Step 1

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.

Step 2


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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).

Step 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).

Step 4


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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.

Step 5

Removing a Damaged Shower Cubicle

If water seepage has caused the wall around a shower cubicle to decay, tiles will start to become loose. The steps here are for repairs on a stud wall. If the studs themselves are decaying, you will need to remove sections of the wall and rebuild as required.

Remove any cubicle walls or shower screens before you start, so that you have full access to the tiles (Image 1).

Use a scraper to remove loose tiles, and any tiles with decayed grout, until you expose a half-tile’s width of sound drywall (Image 2).

Cut a line at this height using a drywall saw. Be careful not to cut through any concealed electrical or water supplies (Image 3).

A drywall saw may be helpful for cutting through drywall adjacent to studs, which should not be pressure-treated (Image 4).

Use the claw of a hammer to remove old hardware (Image 5). Leave studs exposed for a few days, to dry. A heater may speed up this process.

Step 6

Replacing a Shower Cubicle

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Cut a piece of cement-based, water-resistant board to size and screw it onto the studs (Image 1), and seal around the edges of the board with latex caulk using a caulk gun (Image 2).

Apply fiberglass tape to the joint between the new and old boards using tile adhesive (Image 3).

Apply tile adhesive and tile over the area to match the existing tiles, then regrout. Reapply latex caulk to tray and corner joints (Image 4).

Step 7

Preventing Water Damage

In most cases, a shower cubicle leaks because of poorly grouted tile joints, or because of degraded latex caulk around the shower tray or the shower screen.

Anywhere that a valve or pipe penetrates a tiled surface is also a potential point of weakness, and if even a small section of grout or caulk is missing, gradual water penetration may break down the wall structure and cause tiles to fall away from its surface.

The situation can deteriorate quickly if it goes unnoticed, so check these areas regularly for signs of damage or dampness. If you find any problems, tackle them immediately, using the techniques shown above.