Kitchen | | | | |
Replacing Damaged Kitchen Tile
Microwave Oven Buyer's Guide
A New Kitchen with a New Kitchen Island
Installing a New Garbage Disposal
Creating Kitchen Storage Space
A New Floor for Your New Kitchen
Changing Your Kitchen Counters
Dishwasher Repair and Information
Guide to Buying a New Kitchen Range
Replacing Your Ceramic Tile
Maintenance & Repair of Your Refrigerator
A Guide to Kitchen Ranges
Freezer Tips

Replacing Your Ceramic Tile

Got that home improvement itch? Wondering what in the world you are going to do with your kitchen? Need to repair or replace ceramic tile? Then here’s just enough information for you to be dangerous with grout and a trowel. You probably won’t go off and start your own remodeling business, but you’ll definitely have a kitchen that looks brand new.

Many times you might find that previous owners had not bothered to remove the old tile when laying carpet or linoleum. Easy enough for them, but might be a bit of a headache for you. You’ll need to inspect the tile once it is uncovered. Look for tiles with cracks and broken pieces and take note of how much glue is left behind. If a majority of the tiles are in poor repair, don’t bother cleaning them as your best bet is an entirely new floor. The same is true if you don’t like the color. Barring those two situations, let the re-invention begin!

Carpet glue gets feisty when spread on ceramic tile. The usual removal methods, chemical solvents and strippers, will most likely damage the tile beneath and then you’ll be replacing the entire floor anyway. What you need is dry ice. Yes, the mysterious substance that can turn bananas into hammers. Put on some big thick gloves and hold the dry ice for one or two minutes on the glue itself. Afterwards, gently scrape the glue from the surface of the tile. Another removal method, though not nearly as exciting as dry ice, is to use a heat gun to soften the glue, thus allowing for more gentle scraping.

Now you have clean tile. But wait! Some of the pieces are broken and cracked, just waiting to catch and store bits of food, lint, and other really small things you don’t want hanging around. For floor tiles, simply find a matching or complementary tile and replace the old tiles. Or, just replace them with random tiles/designs and keep everyone guessing.

Wall tile repair has several options. If you are happy with the design of the tile, simply cut replacement pieces and attach them using epoxy. If you’ve grown a wild hair and would rather your new kitchen to be featured in a magazine than look the same as it always has, then a couple of options are available to you.
Painting. Yes, you can paint tile. Whether you freehand or use a stencil, you need glossy enamel paints engineered for dishware. As we all know, practice makes perfect. On a sheet of paper do a few dry runs of the design you want. Once the tiles have been painted and scrutinized, toss them in the oven per the instructions found on the paint label. Let the new tiles cool, and then back to square one: remove and replace.

Mosaics. Grab some graph paper, a grease pencil, and mesh back pre-cut color tiles in whatever colors you like. Sketch out the design you’d like and the placement of colors. A common backsplash mosaic pattern is the “blocked flower” but feel free to let your creativity run wild. Mark each tile that will be replaced with the grease pencil and get to breaking. Once the way is clear, grab your graph paper guide and start to mosaic by numbers.

No matter what the original state of your tile may have been, step back, take a deep breath and soak up your invigorated kitchen. You deserve a pat on the back.

Nearly all the necessary tile replacement/repair equipment can be found at hobby or craft stores. For dry ice, a heat gun, and certain adhesives you’ll most likely need to get to a home improvement store. All tile jobs will require some form of adhesive, grout (which comes in various colors), a sponge or something similar, a trowel, and, of course, tiles. Most adhesives and grouts require a 24 hour dry time, but be sure to read all the labels. Good Luck!

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