Ceramic tiles can crack or come unhinged after time. Luckily, because they come in tiles rather than as a complete set, it’s easy to fix them when they come loose or one gets cracked.
Fixing Loose Tiles
To handle one or more that come loose, simply remove the loose tiles. If the adjoining ones are also loose, scrape out the grout around them and then carefully pry them out, too. Slip a narrow putty knife under them to break loose any remaining mastic. Scrape the underside of the tiles and the underlayment to remove old mastic, then put fresh mastic on the underlayment and press the tiles into place. Allow the mastic to dry for 24 hours and then regrout the tiles.
Fixing Broken Tiles
Cracked or broken tiles for counters or floors are removed and replaced in the same manner. You remove the broken tiles and pieces, if they come apart, from the area with the adhesive using a putty knife. The problem is that you can break the tiles around them if you’re not careful, so consider breaking it into smaller pieces rather than trying to take out the whole chunk at once. For larger tiles, you can also drill several holes and break up the tile that way. Don’t drill too deep to keep from breaking the waterproofing membrane that keeps water from getting on the floor underneath the bathtub. Cut the grout around the tiles first, then pry out the broken pieces, clean the underlayment, put the new tile down in fresh mastic, and regrout.