How to repair cracked floors tiles - tips from National Floors Direct

How to Repair Cracked Floor Tile

So, part of your flooring tile has cracked. This can be a worrying scenario for homeowners. 

Do you have to call someone out to repair the floor tile? Or completely replace the tiling in the room?

Luckily, repairing a cracked floor tile is easier than you think. Most tile issues can be fixed at home without the need for a professional. 

Keep reading to learn how to properly fix cracked floor tiles in your home. 

What Causes Cracked Floor Tile?

There are several ways tile can be damaged. Yes, floor tile can be broken by dropping a heavy object on it. However, several factors outside the homeowner's control can also lead to a cracked floor tile.

Drastic temperature changes are detrimental to the integrity of floor tiles, especially ones used for outdoor surfacing. If these tiles are not made with frost-proofing properties for outdoor use, they are prone to crack during harsh weather conditions.

Incorrect installation is the main reason floor tiles will crack. If there was an unsuitable adhesive used to secure the tiles in place, weak spots will form. Over time, these weak spots will reduce to cracks.

Sometimes, putting heavy objects over top of tiles for long periods will eventually cause cracked floor tiles. This is usually rare as most furniture isn't heavy enough to crack tile alone. However, when occurring simultaneously with other issues, this will damage your tile flooring.

How to Repair Floor Tile

There are several methods to repair cracked floor tile. Below are the most effective do-it-yourself methods for all scenarios. 

The Epoxy Method

Epoxy is the most common material used when repairing broken floor tile. Acting as glue, epoxy is a hardening mixture you can purchase from most home or hardware stores. 2-part epoxy kits are typically more effective than using 1-part epoxy.

To begin, make sure the tile is completely clean. Use a damp paper towel to clean the cracks and remove any dirt, dust, or debris. 

Use a piece of scrap wood or cardboard to mix the epoxy with a wooden popsicle stick. Once the two parts of the epoxy are blended, a chemical reaction will begin. This is what hardens the epoxy.

Once mixed, spread a thin layer of epoxy over the entire length of the crack in your floor tile. The mixture will slowly sink into the crack as it hardens. Make sure to cover about a centimeter on either side of the crack with epoxy as well.

Epoxy takes around 10-15 minutes to completely dry. When finished hardening, the epoxy should be firm to the touch. You can trim off any excess epoxy with a razor blade to ensure the tile surface is even.

Tinting the epoxy will help conceal the crack in the floor tile. There is a specific powdered dye designed to tint epoxy, which you can also find at most hardware stores. This is optional, as some tiles will match the color of epoxy.

Using Nail Polish

If you don't have epoxy handy or you're dealing with a crack larger than a hairline crack, nail polish can be used to repair cracked floor tile as well. 

On the widest part of the crack, apply wood glue in dollops in areas of the crack larger than 1 millimeter in width. Use your finger or another tool to smooth the wood glue in place. Wait 10 minutes for the wood glue to completely dry before moving on.

Creating a thin layer, use nail polish to paint along the entirety of the crack. Make sure to paint along the edges of the crack as well to make sure it blends correctly.

Nail polish will only work on glazed finish tiles, as nail polish dries glossy. Picking a nail polish color (or mixing a few) that matches the color of the cracked floor tile will help conceal the damage. After the nail polish is dried, use nail polish remover to remove any excess polish.

Try Different Glues

If you're in a pinch and can't locate any epoxy or wood glue, try experimenting with other glues to repair cracked floor tile. Superglue and Gorilla Glue will work as well.

Repair floor tiles using these glues the same way you would use epoxy.

Major Cracked Floor Tile Issues

If your floor tile is so cracked it appears shattered, your best option is to replace the entire tile. Replacing the floor tile correctly is critical, as you can cause more damage to neighboring tiles if performed incorrectly. 

First, use a grout scraper on the tile edge of the damaged tiles to scrape the grout from the affected tiles. Once the grout is removed up to the edges of the cracked floor tile, cover the tile with a towel. Using a hammer, smash the tile directly in the center of the broken tile.

Use a chisel and a hammer to remove any remaining shards of broken tile or grout that might remain. Sweep this debris up and completely clean the dust from the area. 

Next, apply a small layer of tile adhesive to the back of a new floor tile. Try choosing a floor tile from the same makers as your original tile flooring so it matches properly. To prevent air pockets, make sure the adhesive covers the entirety of the back of the floor tile.

Center your new floor tile and place it in the hole. Press it completely flat and make sure it lines up properly with the existing floor tile. Allow it to dry completely before applying grout in the gaps between tiles. 

Before letting the grout dry, wipe the tiles with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any excess grout or residue.

Repair Your Cracked Floor Tile

As a homeowner, you'll want to choose budget-conscious ways to make small repairs in your home. Cracked floor tile is an easy fix and can be completed within a day or two.

Have larger damage or want to completely replace your existing flooring? Contact us to speak with an expert in-home flooring repair and installation.