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How to Replace Ceramic Floor Tiles

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by Fran Connors
(Chicago, USA)

Just like bricks are put into place with mortar, ceramic tiles are put in with the help of mortar and grout. Grout is the substance that is put in between tiles to allow them to stay in place. Both mortar and grout are extremely hard substances when they dry up, so removing ceramic tiles is definitely not so easy.

As always, you need some special tools to get the job done. For the removal of ceramic tiles, you need a grout saw, iron chisel, tile cutter, razor, mortar mix, hammer and grout. Additionally, it would help if you had some water on the side for cleaning purposes.

The first step is to remove the grout around the ceramic tile you wish to replace. To remove grout, you need to use the grout saw. Carefully remove the grout from all four sides of the tile, and go as deep as you can without cutting through the concrete at the bottom.

Next, you need to chip the ceramic tile as you just can’t lift it off the mortar. Place the iron chisel on the ceramic tile and hit it hard with a heavy hammer. Hit the ceramic tile several times to allow enough cracks in the tile. You could also use your tile cutter in between hits to ensure a cleaner crack.

You can use your own ways to hit down the ceramic tile, as the point in this is to remove the tile. Continue these ceramic tile removing techniques until you have a large number of pieces that you can easily remove.

Using a chisel and hammer, scrape out all the small pieces of the tile including the mortar. Ensure that you have a completely flat surface without any significant bump or grind. The next step will involve adding the new ceramic tile.

Using a putty knife, apply a layer of mortar on the spot where the new tile will go. Alternatively, some people prefer to apple the mortar to the back side of the tile, so you could do that as well.

Firmly press down the new tile into place without moving it around too much and make sure the spacing on all four sides is even. The mortar will take a couple of hours to dry, so in that time, it should not be moved around.

Finally, you need to insert grout into the sides of the ceramic tile filling up the open spaces. Use enough grout so that it levels off just like the rest of the tiles and clean off the remaining grout. Let it dry for two days and it should be rock solid again!

Updated: November 10, 2012 — 2:33 am

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