(This is Part 1 of a 2-part series. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)
Porcelain floor tile is a beautiful floor that is generally very durable. However, sometimes you will run across a porcelain tile that has been chipped or cracked. In that case, you should be able to take it up and replace it. Here are the basics of how to get started with the project of replacing a porcelain floor tile.
Step 1- Locate a Replacement
Before you embark on the job of replacing a porcelain tile, you should first locate a suitable replacement. Your best bet is to try to find a tile that was leftover from the original installation. If you do not have any tile left over from the job, it can be very difficult to find an exact match. Most tile companies stop manufacturing a style after a few years. They will then replace it with something different. This means that unless you recently installed the tile, you will not usually be able to find an exact match. Sometimes, you have to settle for a tile that will be close enough. Be sure to check in the garage, basement, or attic to see if you have any extras.
Step 2- Protect the Surrounding Tiles
Before starting to take out the damaged tile, you will need to provide some type of protection for the surrounding tiles. You can do this by putting several layers of tape around the damaged tile. While this will not fully protect you from damaging other tiles, it will help a little bit. If you can use masking tape or duct tape, this would be best.
Step 3- Take out the Grout
In order to get the damaged tile out, you will first need to remove the grout surrounding it. You can do this in a number of different ways. If you have access to a grout saw, this would be the best option if handled adequately. This allows you to grind out the grout with a sharp blade. You can also get attachments such as a burr drill bit that will hook up to a rotary tool such as a Dremmel, or even to a standard electric drill. If you do not have access to any of these tools, you could simply choose to use a thin blade screwdriver with a hammer. Regardless of which method you use, you need to be very careful that you do not damage the surrounding tiles.
Step 4- Drill into the Tile
Take an electric drill and attach a small ceramic drill bit to it. You can then use the ceramic bit to drill a series of holes into the middle of the tile. Creating several holes in the surface of the tile will make it easier to break and extract without damaging the surrounding tiles.
Step 5- Chip up the Tile
Take your chisel and hammer and start breaking the middle of the tile. Put the end of the chisel on one of the drilled holes to start. Keep chiseling until you get all of the tile out.
Step 6- Clean Up
Use a scraper to scrape out all the adhesive from the recess. Make sure that the opening is completely cleaned out before moving on.