Repairing broken ceramic & tiles in 4 steps
Repairing broken ceramic & tiles in 4 steps

Repairing broken ceramic & tiles in 4 steps

Tiles and ceramics are significant and practical building materials, used in various forms in bathrooms, toilets, pools, kitchens, and other locations. Due to their delicacy and light weight, tiles are mostly used on walls, whereas ceramics, being more durable, are primarily used on floors.

Tiles and ceramics can crack, chip, or even break due to factors like dropping objects, impact, moisture, and improper installation.

Repairing chipped tiles is not too difficult. You can fix a broken tile without having to replace it by following a few methods discussed below.

Why Do Tiles Chip?

Floor and wall tiles differ in thickness and durability, but generally, the following factors can cause tiles to chip or break:

  • Improper Installation**: It's best to have tiles installed by professionals. The mortar should be appropriate, and adhesive is a good option for attaching tiles.
  • Low-Quality Tiles**: For longer-lasting tiles and ceramics, it's advisable to use high-quality products. For example, instead of using cheap wall tiles in a bathroom, you could use porcelain wall ceramics, which are more resistant to impact and moisture. Porcelain ceramics have nearly zero moisture absorption and are less likely to scratch.
  • Temperature Changes**: Some tiles absorb moisture and water. If exposed to cold and frost, they can crack or break over time.
  • Impact**: Heavy objects falling on tiles or strong impacts to the wall may cause tiles to chip or break.

High-quality ceramics are resistant to impact, object collisions, moisture, and temperature changes, making them less likely to chip.

Methods for Repairing Chipped Tiles

The repair method depends on the extent and cause of the damage. For instance, a hairline crack caused by dropping a heavy object can be easily fixed with tile adhesive.

If the tile is severely damaged or shattered, it may need to be replaced.

If a floor tile breaks due to pressure or furniture placement, it likely means the installation was incorrect, and the underlayment was uneven or hollow. In such cases, repairing the chipped tile is ineffective, and it should be replaced with new tiles and correctly installed.

Repairing Chipped Tiles with Tile Adhesive or Epoxy

First, clean the tile surface. Vacuum any dust and wash with water and dish soap, ensuring no dirt or grease remains in the crack.

Dry the area and clean it again with alcohol. Mix epoxy adhesive and apply it to the crack. Use a popsicle stick or toothpick to cover the crack completely. Smooth out the adhesive to level it with the tile.

Wait for the adhesive to dry as instructed.

When working with epoxy, wear a mask and gloves, and keep the area ventilated. Keep children away. Avoid washing the cracked tile excessively, as water can seep under the tile, causing further damage.

Painting Chipped Tiles for Finishing

For a better result, paint over the crack after the adhesive dries. Use a small brush to ensure the crack is well-covered. If your tile is multicolored, mix several paints for the repair.

Nail polish is also a good option for painting over chipped tiles. Remember, painting costs more for tile repair. If the tile is worth it, go ahead and paint.

Repairing Tiles with Silicone Sealant

Silicone sealant is another material for repairing chipped tiles. After repairing with sealant, keep it dry until fully cured. Transparent, colorless sealant can be painted to match the tile.

Attaching a Broken Tile Piece

If a piece of tile has broken off, you can reattach it with tile adhesive. Clean the tile, apply adhesive to the broken piece, and press it firmly in place.

Does Repairing Chipped Tiles Last?

The durability of the repair depends on the condition. Fine, hairline cracks respond better to repairs. If the breakage is due to improper installation or an uneven underlay, it worsens, leading to tile replacement.

Don't ignore a broken tile; it can allow water to seep underneath, leading to leaks and more significant damage if left unaddressed.

Replacing Broken Tiles

If a repair doesn't hold or the damage is too severe, it's better to replace the broken tile.

If you've used book-matched ceramics, you'll need to find a matching tile to preserve the design pattern.

You likely have some spare tiles left from the installation. Make sure to install the new tile in the correct orientation. If you run out, take a photo of the tile and visit a building supply store.

If you can't find an exact match, choose the closest resembling tile.

Steps for Replacing Broken Tiles

To replace a broken tile, first remove the grout around it. Break the tile with a hammer and remove it with a screwdriver, being careful not to damage adjacent tiles.

Scrape off all the mortar from underneath. If you find this task challenging, seek professional help.

Then, apply prepared mortar to the tile's place, smooth it with a trowel, and draw parallel grooves. Place the tile on the mortar, pressing it firmly. Wait for it to securely set before grouting around it after 24 hours.

Grouting needs another 24 hours to dry. Avoid putting pressure on the tile during this time.

Final Words

Repairing chipped tiles is quick and easy but often doesn't last long. The crack may worsen, necessitating tile replacement. Replacing and installing new tiles is more challenging and costly but provides a more fundamental fix.