I have a problem with the tiles around the tub in my ~1910 residential apartment building in Washington DC.

At some point the existing tile was coated in some sort of sealant layer, which has developed a hole (approx. 3" x 3") as shown in the picture. Ideally I would like to patch the hole somehow, but I am open to any suggestions about the best way to proceed.

Hole in Tile Coating

Here is some additional information:

  • The tile underneath the hole is cracked. However, I have been told that the tiles are set in concrete and extremely difficult to remove. I am open to solutions that involve removing and replacing the old tile, or leaving it in place beneath a patch.
  • The hole is currently covered in packing tape, which can also be seen in the picture.
  • Color match is a secondary concern to water-tightness.
  • We intend to remove and replace the caulk around the tub at the same time.

Please let me know if you have any other questions that might help.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Well-stated question, but another close-up picture of the failure, perhaps at an angle, would help. Thanks. Jan 22 '19 at 14:09
  • Are yiu sure it is tile? I have seen the grid work lines cut into concrete/plaster walls in older buildings. I would start excavating all the loose material out of the corner. Then take a few pictures. Yiu will be wanting to properly fil the cavity with concrete patching product perhaps in two coats then scribe the lines back into the surface before complete cure . After that investigate coatings for blending in the patch with the rest. The patch will have to fully cure before coating so pls on taping a plastic drape over it for a few days
    – Kris
    Jan 22 '19 at 15:09

You'll find out when all those pieces fall out while you're puling the old caulk out.

Judging by the crack, the wall behind there is shot, so there'll be nothing to attach a new tile to. This is a can of worms you'd better be ready to tackle if you do anything.


It looks as if your bathroom has been ‘reglazed’. Basically, an enamel coating over the tile

I don’t know if any way to patch it, but you might be able to use a dremel or similar to cut a clean line at the grout line, replace it with a similar sized tile, but level with the existing surface, then reglaze it again.

I’d recommend contacting bathroom refinishing companies that specialize in this process, and see if they can do it or make recommendations on how to proceed

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