Project Guide

How to Fix Cracked Tile

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Patch Cracked Tile Using Epoxy
A person pointing to a small crack in a piece of tile.

Minor cracks can be repaired with a small amount of epoxy and some paint.

  • Remove any debris from the crack and then use tile cleaner or dish detergent to remove any dust and grease. Wipe clean with a cloth and allow the tile – and the crack – to dry thoroughly.
  • Use a clear epoxy. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing, if necessary.
  • Place enough epoxy on a piece of cardboard.
  • Apply the epoxy directly into the split, using a toothpick for a hairline crack or a craft stick for a wider crack.
  • Use the flat edge of a craft stick across the crack to level the epoxy, and scape away excess from the tile. Work quickly but carefully and remove residue from the tile surface.
  • Allow the epoxy to cure according to package instructions.
  • Apply a small amount of oil or urethane-based paint matching the tile color to the dried epoxy. Use careful strokes with a fine crafting paintbrush. Allow it to fully dry.
  • Brush urethane sealer over the paint patch to prevent peeling and allow it to fully dry.
Remove the Broken Tile
A person removing pieces of broken tile from a floor.

When patching cracked tile isn’t an effective solution, replace damaged tile with a new piece following a straightforward process.

Tip: Wear safety goggles to prevent dust from entering your eyes. Broken tile has sharp edges and can injure your hands, so wear heavy work gloves while handling.

  • Place a dust sheet around the work area.
  • Use a handheld grout saw around the edge of the cracked tile to scrape away its grout and prevent damage to adjacent tiles.
  • When all of the grout is removed from around the broken tile, cover it with a drop cloth.
  • Using a hammer, firmly tap the cracked tile to break it into smaller pieces.
  • Carefully remove the pieces, using a chisel to pry them from the adhesive that bonded the tile to the surface.
  • Use a chisel and hammer to chip away the old adhesive from the floor, being careful to not damage any backer board or the subfloor.
  • Clear debris and dust from the vacant space using a wet/dry vacuum to leave a smooth and even surface.
Set the Replacement Tile
A person setting a new piece of tile on a floor.

Now, use pre-mixed thin-set motar to bond the new tile into place.

  • Spread the thin-set onto the bare floor using the flat edge of a 1/4-inch notched trowel.
  • Then, go over it with the notched edge to create ridges in the adhesive.
  • Keeping the new tile flat, carefully drop it into place. Putting one edge in first can shift the even layer of adhesive.
  • Line up the edges with adjacent tiles and press down evenly.
  • Allow the thin-set to cure according to the package instructions. It usually requires 24 hours but quick-drying varieties can cure in a couple hours.

Tip: Consider using an all-in-one pre-mixed adhesive and grout for small, one-time projects.

Apply Grout Around New Tile
A person applying grout to a tile floor.

For a small job like replacing a broken tile, use pre-mixed grout.

  • Stir the grout to eliminate any settling and to loosen the material for easier application.
  • Work the grout into the seam using a grout float. Move the float across the seam diagonally – rather than along the gap – to avoid pulling the grout out.
  • After about 15 minutes, use a damp sponge on the surface of the tile to remove grout residue.
  • Wait a couple hours and then buff the tile with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Avoid putting any pressure on the new tile for 24-hours.
  • When fully dry, use a grout sealant to prevent water damage and to limit future staining.