Tiling is a great surface for the floors of your home, especially for areas like the kitchen and bathroom. It does take some time and effort to correctly install tiles but the end result is well worth the effort. Still, with the passage of time, there will be inevitable cracks that will happen in the tiles of your floor. You may not choose to replace a single cracked tile but when a few tiles are cracked your floor can begin to look unsightly and it will need work.
The first thing you will need to do if you plan on replacing cracked tiles, is find your replacement tiles. You may have a few of the original tiles stored away in the garage or shed if you were the person that installed the tiling originally. In fact, if you are installing a tile floor, be sure to always buy extra tiles so that they can be used at a later date to replace cracked or loose tiles.
Finding Replacement Tiles
Depending on how long ago your tiles were installed, you may have a difficult time finding an exact replacement. However, these days if you cant find what you are looking for in the local hardware stores, there is a big chance, you will find them on the Internet. Online auction web sites like eBay are great for this.
Once you are ready to install your replacement tiles, cracked tiles should be removed with as much care as possible. Use a putty knife or a pry bar to carefully pull tiles up.
If you are replacing a few tiles and they are in the same general area of the floor, there may be reasons below the tiles as to why they are cracking or becoming loose. Since you are removing the tiles anyway, check out the sub-floor just to be sure it has not rotted away or been damaged in some other way.
If the sub-floor is too thin then the tiles above it will break or pop off with the pressure of people walking over them. If there is a problem with the sub-floor, remove more tiles and deal with this problem before replacing your cracked tiles.
I recommend using a thin set mortar to affix your replacement tiles. You will need to mix this yourself and once it is smooth and lump-free, leave it to stand for two or three minutes.
Make enough mortar for a twenty minute period only and do the work in several sets if necessary, depending on how many tiles you are actually replacing. Be sure to check the instructions for the mortar to find out how quickly it will set.
Be sure to make rows of grooves in the mortar to ensure that the tiles set evenly. Some tiles may need to be cut to fit. If this is the case and you know before hand, you can rent a water-cooled tile saw from your local hardware rental store. If it is a simple line that you are creating, tiles can also be cut to size using a match as leverage.
You will need to check the instructions for the mortar to find out how quickly it sets. Once it has set, your replaced tiles will need grouting just as if you were laying down a complete floor. Grout the tiles only once the mortar is set and it is safe to do so. Once the grout is set, you will be able to clean excess grout from the tiles and admire your floor, which should then be as good as new.