The trickiest part of replacing ceramic tile or stone tile is when you don't have the extra tiles needed to replace the damaged tile. You're then left with having to locate new ones of the same type. This is why it's always good to get a few extra tiles to stash away when you purchase your tiles,
If you do run into the problem of a damaged tile or two and need to replace them, you can check the back of the tile for any of the manufactures markings and check with a tile retailer to see if the tiles are still available.
If you can't find your specific tile this way, the next best thing is to head for the internet. There are companies on the internet that specialize in helping customers to find replacement tile designs.
Do a search for Preserving Historic Ceramic Tile Floors. This is a publication by the National Park Service that is available online.
If your replacement tile is a
nontraditional tile you shouldn't have a problem finding a replacement tile, as these tiles are fairly new and more easily accessible.
Check The Substrate Underneath
If you find that you have more than one or two loose or broken tiles there is probably an underlying problem. If this underlying problem is not taken care of it will only cause the same thing to happen after replacing ceramic tile or stone tiles.
To test for problems in your wall or floor tile installation you can lightly jump on the floor or push on the wall with the heel of your hand. If you feel any flex you may need to remove all the tiles in this area.
Once you've removed the tiles check your substrate underneath for damage. Should you find wet or loose plywood, cement backerboard or drywall remove as many tiles as necessary. Cut out the damaged substrate and install a patch of new cement backerboard.
1 Removing Stone Or Ceramic tile Grout
It's best to begin by loosening the stone or ceramic tile grout around the perimeter of the damaged tile. This will help in preventing damage to the neighboring tiles.
The easiest way to loosen stone or ceramic tile grout is by using a rotary cutter loaded with a grout bit and attachment. This will reduce your chances of damaging surrounding tiles.
You can also use a grout saw or a utility knife turned sideways. Just make sure to cut through the full depth of the stone or ceramic tile grout, and slicing through the thinset underneath makes it all the better.
2 Break up the Tile
Using your drill loaded with a masonry cutting bit, starting in the center of the tile and working outward, drill holes in the damaged tile. This helps to weaken the tile. It also helps in removing the tile without damaging the surrounding tiles.
3 Replacing Ceramic Tile Or Stone Tile
Chip away the damaged tile using a cold chisel and a hammer. This will be easy if you are removing a damaged tile from a wall that has been tiled with tile mastic.
If the tile was installed with thinset or worse than that an old fashioned mud job, it will take more time and elbow grease to remove it.
The secret to removing a tough tiling job is to not try to pry off the tile. Its best to just break up the tile by continuously smashing at it until the fragments release the thinset. Then smash out the old thinset.
Removing Damaged Porcelain Tile
Porcelain wall and floor tile designs have a very hard surface that a drill won't be able to cut through. You'll need to use an angle grinder.
The problem with using an angle grinder is it can easily damage adjacent tiles.
To protect these tiles use pieces of fiberboard and adhere them to the adjacent tiles with duct tape. Then use the angle grinder with a masonry cutting blade to cut an x through the center of the tile, and proceed on to smashing it with a hammer and a cold chisel
4 Patch Your Substrate
It is essential when replacing ceramic tile properly, to get all of the tile adhesive out, but this leads to damaging the substrate.
A drywall surface will come away with tile mastic adhesive, or chunks of plywood or backerboard substrate will be removed along with the thinset adhesive.
This leads to your next step of smoothing out your substrate. To do this you'll need to work with a two part epoxy filler, especially recommended by your tile supplier.
5 Replacing Ceramic Tile
Use the same tile adhesive for replacing ceramic tile or stone tile that was originally used. This would be either tile mastic or thinset. Make sure you don't spread the tile adhesive onto the substrate, as you will get it on the neighboring tiles.
When you are replacing ceramic tile or stone tile liberally back butter your tile adhesive onto the back of your replacement tile. Then place the tile into position. Press down on the tile until it is flush with the neighboring tiles.
In the case of excess tile adhesive oozing from your grout lines, remove it with a flat head screwdriver. If you are tiling a wall and using a slow curing thinset, use plastic wedges between your old and new tile to prevent your new tile from sagging. You can also use masking tape to hold the tile in place.
6 Grouting Tile
Before you begin grouting tile, let your tile adhesive harden over night. As you're grouting tile rather than spreading the grout over all the tiles, just trowel it over your newly cleared grout lines, and press it into place with a wet sponge.
Spread just a touch past your new tile, slightly grouting tile to overlap the old grout. When grouting tile this way it will help to blend the new tile in with the old tiles.
Tips For Matching Your old Tile Grout
Old tile grout goes bad over time, so if you find an old package of tile grout don't use it. Just use the packaging to get the brand and the color information, so you won't have to search for the grout to match your old grout color.
Once you purchase the same tile grout color, it will not look the same as your existing tile grout, because the old tile grout has darkened over time.
It's a good idea to use a grout cleaning product to refresh all of the existing grout, before replacing ceramic tiles. This way you can match the new grout to the old grout, and both will darken together. Otherwise if the new grout matches the existing darkened grout then the new grout will eventually darken, and no longer match the old.