Outdoor Tile Countertop: Tile Replacement Outdoor Tile Countertop: Tile Replacement

If your outdoor tile countertop has damaged or missing tiles, it is possible to replace the tiles without replacing the entire countertop. Ceramic tile is strong and can last many years, however, it's not unusual to have some cracked tiles that need repair.   You can remove damaged tiles or sections of tiles and substitute them with new tiles quite easily. Here's what to do.

Step 1 - Remove old Tiles

First, cut around the tiles you want to remove with a grout saw. Keep in mind, it may take several tries before you can create a good cut line. This is an important step because this will prevent the area around the broken tiles from cracking.
Next, use a hammer to break the tiles you want to replace into several pieces.  Wear safety glasses and cover the area you're breaking with a towel.

Remove the broken pieces of tile with a chisel and hammer. Start from a corner and move to the opposite side of the counter for the best results. After the broken tile has been removed, chip away the tile adhesive underneath and the grout as well. After you have removed all the old material, clean the countertop with a vacuum cleaner. You may have to use a brush to clean hard to reach spaces.

Step 2 - Install new Tiles

Use a notched trowel to apply tile adhesive to the back of the new tiles. Set them in place using a slight twisting motion, making sure that each tile is lined up evenly with the existing grout lines. It's also important to ensure that the tiles are level with the surrounding tiles. Once all the tiles have been applied, let the countertop cure for 24 hours.

After the tiles have cured, apply the grout. Mix it according to the manufacturer's instructions, making sure you only mix enough for the project. You can save the extra grout for other jobs.  

Add the grout to the empty areas around the new tile using a grout float. After five minutes, use a damp sponge to clean the top of the tiles and remove any haze that has accumulated on the surface. Again, let the area dry for 24 hours.  
Once you have waited for the counter to cure, apply a clear sealant to the newly applied grout with a paintbrush. Let the counter dry fully before using it again.  

Tips

When mixing the grout, make sure you measure the perfect amount of water. Too much water causes grout to crumble.
Grout sets in twenty minutes, so once you've created the mixture you have to work quickly. Sometimes it can be helpful to work with a partner or in sections so that the grout doesn't harden prematurely.

Replacing tile on an outdoor kitchen countertop is not difficult if you follow these simple steps. And if you do the project yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars in labor costs. Although replacing tiles is fairly easy, maintaining your tile countertop is the best way to ensure it lasts for years to come with minimal effort and cost.

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