DIY How to remove repair and replacement broken ceramic floor tile

DIY How to remove, repair and fix that broken ceramic or porcelain Floor or wall tile 

Anyone can repair their ceramic tile floor without spending hundreds of dollars!!!

First let’s assess the issue. Your bad tile has one of the following issues:
Grout Grind (grout sand up)
That being said, what is the initial cause of the current condition. 
If you said , “chipped”.…that”s your fault…that plate or coffee cup did some job…but none the less you can fix it without spending hardly any money.
If you said any of the other (3) then you’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t any fault of yours or anyone else in the household…and here is why. 
A properly set tile will never ever ever crack! They will always chip or flake. There are several conditions that will cause your ceramic tile to become loose or crack, which by the way causes grout grind. Knowing the cause of the issue will assist you in the repair to follow. 
Grout Grind is simply that, A loose tile that is moving or vibrating will 
eventually eat away at the grout line in your floor area. Here’s an easy example; if you hold two bricks, one in each hand, and sandwich a length of chalk between problem….however when you agitate the brick back and forth in opposite direction then the chalk powders and turns to dust…same results only you’re constantly sweeping the floor. 
Cool Note here! Did you know that your home is constantly vibrating. That’s right even when the house is empty and everyone is out for the day. Proven fact is that all building materials expand and contract. For this reason products have installation guideline to follow. They are called instructions. Even without expansion and contraction if the building is connected to the planet, which it is, it is in a constant state of vibration…..although you won’t be able to feel it. 

Back to the tile….. Cracking tile and loose tile are a result of improper installation,,,,, Period….
No other reason but this. The install made one or more of the following mistakes. 
  • No wet bed base or hardy backer board (cement board) Tiled over wood
  • Wrong thickness of hardy backer board
  • Improper bed of fortified mortar
  • Exceeded open work time and mortar skinned over

Wet bed or backer board
Required for any floor job. A wet bed is a mortar bed laid over top of galvanized mesh wire attached to the floor over a protective sheet barrier such as felt paper or membrane. In its place, the wonder of Hardy Backer Board may be use. However a minimum of 1/2″ thick either way must be used. Hardy Backer comes in a 3’x5′ (15sq ft) sheet. It is offered in two forms 1/4″ thick or 1/2″ think. 
The 1/4″ thick should only be used for walls i.e. bath, kitchen back splashes. The 1/2″ thick is for flooring. 
The cause of 1/4″ backer on the flooring allows too much motion in the form of flex when traffic passes over. The 1/2″ offers a stable base, like the wet bed when combined with the addition of a 3/8″ trowel out of fortified mortar and 1/4″ tile placed on that. That’s just about an inch of solid combined materials bonded together. So, your tile condition may be a result of thin base or the tile may have been installed directly over a wood base which is always a mistake. Remember the expansion and contraction of the wood. With combined materials above there is no way to crack the tile, UNLESS….
Improper Trowel Bed
Depending on the type of tile will determine the type of trowel to install the fortified mortar. Instructions by the manufacturer will dictate. Unfortunately, installers don’t always read direction as I assume it’s a blow to their ego’s…. This area covers 2 issues:

Wrong size trowel 
Wrong trowel application

When installing tile the correct notched trowel must be used for the type and size of the tile. There are many trowels notched at 1/16″, 1/8″, 1/4″, and 1/2″. Using the wrong trowel size can cause future problem. If a small 1/8″ trowel is used to place mortar for a 16″x16″ ceramic tile floor… can bet you’ll have trouble here, cracking tile, coming up, loose and the infamous grout grind. The condition here is the mortar bed is lacking and does not stand off the backer board. Here a minimum 3/8″ trowel should be used applying in a full coverage sweep resembling corn rows.
When you attempt to lift your bad tile if it comes up almost whole or in large pieces, then there typically was not enough mortar or fortified thinset. 

Exceeded open work time and mortar skinned over

This is self explanatory. Too large of an area after troweling out a section of fortified thinset mortar was exposed before tile install. Meaning that the troweled corn rows sat too long. This may cause skin over of the mortar which is simply that. The surface of the beaded corn rows started to cure reducing the adhesion when the tile is pressed into it. The rows are still wet inside but the surface isn’t. The tile being installed here would then be pressed into the trowel bed and the line on the back of the tile leave an indent impression on the skinned mortar. This may also cause that loose tile or more over classic Grout grind. Afterall, what’s holding that particular tile down other than the grout.
Now, since we covered everything cause wise it’s time to get on with your repair and replacement of the cracked damaged floor. Be careful to utilize safety here especially for your eyes. In the video below I am using basic tools to demonstrate a basic pull and replace. There are wider tools or even air driven tools that would speed along this job. Assuming you are not a contractor I’m using the basics here. You may already possess these simple tools”
Hammer, Chisel, broom gloves and safety glasses. Yup that’s it….go to town and save some money!!!

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Thanks for viewing, Vince.

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