Replacing a Tile in Your Floor



Sometimes you don't want to lay a whole new floor, but just remove and replace a tile or two. Here's how to do it, step-by-step. Make sure you have the proper tools and safety gear (see Tools for Tile and Safety Gear pages). Buy cold chisels with plastic safety handles to protect your hand from misplaced hammer blows.




Step 1: Remove the Grout

Step 1: Remove the grout from the tile with a grout saw or rotary tool Grout locks a tile in place, sealing the joints between individual pieces. Remove the grout from around the tile with a grout saw or rotary tool, cutting as deeply as you possibly can. Throw the chipped pieces out and wipe up any excess dust.

Step 2: Score the Old Tile

Step 2: Score the Old Tile Put a straightedge across one of the diagonals. Guide a scoring tool along the straightedge, scratching a line in the tile. Repeat until the line is at least 1/16 inch deep. Repeat on the other diagonal.

Step 3: Break Up the Old Tile

Step 3: Break up the old tile Put on your safety glasses and strike the center of the tile with a center punch. The tile will begin to break up. Put a cold chisel on the diagonal near the center and strike it with a hammer. Repeat along the entire length of both diagonals until you’re able to remove all of the tile pieces.

Step 4: Remove the Old Mortar

Step 4: Remove the old mortar with a bricklayer’s chisel Chisel away the mortar with a bricklayer’s chisel. Remove as much mortar as you can. You can leave some mortar, as long as it is firmly attached and there is enough room for a new layer of thinset.

Step 5: Apply Thinset Mortar

Step 5: Apply thinset mortar Mix your mortar according to the directions on the box, and spread and comb it on the floor with the trowel specified by the manufacturer. "Back-butter" the replacement tile, spreading just enough mortar to cover the back; too much will cause the tile to sit high on the floor.

Step 6: Set In the Replacement Tile

Step 6: Place the tile and twist it back and forth to spread the mortar Put the tile in place and twist it back and forth to spread the mortar. Tap the tile down with a flat board and mallet. Remove excess mortar that squeezes into the joints. Let the mortar cure, then grout and seal the joints.