How to Repair a Cracked Bathroom Tile

Tiles are a beautiful addition to any bathroom. Whether you are looking to cover walls, floors, or a backsplash, tiling can help provide an upscale feeling and a dash of personality to your bathroom.

How to Repair a Cracked Bathroom Tile

(Pixabay / Zichrini)

One of the biggest challenges with using tile in bathrooms and other rooms of the home is that tiles can break. Dropping heavy items on tiles, or even causing stress to existing hairline fractures, can cause noticeable cracking to appear. While a broken tile will affect the aesthetics, it can also be a sign of underlying water damage, especially if the offending tiles are in the shower.

If several tiles in the shower of your bathroom are breaking, it could be because there is water damage in the walls. Damp and humid conditions will cause the walls to expand, cracking the tiles or grout. Be sure to watch the walls for signs of mildew or mold, which indicate underlying water damage.

While it’s not extremely difficult to replace a broken tile, it’s also not easy. If you don’t have confidence in your abilities to fix the tile, it’s always better to have someone more experienced come to do it for you.

If you have a hairline crack, you can paint over the crack with paint that matches the tile. While this won’t fix the problem, it could provide a temporary repair and preserve the aesthetics of the room.

If you have a larger crack, you should replace it as soon as possible, especially if it is in a shower or other area that gets wet frequently. One thing you may struggle with is finding a replacement tile to match. Most people who tile their bathrooms buy extra tiles in case of damage, so you may have spares hanging around the home. If you don’t, your best bet is to find something that looks very similar.

While removing the tile and tiling, you should wear long sleeves and eye protection to make sure shards don’t get into your eyes or scratch your skin. Protective eyewear will also keep the grout from getting into your eyes. Prior to removing the tile, you should make sure there are no electrical wiring or pipes in that area that you could damage. Once you’re sure it’s clear, you can begin.

Follow these steps to remove and replace your tile:

  • Clean the cracked tiles and surrounding tiles thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, or dust.
  • Put paint tape or masking on any surrounding tiles to prevent damage from occurring.
  • Carefully remove the grout surrounding the cracked tile. Be cautious, so you don’t damage any of the neighboring tiles.
  • Using a power drill, make holes in the broken tile to help chip away portions of the tile and loosen it. Don’t drill deeply, as you don’t want to drill a hole in the floor beneath the tile.
  • Once the tile is removed, clean the area and make sure that any of the adhesive used to secure the tile is also cleaned up.
  • Check the dimensions of your new tile to make sure it fits snuggly in the space. If it fits, put adhesive on the back of the tile and place it in the vacant spot.
  • Once the tile is securely in place, fill in the surrounding area, known as the joints, with grout. When picking grout for this task, try to choose the same color that was previously used.
  • Let the grout set for an hour, then remove any excess grout that is on the face of the tile.
  • For tiles that are replaced on the floor, weigh down that area to help the tile settle into place.

If you have tiles in your home, there’s a good chance that you will replace a tile or two at one time or another. With the right tools and know-how, you will be able to do so with confidence.