Are you looking to repair cracked tiles in your own home or a client’s property?
Nothing looks less appealing than a wall that is perfectly tiled, but features tiles that have become scratched, cracked and worn due to general wear and tear.
As a general rule, tiles are fairly durable and have a long lifespan, especially when they have been manufactured, transported and installed correctly. However, it is inevitable that after an extended period of time, even the most well looked after tiles can become cracked, chipped or damaged. Therefore, repairing cracked tiles can transform a worn out and weathered interior, and it is an extremely useful skill for professional tilers to be able to repair cracked tiles.
When you first install the tiles
All good tilers know that you should always overestimate the number of tiles you will need for any tiling job. That way, you’ll ensure that if any tiles do indeed get damaged, lost or broken during the initial installation, you’ve got ample spare tiles to match and finish off the room.
In addition, it is useful to keep hold of at least 5 spare tiles for each tiled room in the property. Spare tiles can be stored in the garage, the loft or another storage compartment to cater for any unforeseen future wear to the existing tiles. After all, getting new tiles to match the original set can be a real nightmare.
Tip for Tilers:Leaving extra tiles for your customers to keep hold of for use in the future may further impress them, offering them an even better service and improving their overall judgment of your service and value for money (as long as you’ve done a great job of the tiling that is!). You may also want to advise customers that spare tiles, for exterior use, should be stored outside so that they fade in line with tiles you have already installed.
Repairing small cracks in existing tiles
Rather than replacing a whole tile, in some cases, it may be sufficient to repair any small cracks in existing tiles by using oil-based paint that is the same colour as the tile, and referring to the following method:
What you’ll need:
- A paintbrush
- Soapy water
- Marine epoxy
- Oil-based paint
- Oil-based primer
- Clean the tile with soapy water and a cloth, removing all dirt and grime. Take particular care when cleaning the crack, making sure it is completely clean.
- Either allow the tile to dry naturally or use a hair dryer.
- Apply primer to the crack in the tile.
- Allow 2-3 hours for the primer to dry. Ensure it is thoroughly dry before moving onto the next step.
- Once dry, paint the matching paint onto the crack in the tile.
- Leave the paint to dry for 24 hours.
- Apply the epoxy using a small paintbrush over the crack in the tile (not over the whole tile).
- Allow epoxy to dry before anything comes into contact with the tile. Particular attention may need to be paid to stress on floor tiles.
Replacing damaged tiles
Where the tiles are simply too damaged to repair, you’ll need to consider replacing the tiles (this is much more straight forward when you have access to spare original tiles!).
How to replace damaged tiles
First of all, in order to remove the damaged tile from the wall, you’ll need to shatter the tile. This can be done by covering the tile with a cloth, and using a hammer to break up the tile. Take care not to damage any surrounding tiles.
An alternative method to the hammering technique is to cut the tile into four triangles and remove each piece of tile individually. A chisel may make this task more straight forward and gloves can additionally help to protect your hands.
Once you have removed the old tile, you should remove any dust from the area and apply adhesive to the new tile. You should spread the adhesive using a notched trowel.
Allow sufficient time for the adhesive to dry, based on the instructions from the manufacturer. Once dry, you can apply grout neatly to the edges of the tile, ensuring that you remove any excess grout that you accidentally scrape onto the tile, and surrounding tiles, with a damp cloth.
Having tiles installed by a professional tiler can prevent tiles cracking
Ultimately, unevenly installed tiles, and those that have not been properly aligned, are much more likely to crack under daily wear and tear.
Therefore, tiles installed by well-trained tilers tend to have a longer lifespan that customers are happy with.
Whether you would like to refresh your tiling knowledge or learn tiling as a new trade, completing a course from UK Pro Tiling Training ensures you will become a tiler that provides a professional and long-lasting service.