Fixing Broken Tiles

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated July 7, 2021)

Do you have broken or worn-out located somewhere in your home? If so, then chances are you wish to have the tiles replaced and are considering whether or not to hire someone to complete this task in your stead. Before allowing any work to be started by any contractor, you may wish to consider doing the job yourself. Since this task only takes about 45 minutes of actual work to accomplish, but about three hours for work and material preparation, this is a perfect afternoon home improvement project. Use this step by step list and you are soon going to have replacement tile that looks like it was set by a professional.


  • Scoring tool or glass cutter
  • Tile chisel
  • Hammer
  • Drill with 1/4" ceramic bit, or a nail
  • Small notched trowel
  • Safety glasses


  • Replacement tile
  • Painter's tape
  • Thinset mortar
  • Grout


  1. Safety glasses. Throughout this process, you are going to want to wear your safety glasses. The reason for this is simple, you don't want to have any flying tile chips or dust get into your eyes, and irritate them.
  2. Grout. Using your scoring tool or glass cutter, begin to remove the old grout from around the damaged tile. Apply just enough pressure that the grout is going to be removed, but not enough that is going to cause a slip and damage the other, neighboring tiles.
  3. Apply tape. Use the painter's tape and "edge" the surrounding tiles. This is going to help protect those tiles from being damaged in the next step. As you are applying the tape, make sure that you complete encircle the tile that you are going to replace.
  4. Score the tile. Using your glass cutter or scoring tool, make an x in the center of the tile. This creates "fault lines" for the pressures of the next step to dissipate along, and not damage the surrounding tile.
  5. Holes. Using either the drill or the nail, create evenly spaced holes in each of the sections of the tile. This is going to help free the tiles from the floor, and easier to chisel out. As you are doing this, make sure that you do not dig into the floor beneath the tile, or you are going to create more problems for yourself.
  6. Remove Tile. Working outwards from the center of the tile, tap out each of the pieces of broken tile. Be gentle as you are doing this because, once again, you do not want to break the surrounding tiles nor dig into the materials underneath.
  7. Remove old grout/thinset. After you have removed all of the pieces of tile, take your chisel and remove or scrape off the old grout or cementing material that was underneath.
  8. Set new tile. Use the small notched trowel to set a little of the thinset into the place that the tile is going to go. For the best possible adhesive chances, make sure that you apply the cementing material onto the back of the tile as well as to the floor or wall. Setting the tile into the center of the space, make sure that you have an even amount of space on all sides, and that you provide gentle and firm pressure.
  9. Fill the joints. You are going to need to wait for at least two hours for the thinset to cure, as you are waiting, go ahead and mix a batch of grout. Using your trowel, or a rubber grout float, swipe some of the grout into the joints, and wait around 15 minutes for the material to harden. Once it has dried to the point that it no longer feels sticky to the touch, clean off the excess material with a damp cloth or sponge.
  10. Allow drying time. Do not walk or use the tile for 24 hours. This will ensure that the grout and thinset have dried properly. Once this has been done, you are finished with your tile replacement project.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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