Ceramic tiles are durable by nature, but homeowners will find that there are some common problems with this material. Tiles can frequently break and grout will eventually need to be replaced. Luckily, problems with ceramic tiling are actually quite easy to fix, as long as the tile was installed after 1960. If your tile predates 1960, it may have been set in a masonry base and you will need a contractor to repair it.
- Check the condition of the grout. The most common problem with ceramic tiling is damaged grout. This can allow water to enter underneath the tile, ruining the tiling. As soon as you can see the damage, you should regrout the tile.
- Prepare to regrout. You will need to scrape out the old grout before new grout can be applied. Remove the old grout by scraping it away with an awl, utility knife, or a rotary tool with an appropriate bit. Then make sure that any chipped or broken tiles are replaced. Rinse the grout joints.
- Assess the ceramic tiles. Any broken or chipped ceramic tiles that are present will need to be replaced before the new grout can be applied.
- Remove broken tiles. After scraping away the old grout, break the individual damaged tiles into small pieces, and remove the pieces. Scrape away any adhesive remaining from the old tile.
- Replace the broken tiles. Make sure that the new tile fits the space, and secure it with adhesive. Make sure that the tile is firmly set on the wall, pressing it to the wall and twisting slightly. Use masking tape to hold the tile in place for 24 hours until the adhesive is secure.
- Repair damaged grout. Spread grout over the entire ceramic tile surface and all the spaces in between them using either a foam grout float or a sponge. Work the grout well into the joints and smooth it after it is slightly set. Make sure you wipe any extra grout off the tile surface with a damp sponge.
- Check dried grout. After the grout dries, you may discover that it has shrunk. If so, you will have to apply another coat of grout.
Although restoring and repairing ceramic tile surfaces is neither difficult nor expensive, you will find that it makes a considerable difference in improving the look of any room!