Tiles that have been damaged due to heavy objects being dropped on them usually have star-shaped cracking, and are candidates for replacement – if you have or can get spares. If you do not have spares saved from the original installation, finding tiles that are an exact match dimensionally and aesthetically may be very difficult, if not impossible.
MYTH: A whole tile can be removed under the refrigerator – without breaking it – and used to replace a broken tile in a more visible area.
NOT LIKELY: If the tile is installed properly, it cannot be removed without breaking it, and possibly several adjacent tiles, as well.
(Hint: Buying and keeping extra tiles for future repairs is very cheap insurance that you may only be able to buy at the time of installation.)
There are many possible causes for loose or broken tiles, and it is important to diagnose the cause correctly before jumping into a repair project.
- Do you hear a crunching sound when you walk on the tile? If so, you probably have a disintegrating mortar bed or an improperly secured cement backerboard flexing up and down on ring-shank nails. NOT REPAIRABLE
- Is the grout breaking and popping out of the joints all over the floor? If so, the bond between the back of the tiles and the substrate is probably broken. NOT REPAIRABLE
Whatever the symptoms, if the problem is widespread, the re-bonding solution is probably too expensive to be practical even if it is possible.
Is the damage very localized? If so, it might be repairable, but it depends upon the specific cause. We must first determine that the subfloor is not flexing, that the backerboard is not loose, that the grout joint is not superimposed over an open joint between sheets of backerboard or plywood, that the tile does not span an expansion joint in the concrete slab below the tile, and that there is no vertical movement in the footer or foundation wall.
If replacement tiles are available, Columbia Tile & Grout can remove the damaged tiles and install new ones in their place.