Tile Repair Time? Here's What You Should Know About Tile Repair in South Shore

Tile is made to last, let there be no doubt about that. In fact, there are ancient tile installations that still look nearly pristine after thousands of years. But as durable as it is, it's not completely impervious to damage in South Shore homes. Chips, cracks, loose tiles, crumbling grout, peeling caulk and other issues do occur, and while that damage is unattractive, it's more than just a cosmetic issue. South Shore tile repair problems such as damaged flooring or walls can let in moisture that is capable of causing serious problems for your subfloor or floor joists, and they can also cause tripping injuries or cuts to bare feet and paws.

Because the installations are made up of individual units that can (in theory) just be swapped out for a new piece, many people assume tile repair is pretty easy. That's not necessarily the case. While minor chips and hairline cracks can be repaired fairly easily, more severe damage is best handled by a South Shore handyman who is experienced with tile repair services. That being said, this guide does explain the step-by-step instructions for two types of minor repairs if you are determined to give it a try yourself.

Whether you need a few small repairs here and there to get your floors or walls back in excellent condition or the tile repair process is going to need to be a bit more involved than that, you can trust the team of service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Central - Eastern Norfolk County and South Shore to get the job done right. We always deliver the highest standards of quality workmanship and top-notch customer service.

Why South Shore Tile Repair is Important

Problems like a cracked tile or deteriorating grout aren't that big of a deal for many South Shore homeowners. They tend to assume it's just a small spot of cosmetic damage that isn't really having a negative impact on anything. However, a wall or floor that is in need of tile repair can actually cause bigger issues than just not looking that great. Here are some of the key benefits of having a cracked, loose or broken tile taken care of sooner rather than later.

  • Prevent Water Damage: Most types of tile offer a protective, water-resistant layer that keeps moisture away from your subfloor, wall substrates and other parts of your house. That helps to protect South Shore residential and commercial buildings from the effects of water damage, including serious problems like wood rot that can affect the structural stability of the building. When pieces are damaged, they let water seep into the cracks and cause big issues. Tile repair will restore the protective qualities of your wall or floor covering and help you avoid moisture incursion problems.

  • Improve the Appearance of Your Home: You have invested money to have your floor or wall installed, and you've invested time to maintain it and keep it looking great. Problems like broken tiles are unattractive and can really spoil the design aesthetic of your room. Our South Shore repair pros can erase the damage with a completely invisible repair that will have your surface looking as good as the day it was installed.

  • Avoid Getting Injured: Cracked or missing pieces have sharp edges that can catch your toe and send you sprawling, or even cut the foot or paw of a person or pet who steps on it at exactly the wrong angle. Tile repair will give you peace of mind that your floor is in safe, sturdy condition and doesn't pose any risk of injury to you or others.

DIY South Shore Tile Repair, Or Leave It to the Pros?

If you're a handy type of person who has a selection of basic tools already available and enjoys doing repair work on your property, you're probably wondering if South Shore tile repair is one of the things you can just go ahead and handle by yourself.

If the problem in question is a small chip or hairline crack in ceramic or porcelain, chances are pretty good that you're going to be able to take care of it without the help of a South Shore repair professional. While the task of removing and replacing just one damaged piece is a lot more complicated and requires some special tools and techniques, it's still a reasonable project for a beginner to attempt. How easy it will be also depends on the type of repair—if you're dealing with large-format installation or a luxury material like marble or slate, it's going to be a lot trickier and you risk damaging an expensive piece (or multiple pieces) in the process.

If your South Shore flooring or wall has suffered more serious or widespread problems, you need a new tile installation or you just aren't willing and able to get down on the floor and attempt a repair on your own, the professional handymen on our team can take care of the entire project efficiently and effectively. We have completed dozens of tile repair and installation jobs in South Shore and Metro Boston, so you can count on us to get your tile repair done right.

DIY South Shore Tile Repair for a Small Chip or Crack:

Ready to try tile chip repair on porcelain or ceramic? The steps in this ceramic tile repair guide are pretty straight-forward, and you only need basic tools and items that you can get at your local South Shore hardware store.

  1. Wash the area in question thoroughly with a soapy rag or sponge and give it time to completely dry.

  2. Mix up clear or white epoxy by following the instructions on the package.

  3. Cover the grout lines around the piece you're working on with painter's tape to avoid getting any epoxy on your grout or adjacent tiles.

  4. Use a putty knife to slightly overfill your chip or hairline crack with epoxy.

  5. Smooth out filler and blend it into the surface so it is even, feathering the edges slightly (especially on a textured piece).

  6. Let it dry completely, which may take a couple of hours, then sand your filler with sandpaper or a sanding sponge to make sure it's smoothed into the surface of your piece.

  7. If you aren't sure whether the paint you have is a solid color match for your installation, test it on an inconspicuous area first, keeping in mind that it will be a bit lighter when it dries.

  8. Apply two coats of paint over top of your epoxy filler with a small brush and let it dry. Your paint could take anywhere from a few hours to a couple days to fully cure, so refer to the manufacturer's instructions for recommended drying times.

  9. Seal paint with a few coats of water-based urethane and make sure it is completely cured before anyone touches or walks on your repair.

DIY South Shore Tile Repair: How to Replace One Tile

If you've got one broken, smashed tile and you want to replace it, you will need some specialized tools—most notably, a grout saw or carbide-tipped scoring tool to help you get the old grout and mortar loose. It's also really important that you wear safety goggles or some type of protective eyewear, because there's going to be plenty of dust and possibly some small shards of ceramic flying around.

It's worth noting that if you only have one extra replacement piece available, you only have one chance to get this right. If you're not totally confident in your tile repair abilities because this is your first try, it makes sense to let a South Shore handyman professional take over and get it done correctly in one go.

  1. Place a dust sheet or at least some old newspaper around your repair zone (grout removal gets pretty messy).

  2. Wash the area with mild detergent or a vinegar and water mixture and let it dry out thoroughly.

  3. While wearing protective eyewear and a mask, use a grout saw or carbide-tipped scoring tool to remove the grout around the damaged piece, taking care not to damage nearby tiles.

  4. Once the grout is removed, cover your damaged piece with a drop cloth and tap it firmly with a hammer a few times to further break up the remnants.

  5. Carefully pry the broken pieces up with a chisel, slowly separating them from the thin-set mortar that attaches it to the substrate. It's important to take your time and avoid gouging the subfloor or backer board.

  6. When you've got all the chunks of tile up, use your chisel to chip away the rest of the mortar, again being careful not to damage material underneath.

  7. Clean up remaining dust and loose chunks of mortar with a wet-dry vacuum, leaving a smooth, clean surface to place your new piece on.

  8. Apply pre-mixed thin-set mortar directly on to the subfloor or wall where the new piece is going to go, then use a notched trowel to create a ridged texture. Repeat the process on the back of your new tile.

  9. Gently drop or press your new piece into place, making sure to keep it flat and parallel to your floor or wall it is being applied on. It is important that it hits the empty space as evenly as possible—putting one side or corner down first will press down the thin-set on one side and the whole piece will end up sitting unevenly. Also remember that you need an even gap for grout along every side.

  10. Give the thin-set time to dry according to the drying time recommendations in the package instructions. It generally takes 24 hours but quick-drying varieties are able to cure in a shorter amount of time.

  11. Mix up your grout, following instructions on your grout package label. Or better yet, use pre-mixed grout.

  12. Use a rubber grout float at a 45-degree angle to smooth grout into the spaces around the edge of your new piece.

  13. Allow grout to dry completely until it is no longer tacky, then use a damp sponge to wipe away excess mortar from the lines or surface of your piece.

  14. Wait at least 24 hours before you walk on your new installation or apply any pressure to it.

Common Causes of Damage In South Shore

In many South Shore tile repair situations, you are very well aware of what caused the damage in the first place. Maybe you saw it happen right in front of your horrified eyes—or maybe the guilty party confessed after the fact. But sometimes the source of the problem is a mystery.

Here are some of the most common causes of damage that requires South Shore tile repair service:

  • Damage that wasn't very noticeable at first, like a tiny hairline crack, can weaken a piece in such a way that even normal pressure from being stepped on can cause it to fall apart

  • Accidental impact damage from something heavy falling or bumping into your tile, such as a heavy piece of furniture being dropped on the floor

  • Buildings shift and settle over the years, and that movement can cause a grout joint to crack or crumble apart

  • Foundation issues such as sinking or heaving can disrupt your subfloor and cause serious damage to your tile floors or even the walls

  • If your floor joists are too far apart or have another issue from being incorrectly installed, or they have been softened by wood rot, the heavy weight of a tile floor can cause sagging that results in extensive damage

When You Need South Shore Tile Repair Services, Count on Your Local Handyman!

Whether you are in Marshfield, Duxbury, Hanover or another part of the South Shore or Metro Boston areas, you can get the tile repair services you need from the team of professionals at Mr. Handyman of Central - Eastern Norfolk County and South Shore. That includes grout repairs, tile installation and dozens of other helpful handyman services for your residential or commercial property.

Get in touch with us today by picking up the phone and calling 508-465-2092 to book a convenient appointment, or to speak with our friendly customer service staff about what else we can do to transform your South Shore home and make your life easier.