Replacing Damaged Ceramic Tiles

Lead Image for Replacing Damaged Ceramic Tiles
  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 1-25
What You'll Need
Drop cloths and other coverings
Replacement tiles
A grout saw
A clean cloth or sponge
Safety goggles
Latex gloves and work gloves
Mason's hammer
Large sponge
Putty knife
Wallboard patching plaster
Water based tile adhesive
Wall grout
Rubber spatula or flexible plastic spreader

Ceramic tiles become damaged for many reasons, but one of the most common involvEven though ceramic tiles are among the most durable of materials, problems can and do occur. It is important for homeowners to know how to replace damaged ceramic tiles.

Ceramic tiles become damaged for many reasons, but one of the most common involves substandard installation. If the ceramic tiles are installed over a surface that is not sufficiently solid, damage can result. Accessories installed on the tiles may damage them, and the tiles may need to be replaced.

Protect the Area

Lay a canvas drop cloth or other covering to protect nearby surfaces

Prepare the Area

Use a grout saw to remove the grout from around the damaged tile to reduce the risk of damaging adjacent tiles. Work slowly and carefully to avoid causing further damage.

Break the Damaged Tile

Use a chisel or a mason's hammer to break away the damaged tile. The damaged tile can be broken into as many pieces as necessary to remove it. Do not damage the base material. Wear protective goggles.

Prepare the Surface

Use a stiff putty knife to remove old adhesive or pieces of tile. If a hole was made in the wall while removing the tile, a patching plaster should be applied. If the hole is deeper than .25-inches, then it should be filled.

Apply Adhesive.

Coat the back of the replacement tile with a water-based adhesive using a putty knife. The coat of adhesive should be even, but not too thick. It is important to read the instructions carefully before proceeding.

Place the Tile

The tile should be pressed firmly in place; ensure that it is flat and level with the surrounding tiles. The corner of the putty knife can be used to clean excess adhesive that may seep between the tiles. Excess adhesive can be removed from the face of the tile using a cloth or damp sponge.


Once the tile has been pressed into place, the adhesive should be allowed to dry for at least 24 hours. Once the adhesive is dry, the grout should be mixed according to the manufacturers' specifications and pressed into the joints using a rubber spatula or a flexible plastic spreader. When applying the grout, be sure to press firmly and move across the tile joints in a diagonal manner.