Restoring Ceramic Tiles

by April Reinhardt
(last updated April 11, 2016)

While ceramic tiles look beautiful and shiny when brand-new, over time they can become stained, chipped, cracked, loose, and the grout in between can become discolored. Once any of those things happen to ceramic tiling, the overall look of the tile is dingy. In certain situations, however, you can restore the tiles to their new luster, instead of going to the expense and labor of replacing them. If you're a homeowner who doesn't mind a challenge, here are some tips you can use for restoring your ceramic tiles:

  • Stained tile. For simple stains, such as soap scum, use a soft scouring pad and scouring product designed specifically to clean, but not to scratch, the tile surface. For embedded stains, such as rust, hard water stains, and lime deposits, use a product specifically made for ceramic tile and follow the directions precisely. Most of those types of cleaning agents contain acid and, if you don't follow the directions, your risk etching the surface of the tile.
  • Chipped tile. If the tile is actually chipped, and not cracked, then you might first try to repair the chip by painting it. Visit a flooring store that carries ceramic tile and speak with a qualified salesman to learn about paint that you can purchase for your tile. Most ceramic tile paints are comprised of both oil paint and epoxy. If you have a very deep chip or the entire corner of the tile is missing, you can fill it with epoxy putty, sand it, and then paint it to match the surrounding tile.
  • Cracked tile. Hairline cracks are easy to repair since you only need to touch them up with ceramic tile paint or epoxy, sand away extraneous material once it hardens, and then paint to match. If the crack is deep and continues into the surrounding grout, remove the grout and replace it.
  • Glue residue on tile. It is a little difficult to remove glue or adhesives from tile, but not impossible. The best methods are to use dry ice or a heat gun, using a plastic putty knife to scrape away the glue. Wear gloves when using the dry ice, as it will burn your skin if you touch it with bare fingers. Place the dry ice onto the glue for a few minutes, and then chip the glue away from the tile with the plastic putty knife. If you don't want to use dry ice, use a heat gun to make the glue pliable, and then scrape it away with the putty knife.

Try the methods outlined above to restore your ceramic tile. Sometimes the process can be laborious, but you will save quite a bit of money if any of the methods work since the only other alterative is to replace the tile completely.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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