12

I need help in putting the pieces back together for the broken tile if that's still possible. What should I use? Anything I should look out for?

broken tile

7
  • 2
    How are those 2 pieces supposed to fit that space? Jan 18 at 8:21
  • 2
    I notice no grout around this tile or adjacent ones. Have you removed grout in attempt to repair, or did the breakage happen during installation (before the tiles were grouted)?
    – Theodore
    Jan 18 at 15:36
  • 1
    I think the grout has been removed prior, since the tiles at the top are still grouted in.
    – Marco
    Jan 18 at 16:19
  • 1
    One thing to consider is why it cracked. If it cracked because the floor is flexing below it. this kind of fix is unlikely to last for long.
    – JimmyJames
    Jan 18 at 18:18
  • 4
    I believe it is better to buy a new tile than to try to fix it. Even if it looks slightly different shade of the same color it probably won't look quite as bad as a fixed tile. Additionally, if you walk there barefoot you are likely to hurt your feet - either because you misaligned these pieces a tiny bit, or when it inevitably starts chipping because of other stress induced micro cracks. Jan 19 at 8:45

5 Answers 5

16

Remove the loose pieces. remove the grout, dull the broken edges with a file. scrape/abrade away the tile cement, place fresh tile cement set the pieces in the cement and press down with a board to level them, one the thinset has set re-grout.

Taping the pieces together on the front side of the tile may make reinstalling it easier, you could also glue them together with cyanoacrylate ("superglue")

3
  • another option if impossible to match would be to remove a row of tiles and create a border pattern and hopefully be able to remove one fully intact that could be used to replace the broken one. depends a bit on how much coverage the tile setter achieved when they were put down. Jan 18 at 4:23
  • 7
    Dull the edges? Why? Supergluing the tile together as it is has the best chance of hiding the appearance of the cracks. They should fit together perfectly.
    – isherwood
    Jan 18 at 14:05
  • 2
    to prevent injury.
    – Jasen
    Jan 18 at 19:20
14

Get a complete tile from under or behind a cupboard or other out-of-the-way place and use that to fill that space then put the broken one - repaired in some fashion as explained in the other answers in the more hidden place.

It won't look so unsightly then.

3
  • 3
    Good idea. +1. Could use some tips on how to remove a tile without breaking it.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 18 at 13:52
  • 19
    Yeah, "get a tile" is comically oversimplified. I've done this job several times. It's much more difficult than it sounds. Also, "the other answers" is problematically vague, especially as new answers are posted. [needs improvement]
    – isherwood
    Jan 18 at 14:10
  • 3
    Another option is to look in the garage, shed, laundry cupboards, or sometimes in wall or ceiling space for "spares" because tiles are often bought in boxes of 5, 6, or 10 so there's a good chance some are left-over.
    – Criggie
    Jan 19 at 1:36
8

This answer assumes that all parts are free of the subfloor.

Ceramic is similar to glass in that broken pieces fit together with high precision. Use super glue (cyanoacrylate) to reassemble the tile carefully. The cracks will almost disappear if you have the right position. Be careful to not injure yourself on sharp edges.

Now clean all loose material out of the tile's space and reinstall it with a thin but thorough application of construction adhesive. You'll need to reapply matching grout once that's set hard.

2
  • 7
    "broken pieces fit together with high precision" unless, of course, small chips have disappeared over time. It's likely that this was broken by something being dropped on it, which may have also dislodged small chips which may have scattered. Still, an excellent option. +1 Any color difference could be hidden, possibly as simply as by using a colored marker, but that's fodder for a new question.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 18 at 14:18
  • 2
    Yeah, it's not at all a great situation to not have spares. We're making the best of it.
    – isherwood
    Jan 18 at 14:40
6
  1. remove the loose pieces.
  2. Use a grout saw to carefully cut the grout around the edges of the tile.
  3. Remove any more loose pieces (esp that lower triangular one).
  4. Try to figure out why it cracked in the first place. Usually either because the subfloor isn't rigid or due to voids under the tiles.
  5. You can either try to get the big piece up or not. Best tools to use here are a mini chipper attached to a reciprocating tool, but a sawzall with a masonry saw might be able to get under the remaining tile.
  6. Clean off the bottoms. Look hard for any markings and google aggressively. If at all possible, buy a new tile, or go to a tile store and try to find a match. Those look pretty generic, so an educated tile person may be able to find a match better than the internet can.
  7. If you can't replace it, set out the pieces and tape the tops of them together. Now carefully flip the whole thing (pizza peel is helpful) and use some epoxy to glue them back together. Some say crazy glue, but my experience is that epoxy provides more flexibility and a little more width, which helps.
  8. re-install tile.
  9. Re-grout. Depending on how much tile you've lost or shattered, it may be quite noticeable.
  10. Repeat the mantra "I will always save a few tiles from each project"
2
  • 1
    #5, get the big piece up or not. +1. If it sounds hollow when you tap on it, maybe try to pull it. If it's in there like swimwear, then leave it.
    – Mazura
    Jan 18 at 17:47
  • 2
    If OP can't buy a good match tile, then it might suit to buy the same size but completely different colour, and forgo any attempt to colour-match. Something like a "feature wall" of a different appearance,
    – Criggie
    Jan 19 at 1:38
1

This tile appears to be rather thin for a floor tile. If you are using a wall tile, this kind of breakage is to be expected.

You don't say what kind of tile it is - ceramic, porcelain etc

It could be patched up by using grout, if its not in a prominent place, since the grout is quite a close match to the tile colour.

1
  • Getting matching grout may well depend on the original color still being made and/or this not having been a custom mixed color.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 19 at 15:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.