Replacing cracked tile possible, but not always easy

Q: I have some cracked ceramic tile that I want to replace. I want the replacement tile to match the existing tile and the surrounding grout. What should I do?

A: Removing ceramic tile requires the hands of a surgeon, and in one of those hands should be a big hammer. Take it and smack the broken tile. You must wear safety glasses for this because tiny shards of tile may fly everywhere.

If the cracked tile has already lifted, pry it out with a large standard screwdriver or a pry bar. If you are removing several cracked tiles, once you get the first one up, slide a flathead shovel underneath and pry up the rest.

After you make a hole in the tile or break off a piece, use a chisel and a hammer to remove any old mortar and grout. You must remove the old grout because it will be tough to fit the new piece in without doing so.

If you’re lucky, you might find some extra tiles in the garage. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a replacement. Depending on the age and style of the tile, you may find a match at a home center; but most likely, you’ll have to take it to a tile distributor.

Once you have a replacement, mix up a batch of thin-set mortar according to the manufacturer’s directions. This usually involves adding a little water to the mix and stirring. Try a ¼-inch notch-toothed trowel, and butter up the back of the new tile. Next, put it in the place of the broken tile and set it with a slight twisting motion. Make sure that the new tile is level with the surrounding tiles or it will stand out like a three-legged racehorse. Once the tile is properly in place, let it sit for 24 hours.

Grout poses a different challenge. Again, you may find some extra out in the garage, but chances are it won’t match the current color. I see this a lot with kitchen countertops. What used to be pure white grout is now the color of molasses.

Use a color chart (free at a home center) and match the current color to the chart. Buy the smallest box (about $6), and mix it just like the mortar. Make sure you mix it in a different container than the mortar, or that the container is thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise, the dried mortar could taint the color of the grout.

Use a grout float (about $5), and push the grout into the seams surrounding the tile. Use a wet sponge to wipe off any excess. About 30 minutes later, you’ll see a haze develop on the tile. Use a rag and buff the haze away. That cracked tile is now a faded memory.

Mike Klimek is a licensed contractor and president of Pro Handyman Corp. Questions may be sent by email to: Or, mail to: P.O. Box 96761, Las Vegas, NV 89193. His Web address is:

Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home and Garden Video
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like