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Repairing Tile
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Floor, counter, and wall tile can be repaired by a homeowner or by a professional. Often the task requires that a tile be replaced. This sounds simple enough, but extra steps are needed when you need to track down a tile to take its place. For those of you that don't need the extra hassle, consider hiring a professional to save you the time and frustration.

Common damages to tile include chips, cracks, scratches, discoloration and missing or cracked grout. Regardless of whether it is porcelain, ceramic or stone tile, replacement is usually the first means to repairing it. This process entails the removal of the grout, the removal of the old tile and the installation of a new replacement tile.

Often times you will have some saved tiles from the original installation that you can use during replacement. If you do not have the extra tiles needed, there are other options. For starters, you can try to integrate a set of new tiles in with the old ones. However, this may require a bit more time and energy since you will need to replace more than just one tile in order to create a new design.

Another alternative to replacing tiles would be to repair the chipped or cracked tile with porcelain filler. Porcelain filler dries real fast, doesn't shrink, takes paint real well, sands easily, and is inexpensive. However, using this approach will also require you to finish the surrounding tile and grout to match.

If you find that your tiles are loose and lifting, you have the option of replacing the loose tiles, re-grouting them or bonding them. Two common methods for bonding tiles include thin-set mortar and adhesive mastic. Generally, you will need thin-set mortar if there is cement below your loose tile.

In addition to tile replacement and repair, you may also need to invest in professional grout cleaning. Grout between tiles often retains dirt and grime. This happens because the grout hasn't been sealed or a sealer has not been periodically reapplied. Cleaning dirty grout usually involves scrubbing the grout and using a cleaning product.

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