Don’t Stress Over Tile Cracks – Here’s How You Can Replace a Cracked Tile

Tile is tough — but it isn’t indestructible. Cracks can occur if the installation method was not done properly. For example, sub floor movement can cause cracking as the wooden floor under the tile shifts, passing that stress through to the tile above. While a fairly common occurrence, the problem can be mitigated by using an underlayment membrane such as MAPEI’s Mapeguard UM. As a bonus, Mapeguard UM also provides waterproofing to the installed area.

 

Tile that is installed with “globs” of mortar or thin-set instead of fully back buttering the tile can cause cracking as the hollow areas under the tile are not supported and can break when weight is applied. In any case, tile cracks can occur at some point, and it’s handy to know how to fix the problem if they do.

 

The biggest challenge when faced with tile cracks is finding a matching replacement. You likely have a few leftover tiles from when you first had them laid (the reason you add the 10-15% extra to the original tile measurement). If not, visit Tiles Unlimited to find a good match for your tile and grout — we carry the largest tile selection in Queens and our experts can assist you in finding the best fit for both. If possible, bring in the box the tile came in or your purchase invoice to make matching the tile fast and easy.

 

  • Once you have a suitable replacement for your damaged tile, you can begin by carefully chipping out the grout with a small chisel and hammer. Removing the grout first will allow you the space around the cracked tile to avoid damaging the ones around it. Make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves for protection.
  • Next, chip the tile away carefully with the same chisel and hammer, starting from the center of the tile and working your way out to the four sides. Take your time and do your best not to pry against the surrounding tiles so that you don’t accidently chip or crack them too!
  • Use a floor scraper to properly remove any extra bits of tile or mortar that are stuck to the subfloor. Ensure the area is clean and smooth to form a flat, clean surface for your new tile.
  • Apply polymer modified thin-set such as MAPEI’s Ultraflex 2 to the floor using the appropriately sized trowel, as well as fully back butter the back of the new tile. Set the new tile in the appropriate position. Allow it to set for the required time (usually 24 hours) and then mix and apply matching grout between your new tile and the surrounding ones.
  • Avoid walking on your new tile for at least 24 hours after grouting.

Make Your Tiles Look Showroom New

Impossible Marks on Your Porcelain Floor?

Porcelain tiles are the most frequently used materials for floors, because they are very practical, but if not adequately maintained, they could easily get dirty. The tiles often have a fine layer of residual grouting or concrete, which can only be eliminated with specific products that do not harm the material. Ordinary, often harsh, household cleaners are not up to the task. Tiles Unlimited recommends DETERDEK and CR-10, from Fila Solutions; the ideal products for cleaning floors that were not thoroughly cleaned after installation or that have only recently been installed.

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Thanks to its acid-based formula, it effectively removes building site dirt without harming metal profiles. Let’s take a look at how to use it properly: first wet the floors, then dilute DETERDEK in water and apply this solution a few meters at a time, waiting 2-3 minutes and then rubbing hard with a flat brush. At this point, the floor can be rinsed with plenty of water.

If your surface has tiles with epoxy grouting, use FILACR10, the cleaner for epoxy residues ideal for walls and floors in porcelain and glazed ceramic tiles as well as glass mosaics. Its viscous formula makes it the ideal product for washing vertical surfaces and it also works on larger, old residues.

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DETERDEK can also be used to combat efflorescence or ‘white spots’ on your outdoor tile. The white substance forms a powder-like coating made up of soluble salts and moisture, which migrate to the surface, evaporate and leave a salt deposit behind. As well as affecting porous masonry, efflorescence can also migrate through a grout joint, so it’s a problem that can affect both natural stone and ceramic installations.

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Sealing and Enhancing Stone Floor Tiles

When a newly installed stone floor doesn’t look up to scratch, the tiles are often blamed. Many mistakenly believe that the tiles are inferior in some way, or that there is an issue with the installation. More often than not, it comes down to one small thing; a poor initial cleaning. After a stone floor has been installed, it should always be cleaned thoroughly, using a quality pH-neutral detergent – like FILACLEANER – not just with a bucket of warm water! It takes a bit longer but it can make or break an installation.

If you use water alone, you’ll effectively be sloshing manufacturing dust, dirt and grout residues across the surface of the tiles. Once the floor is dry, the film of residue – or grout haze – will become visible. Then, when you seal the tiles, this residue will become sandwiched between the tile’s surface and the sealant. As well as ruining the look of the installation, it will also store up problems for the future: The sealant won’t be able to absorb properly into the tile, so its performance will be compromised. Dirt will be built-up on the surface more quickly, making the problem even worse.

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To avoid these problems, always ensure that the floor is cleaned properly after installation with a pH-neutral cleaner such as FILACLEANER as it is safe to use on all natural materials including stone.