How to Repair Bathroom Tile in 5 Steps

cracked tile
  • 4-24 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-5,000
What You'll Need
Grout Remover
Nail Punch or hammer
Putty knife
Utility knife
Replacement tile
Eye Protection

Your bathroom tile might be in need of repair if you have a few broken or stained tiles on your floor. Bathroom tile repair costs far less than completely renovating or replacing it. If you follow these simple steps to complete this do-it-yourself project you will be repairing broken and cracked tiles like a pro in no time flat.

Step 1 - Remove Grout

Using a utility knife, remove all of the grout around the damaged tile. If it’s soft grout, just pull at the grout with the knife until it all peels. If it’s hard grout, you will need to use a grout remover. Follow the packaging instructions. These products can take up to an hour to work. When using grout remover, be careful not to spill it on the ground around other tiles.

Step 2 - Remove Old Tile

Depending on how the tile was attached to the floor, removing it can be very easy or very hard. If the tile is just lying in place, then all you have to do is pull it out. Most of the time, floor tiles have been set in using an adhesive. If it’s been many years since your last flooring job, the adhesive may be very hard to remove.

If the tile is held fast, you can loosen it using a nail punch. Punch a hole in the broken tile and start to chisel at the tile and the adhesive. You can use the hammer and chisel on the outside edge of the tile, working inward to avoid damaging other tiles. You may cause some damage to the sub-floor while doing this, but the new tile will conceal it nicely.

Step 3 - Prepare for New Tile

Ensure that there is no debris left on the work area from the old tiles, especially if you had to break any of them while removing them. Vacuum up all remaining dust and leftover grout and adhesive even if you don't see any. Doing this will reduce adhesion issues that might otherwise arise down the road.

Place the tile on the bare spot before you glue it in. Make sure it doesn’t rock and that it’s even with the other tiles. If it stands higher, you will need to remove more of the adhesive underneath. If it rocks then you will need to remove the debris until it does sit evenly.

Step 4 - Place The New Tile

Prepare the new tile by applying a thin layer of adhesive on the back using your putty knife. Don’t bring the adhesive any closer than one half of an inch from the edge. Set the tile in place by wiggling it back and forth. Make absolutely certain that the tile's securely placed exactly where you want it to stay and then give it at least 24 hours to set up before allowing foot traffic to tread upon it.

Step 5 - Grout

Apply the grout with a putty knife, but only after the adhesive has completely dried. Use a damp sponge to wipe away any excess grout from around the other tiles.