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How to Fix Broken Wall Tile and How to Regrout (page 1 of 2)

Learn how to repair common wall tile problems such as replacing a broken tile, regrouting tile and how to fix a damaged shower cubicle.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Step-by-Step Instructions For:

Replacing a Broken Tile

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You will want to replace broken or cracked tiles to maintain the appearance of a room. It is also important to replace them because damaged tiles can lead to leaks in the room, which can damage walls and floors, and may lead to mold problems and eventually structural damage.

Use a grout raker to remove the grout from around the edge of the broken tile (Image 1). Check for electricity or water supplies using a detector.

Weaken the tile surface further by drilling a number of holes through it (Image 2).

Use a club hammer and chisel to remove sections of the broken tile. Be sure to wear gloves and protective goggles (Image 3). Apply tile adhesive to the back of a tile using an adhesive spreader (Image 4).

Position the tile, checking that it sits flush. Use spacers to maintain grout gaps. When dry, remove the spacers and grout the joints (Image 5).

Reusing Broken Tiles
Before you dispose of the pieces of tile from your repair job, consider a few other options. Broken tile can be used for decorative mosaic elements in your home. Mosaic patterns can enhance flower pots, picture frames, and be used as part of a unique flooring design. If you are planning to have potted plants, broken tiles can be used as a bottom layer in the pot to help with drainage.

Regrouting

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When grout deteriorates over time, it can lose its color and waterproofing capability. Replacing grout can improve the appearance of a tiled room quickly and at low cost.

Remove the old grout from the joints using a grout raker, taking care not to damage tile edges (Image 1), and vacuum out the joints in order to remove all dust and debris (Image 2).

Regrout the joints, using a grout spreader (Image 3).

Reviving Tired Grout

Where grout has deteriorated in terms of color but not structure, a tube of grout reviver can be used to restore the grout to a clean, bright color.

Clean down the tiled surface thoroughly using a sponge and TSP solution (Image 1).

When the grout is dry, apply grout reviver along the joints (Image 2). Check the manufacturer's guidelines to see when to wipe off the excess grout reviver. Use a damp cloth (Image 3).

Re-Caulking

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Junctions between tiles and other surfaces are normally sealed with latex caulk, which can deteriorate over time. Once a seal begins to allow water penetration, it must be replaced.

Scrape away the old sealant. A window scraper is ideal, or use a special sealant remover (Image 1).

Stick masking tape 1/8 in (4 mm) from each side of the joint (Image 2). This will ensure that the sealant will have straight edges.

Apply latex caulk along the gap, and smooth with a wetted finger (Image 3). Remove tape and smooth again if necessary.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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