Even though a slate patio does not normally require much maintenance, it will eventually need some repairs no matter how well it has been laid or how well it has been looked after. Fortunately, slate has the major advantage of being quite easy to work with and removing, replacing or repairing a few slate stones in a patio can be done in a few hours without needing to pay for a tradesman. Proper maintenance and the application of an appropriate sealant will help to ensure that the patio needs minimal repairs in the future.
Step 1 – Remove the Grout around the Damaged Tile
Before you can remove the damaged tile, you will need to get rid of the grout in the seams between the tile to be removed and the ones that surround it. You can do this using a sturdy utility knife. Ensuring that the grout is thoroughly dug out using a knife will make the job of removing the damaged tile much easier and it will also prevent risk of damage to the surrounding tiles. Do not continue until you are sure that all of the grout has been removed.
Step 2 – Remove the Damaged Tile
To remove the damaged tile itself, you will need to break it up and remove it piece by piece from the mortar that holds it in place. Around the center of the tile, strike the surface with a hammer to crack it. If the tile is already cracked, then this may not be necessary. You will then need to remove each fragment of tile that is still in place by levering them up using the chisel. Work your way from the center of the tile to the edges. Be sure to work carefully when removing the pieces of tile on the edges as you can easily end up damaging the surrounding tile. Using the chisel, be sure that not only all of the old tile is removed, but also the old mortar. The surface needs to be level before applying a new tile.
Step 3 – Placing a New Slate Tile
Before placing the new slate tile, add an evenly applied layer of thin-set mortar into the space. Ensure that this thoroughly covers the surface as this will help to minimize the risk of cracks in the future. Put the new tile in place and make sure that it is firmly applied and level with the surrounding tiles. Leave the tile to set overnight before applying the grout. The next day, using an appropriate grout with a grouting gun, seal the seams between the tiles. Use a grout float to ensure that the grout gets evenly distributed throughout the gaps. Use a sponge to wipe off any excess on the surface of the tiles. Leave this for another couple of days before walking on the area.