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September 6th 2019
4 min read

How To Repair and Replace Damaged Bathroom Tiles

Tiles are the perfect material for your bathroom walls and floors, offering a hygienic, affordable, hard-wearing and great-looking finish.

But if you want them to stay looking their best, they require looking after, particularly in the high-traffic and high-moisture environment of a bathroom.

Failing to do so, will result in tiles which become built up in dirt, limescale and eventually crack.

How do you keep the grout in tiles clean?

Grout is one of the most tell-tale signs of ageing tiles – so keeping the grout clean is essential. Grout is prone to becoming discoloured, cracked and dirty, which can spoil the overall look of your bathroom tiles.

If you’re looking for a fail-proof way to clean the grout in your bathroom tiles, follow this method:

The first thing you need to do, is remove any dirt and grime with a scraper or a sponge and a good limescale-remover spray. You’ll be left with the mould that has become built into the tiles.

The next step is to scrub the area with bleach and a hard-bristled toothbrush. Pour 2 parts bleach and 1-part water into a small container, dip the toothbrush and scrub each section of the grout thoroughly. Leave it to soak in for 30 minutes.

Now, scrub the grout for a second time, and rinse thoroughly with water. 

How to replace grout in bathroom tiles.

Sometimes, the grime that’s built up on your bathroom tile grout has become so engrained, that it won’t budge. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that the grout is cracked in places, and it needs a touch up.

If that’s the case, then you need to replace the grout. You can’t put grout on top of old grout – it will end up looking messy.

You need to start by removing all of the original grout, by using a Stanley knife or a grout rake. Take out at least half the depth of the grout and chip away at the tile edges carefully, to avoid making cracks in them.

Before applying the new grout, prepare the area by wiping down the tiles with a clean, wet cloth. To apply the grout mixture, use a grout spreader or a trowel to work the grout into the joints, spreading it across the surface area of the tiles and working it into the gaps. It will dry within 20-30 minutes, so work on small areas at a time.

Clean off any remaining excess grout with a wet sponge. Finally, use a grout finisher to give a precise and neat appearance. 

How to remove hard water stains from tiles

If it’s stubborn limescale and hard water that’s building up on your tiles, don’t think about replacing them just yet.

The key to removing tough stains is the right cleaner.

If you’re looking for a tough solution, then this homemade concoction works as well as anything else. Mix half a cup of borax with half a cup of vinegar — the paste can be applied to the problem area before scrubbing down with a sponge.

How to prevent mould from building up in your bathroom tiles

Now your bathroom tiles are free from hard water stains and dirt, it’s important to look after them so that the grime doesn’t reoccur.

  • Air the bathroom as much as possible by opening a window when having a shower or bath
  • If you have an extractor fan, keep it on for 20 minutes after your shower or bath to remove moisture from the air
  • After you have a shower or bath, use a towel or squeegee to wipe down the tile surfaces
  • Regularly scrub your grout in your weekly bathroom clean.

If you want to prevent or reduce humidity in your bathroom, read this blog.  

How to replace a cracked tile

If you have a cracked bathroom tile, our advice is to remove it and replace it yourself.

If the tiles are up to just a couple of years old, the likelihood is that your supplier will still have some in stock. Our nationwide tile shops will help you to match the correct tile.

Once you have the replacement tile – we’d recommend buying a few, in case you break it or crack more tiles in the future – follow these steps:

  1. Clean the area of any dust or dirt.
  2. Remove the grout – using the method above. Be careful to not damage the surrounding tiles.
  3. Use a chisel or a drill to break up the tile. Angle the tool away from you and work from the centre outwards.
  4. Remove the old tile pieces one by one, while scraping the remaining adhesive underneath with a Stanley knife, to leave a smooth surface.
  5. Check that the new tile fits properly, put adhesive on the back of it and fit it into place. Ensure it is in place by tapping it with a rubber mallet.
  6. Fill the joints with new grout, using the method above.

Alternatively, if you’d had the tiles for a long time and they are no longer in stock, it could be worth thinking about replacing the rest of them too. If the cracked tile is behind the shower, you could get away with choosing contrasting tiles to create a feature wall, rather than replacing the whole room.

If you think all hope is lost for restoring your bathroom tiles, browse through our selection of bathroom wall and floor tiles. We also stock tile accessories, grout and adhesives.