homeowners should keep the tile and hand it off to future owners when they sell the home.

In addition to saving the spare tile, it would be great if you had some of the original sanded grout. It’s harder to preserve sanded grout because the Portland cement in the product wants to harden as it’s exposed to humid air. To preserve it, you need to place it in a tightly sealed container and freeze it. The air inside most freezers is exceptionally dry.

If you don’t have any spare grout, then you have to match it. If you don’t get a perfect match, the new grout line surrounding the replaced tile will look worse than the current chip! If you do decide to replace the tile, then you need to deep clean the tile and grout first and allow the grout to dry so you can see its true color. I recommend using certified organic oxygen bleach to clean tile grout.

The photograph you sent me is excellent. The chip appears to be the size of a green pea or pencil eraser. I’ve repaired many chips like this in less than four hours. You’re going to do the same.

First, make sure the chipped area is clean and free of all dirt, dust, oil, etc. Once it’s clean, you’re going to mix up some rapid-set clear or white epoxy. The epoxy I use sets up in about five minutes after it’s mixed.

I’ve had great success with a product that’s the consistency of honey when it’s mixed. It’s self-leveling and works great in the field area of a tile. You add just enough epoxy so it flows and is the same level as the surrounding glazed finish.

In your case, you’re going to have to work a little harder because your chip is on the edge adjacent to the sanded grout. This area of the tile often has a slightly rounded profile, and you don’t want the epoxy to run down onto the grout. You’ll have to add the epoxy in at least two applications and build up layers over a period of 30 minutes.

Once you get the epoxy placed and the chip is filled to the right height and profile, you paint the epoxy with a matching paint. You’ll use a fine artist brush so you don’t get any paint on the adjacent tile or grout. Put on at least two coats. Once the paint is cured — this could take several days — then you coat the paint with three coats of water-based clear urethane.

Updated: April 2021

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For a basic project in zip code 47474 with 1 repair, the cost to Repair Tile starts at $173 – $383 per repair. Actual costs will depend on job size, conditions, and options.

To estimate costs for your project:

1. Set Project Zip Code Enter the Zip Code for the location where labor is hired and materials purchased.

2. Specify Project Size and Options Enter the number of “items” required for the project.

3. Re-calculate Click the “Update” button.

Unit Costs: How Pros Price

Unlike websites which blend pricing from dissimilar jobs, Homewyse creates custom estimates from Unit Costs. The Unit Cost method is based on job specific detail and current costs. Contracting, trade, design and maintenance businesses rely on the Unit Cost method for transparency, accuracy and fair profits.

Cost to Repair Tile – Notes and General Information

These estimates are for BASIC work performed in serviceable conditions by qualified trade professionals using MID GRADE materials. Work not mentioned on this page and/or work using master craftsman, premium materials and project supervision will result in HIGHER COSTS!

These estimates are NOT substitutes for written quotes from trade professionals. Homewyse strongly recommends that you contact reputable professionals for accurate assessments of work required and costs for your project – before making any decisions or commitments.

The cost estimate includes:

  • Costs for local material / equipment delivery to and service provider transportation to and from the job site.
  • Costs to prepare the worksite for Tile Repair, including costs to protect existing structure(s), finishes, materials and components.
  • Labor setup time, mobilization time and minimum hourly charges that are commonly included for small Tile Repair jobs.

The cost estimate does NOT include:

  • Costs for removing, relocating, repairing, or modifying existing framing, surfacing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems – or bringing those systems into compliance with current building codes.
  • Costs for testing and remediation of hazardous materials (asbestos, lead, etc).
  • General contractor overhead and markup for organizing and supervising the Tile Repair. Add 13% to 22% to the total cost above if a general contractor will supervise this project.
  • Sales tax on materials and supplies.
  • Permit or inspection fees (or portion thereof) required by your local building department for your overall project.

References – Tile Repair

  • Product and Supplies Data: Menards Tile, Stone and Supplies Menards, Apr 2021, Website
  • Product and Supplies Data: Home Depot Tile, Stone and Supplies Home Depot, Apr 2021, Website
  • Product and Supplies Data: BuildDirect Tile, Stone and Supplies BuildDirect, Apr 2021, Website
  • Product and Supplies Data: Tile, Stone and Supplies, Apr 2021, Website
  • The HUD PATH Rehab Guide Volume 2: Exterior Walls U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research, Mar 2011, Editorial Staff
  • The Building Estimator’s Reference Book , Mar 2012,
  • Home Improvement 1-2-3: Expert Advice from The Home Depot Homer, TLC, Apr 2021, Editorial Staff, ISBN 696213273
  • Stone: Designing Kitchens, Baths and Interiors with Natural Stone Stewart, Tabori and Chang, Oct 2003, Heather Adams, ISBN 1584792906

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