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I have a kitchen with a tile floor. In one corner, there's been a pedestal style garbage bin. It seems that stepping on the foot pedal has caused the bin to shift slightly during each use, and over time this has resulted in a patch of surface scratches on the tile surface. The damage is minimal, but is noticeable. I'm assuming I should be able to remove or at least reduce the scratches through some simple polishing of the area, but it's something I've never tried before, so I wanted to see if anyone had any advice or a similar experience. I'd rather leave it be than risk causing more harm than good.

Update: Unfortunately, the tile was laid before I was the occupant, so if there are extra tiles, I haven't found them yet. Perhaps my question should have been phrased "are there any options, short of removing/replacing a tile, to minimize scratch damage".

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If it was easy to do, then the tile would become scratched up merely by walking on it. Your feet scuffing the floor with a little dirt there would cause scratches. Tile is used for a purpose - it has a tough, hard surface.

Next, you must consider if the tile color goes all the way through, or if it is simply a surface glaze. If the color goes all the way through, then you could erode some of the surface and still see the proper color. Often however, tile will be a different color underneath.

Best is to replace the tile. This is not as difficult as it seems, IF you have a replacement tile. Always keep spare tiles for just this purpose when a floor is done. (Also carpet fragments, etc.) Surprisingly, it is often possible to find matching tile in tile stores, even for older floors.

Replacing the tile requires chiseling out the grout (or using a grout removal tool) then a cold chisel will help to break up and remove the bad tile. (An air powered chisel is great here.) Clean off any adhesive still on the underlayment. Then carefully butter the new tile, put in place, and regrout with a grout that will match the color of your old grout.

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