Whether in the bath, the shower, the kitchen, or any other location in the house, ceramic tiles become loose and fall off any surface over time. Age and moisture are the primary causes for loose and displaced ceramic tiles. Simply replacing ceramic tiles without remedying the reason why they became damaged or loose is counterproductive.
Mix and Match
1. Take your old ceramic tile, or a piece of it, to the store and match it as closely as possible with a new one.
2. You can also purchase the same size tile in a shade or design that complements or contrasts with your old tiles.
Eliminate Sources of moisture
1. Examine the wall or ceiling closely for clues as to where the moisture may have entered the surface and caused the tiles to dislodge.
2. Check all molding and trim edges and bull nose tiles where they meet the wall, ceiling, or floor. They should be caulked tight.
3. Check out all caulking and replace it, if necessary.
4. Make sure all vent fans are cleaned, lubricated, and in good working order.
5. Verify that walls and ceiling are well insulated.
6. Check the insulation in the attic and under the floor in between the floor joists and add more or replace it, if necessary.
Prepare the Surface
1. With a putty knife or scraper, clean out the old tile cement or mastic from the location where you will install the new tile. Be careful here not to damage the surface or the adjacent tiles.
Install the Tile
1. You can cut the new tile to fit, if necessary, with a number of different tile cutters. A tile cutter like the one pictured is convenient, accurate, and easy to use.
2. With a putty knife, apply ceramic tile adhesive to the back of the new tile. Apply it just like you would butter a piece of toast. Do not apply the adhesive too thickly.
3. Press the tile into place.
4. Use grout spacers to align the new tile with the existing ones. Grout spacers are small hard plastic pieces that fit in between the tiles at the corners. You can buy them by the bag in different sizes. They hold the tile firmly in line until the adhesive dries. You can also use a straight edge or level to make certain the new tile lines up with the old ones.
Grout the Tile
1. After the adhesive has dried, remove the grout spacers. You can dig them out with the point of a small knife or the corner of your putty knife if you cannot remove them with your fingers.
2. Match the new grout with the old. You may have to add a color additive to match the hue of your old grout exactly.
3. Apply the new grout using a sponge and wiping the grout at an angle across the new tile and into the grout spaces.
4. Let the grout set briefly, then wipe the excess away with a soft cloth or a damp sponge.
Seal the Grout
1. After the grout has dried at least 24 hours, seal it with a good grout sealant containing silicone. You can apply the sealant to the whole tiled surface to help protect it from moisture. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles while applying the grout sealant.
2. Let the sealant dry according to the manufacturer’s directions and you are ready to use your newly repaired tile surface.
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