How to replace old ceramic tile on the floor?

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Posted by: from Brampton
9/11/2015 at 9:26:11 AM

Good day,

One of the tiles on my kitchen floor started to move, so I took it out. Now I am thinking how to put it back in properly. Can u please give an advice? Do I have to flatten the floor a bit removing an old cement? ALso should I put cement, mortar or glue to attache it to the OSB floor.

Thank you!

How to replace old ceramic tile on the floor?
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Date/Time9/11/2015 at 12:12:55 PM

Hey, thanks for the question.

My advice would be to make sure the floors completely clean so it's only the original wood floor and then back butter the new tile with mortar meaning put the mortar on the tile, scrape it and then place it and then put the spacers so it doesn't move and then don't step on it for 24 hours.

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Dima in Brampton
Date/Time9/11/2015 at 12:28:05 PM

Thank you for your help, so I have to actually apply mortar to tile not to floor ? Is this mortar good enough ?

What do I use for spaces between the tiles, regular cement ?

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Date/Time9/11/2015 at 12:50:55 PM


For the best results, remove as much of the underlying cement as possible. (otherwise the tiles will not be equal height)I would suggest matching the type of adhesive with whatever the other tiles have. It looks like a cement base, use the same. Another type of "glue" will work but you may run into difficulty with height of the tile in relation to the other surounding tiles and thegrouting may not adhere as it should.

Good luck.

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Date/Time9/11/2015 at 3:53:19 PM

For me I take out all the old grout surrounding the loose/broken tile, remove the old morter from under the tile in question. Make sure the tile is clean, no old mortar, preferebly a new tile if you have one, re mortar the base and let set. Re-grout the following day.

I'm sure there are several other ways of dealing with this.

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Date/Time9/11/2015 at 5:25:51 PM

For spacers: you can buy little rubber spacers made for spacing tiles. you stick those in so the tile doesn't move and when its dry, take them out and then grout and again stay off for about 24 hours. And yes, mortar the tile, it will be easier, and again make sure there is no old mortar left as it will cause an uneven finished product.

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Date/Time9/11/2015 at 5:27:30 PM

Sorry forgot, about the mortar, buy a ready to apply mortar... that bag is enough to an entire washroom, walls and shower HAHA.... you won't need a lot. that bag will go to waste and it will be a lot of work for one tile.

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Dima in Brampton
Date/Time9/11/2015 at 5:29:27 PM

Great thank you! Will try that over the weekend.

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Date/Time9/11/2015 at 10:10:44 PM

I would grind the old cement as good as possible, trying to get under the tiles already there (to have some cement go in there) cover the space with cement and put tile. I would use my eye to have even space. Make sure you are flush with other tiles. Apply grout next day.

All the best,

Craftmen Contractors

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Date/Time9/12/2015 at 11:39:45 AM

Hi Dima,

So to answer your question, here are some things to consider. If your tile popped off, maybe there was a poor installation job causing it to come up, and quite possibly have that issue again with other tiles later on.

Now as for replacing the tiles, you will want to scrape down all the existing morter from the back of the tile and the floor underneath as well. A good tool we use is a dremel with a grout attachment, works very well and quick. Otherwise some manual hammer and chisel will also do the trick. Careful thought not to pull up the other tiles.

Now when installing it back down, it is very important to know what the surface your installing it onto is. If it is plywood subfloor, you MUST use a modified thinset and I would suggest a kerabond morter for that. Do yourself a favour and NEVER use pre-mixed morters on the floor, that stuff is not the same as a morter its a glue and takes forever to properly dry and set and chances are it will peel up again.

As for the installation make sure to put some morter in the spot where the tile is to go, use a trowel to properly make grooves in the morter as this is what creates the suction and holds the tile to the ground when you push it down, make sure you back butter the tile meaning to put a little morter on the back of the tile and scrape it around until it covers the little squares on the back of the tile and then scrape all excess off. I personally would use any spacers because it will be easy to align it to everything else there already, just line up all the grout lines.

Then do not step on it for 24 hours and you are ready to grout the next day. To do this properly please make sure you do the following exactly

1. Use a "modified thinset" morter and nothing else if it is over plywood, only that morter is designed to stick to plywood.

2. Never use pre-mixed morter/glue it is a horrible product.

3. Make sure to trowel the morter and leave grooves in the morter on the floor and back butter the tile.

If you do all of those things properly, chances are that tile will out last whatever is there right now.

Good luck and I hope that helps!

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Dima in Brampton
Date/Time9/13/2015 at 2:37:36 PM

Hi guys, thank you for all your help. So I scraped old mortar, how ever for some reason it appears that there are half cement half wood. and it makes area level uneven. I cant remove that cement as it looks like a base and does not come off. What would u recommend ?

1. Just use apply to new mortar and pu more mortar on the side that is lower ?

2. Maybe there is a way to make an area even, like make a liquid cement and fill the area a bit to flatten it ?

How to replace old ceramic tile on the floor?
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Shawn from Mota-Works Inc in Calgary
Date/Time9/13/2015 at 10:56:44 PM

The floor looks like plywood which you can prime with a suitable bonding agent (I have found mapei primer L diluted down to 50% with water applied with a roller works very well to make the top bond well.

Look for places where a few judicious screws may be applied to secure the subfloor.

(A question at this point would be is this subfloor 2 layers or a single layer of plywood??? ..look in a vent to see.)

Let the primer soak in till it is able to be touched without transfer, then apply a base coat of mortar of necessary thickness,

Then apply mortar to the back of the tile

*(I recommend custom versabond flex)

The tile must be worked into its bed until level and in line, spacers help sometimes but aren't always necessary.

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