Where a tile is badly cracked, it’s probably better to remove it and replace it with a new one. This involves drilling and chipping away the tile, so you must wear protective goggles, as shards of tile will fly everywhere. It’s also a good idea to wear some stout gloves as these shards can cut the skin. If the offending tile is in a bathroom, make sure when you drill into it that there are no water pipes behind. Scrape out the grout from around the tile, and to avoid damaging the surrounding ones, mask them off with tape to protect them from scratches and chips. Use tape in the centre of the tile to stop the drill bit slipping on the smooth tile surface. Put a towel in the bath so the debris doesn’t chip or scratch the enamel.
Step by Step Instructions
1 Remove old grout and mask off
Scrape out the grout from around the cracked tile. To protect surrounding tiles, use tape to ‘mask’ them off. Place some tape in the centre of the tile to stop the drill bit slipping and drill two or three holes in the centre of the tile.
2 Chip out the tile
Use a fine cold chisel – or an old woodworking chisel – and a club hammer to cut away the tile. Work from the centre of the tile outwards so you don’t damage or dislodge the neighbouring tiles.
3 Chisel out the old adhesive
In order for the new tile to lie flush and stick to the wall securely, chisel out all of the old adhesive. Brush away the debris – if possible, vacuum it out as any dust or debris will impair adhesion.
4 Position the new tile
‘Butter’ the back of the replacement tile with adhesive and press it into place. Leave to dry and then renew the grout around it.
Useful Tips For Drilling Tiles
- If possible buy a special diamond tile bit.
- If not use a sharp masonry bit at a slow speed when you drill through the tile.
- To stop the tip of the bit from slipping, place tape on the tile face.
- Don’t use a hammer action to drill or you’ll shatter the tile and may even damage the surrounding ones as well.
- Don’t drill too deeply into the wall, and remember to watch out for hidden water pipes.