Scrape away old grout using a grout saw, a rotary tool with a grout removal attachment or a multi-tool.
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2. REMOVE OLD TILE
Smash the old tile with a hammer, and pry it up. Go easy or you’ll crack adjoining grout joints.
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3. SMOOTH THE SURFACE
Chip away old adhesive, thin-set or mortar using the hammer and chisel or a multi-tool with a scraper attachment. Clear the debris.
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4. CHOOSE AN ADHESIVE
You’ll need adhesive made to bond the tile to the surface underneath. Mastic sets fast, so it’s great for backsplashes or wall tile – to prevent the tile from sliding down the surface. In an area with a lot of moisture or pressure, use Thin Set. It works like mortar or cement, but only takes a thin layer to bind surfaces.
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5. MIX YOUR ADHESIVE
Premixed thin set is convenient for small tile repairs. If you're using the bagged type, add water and let it slake according to the label. It should be about as thick as toothpaste or peanut butter.
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6. SPREAD THE ADHESIVE
Scoop adhesive with the flat edge of a 1/4-inch notched trowel and drop it on the bare floor, or the back of the new tile. Go over it with the notched edge. The ridges level out the adhesive so the tile surface has even contact on all areas. Otherwise the tile will crack or loosen.
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7. SET THE NEW TILE
Drop it gently in place and flat so the even layer of adhesive doesn’t shift. You don’t want to angle it into place. Shift it slightly to line up the edges. Press down evenly over the top so it’s not seated at an angle.
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8. LET THE ADHESIVE CURE
Usually about 24 hours. A quick-dry product dries in about 2 hours. Be sure to follow the product label instructions.
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9. MIX THE GROUT
Mix grout following the label – add too much or too little water and you won’t get a strong seal. Let it stand or “slake” a few minutes to absorb the water. You can also find pre-mixed grout to take some guesswork out of this step.
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10. SPREAD THE GROUT
Scoop grout onto the seams and use a grout float to work it into the seams. Don’t line up your stroke with the seams or you'll pull the grout out. Pull across diagonally to go against the direction of the seam.
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11. LET THE GROUT CURE
In about 15 minutes, wipe the surface lightly with a damp towel to remove the hazy coating that develops. After a few hours, buff the tile with a dry towel. Wait 24 hours before putting pressure on the tile.
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12. SEAL THE GROUT
Use grout sealant to prevent stains and water damage.
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13. HELPFUL TIP
Pre-mixed grout and adhesive in one is another time saver for small repairs like this.
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14. HELPFUL TIP
If you have bagged thinset leftover from a larger project, it’s fine to use. Add water and let it slake according to the label. It should be about as thick as toothpaste or peanut butter.
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15. HELPFUL TIP
Tile shards are sharp. Be sure to protect your eyes and hands from flying debris.
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16. HELPFUL TIP
If you have several broken tiles – it might mean the tile was installed wrong, or the surface underneath isn’t stable. You may want to call in a pro to fix the underlying problem.