Step 1: Cut Around the Damaged Tile
Isolate the tile by first removing the grout that surrounds it with a grout saw so that when you hammer it out the shock waves from the hammering don’t damage the surrounding tiles. Use an inexpensive grout saw to remove the grout — it will take some time to cut all the way through (image 1). Alternatively, consider using a rotary tool with a cutting tip to take out the grout (image 2). Rotary tools are more expensive, but they save time.
Step 2: Break Up the Damaged Tile
Once the grout is out, lay a cloth over the tile and use a hammer to break the tile beneath into more manageable pieces. Remove the tile pieces, wearing gloves if they’re sharp.
Step 3: Remove the Old Adhesive
Use a chisel to lift the old tile adhesive from the floor. Be careful not to gouge the floor beneath the adhesive.
Step 4: Clean the Subfloor
Vacuum the debris from the chiseling. If the floor’s not completely clean, the new tile won’t adhere properly.
Step 5: Spread Adhesive on the Tile
“Butter” the back of the tile with tile adhesive using a putty knife. Then use a notched trowel to smooth the adhesive evenly across the back of the tile.
Step 6: Set the Tile
Place the tile and tap it down firmly with a hammer handle to make sure it’s attached to the floor. Let the adhesive cure thoroughly according to the manufacturers instructions. Usually this is a minimum of 24 hours.
Step 7: Apply the Grout
Use a grout float to press the grout around the edges of the tile. Use a damp sponge or towel to wipe the excess from the top of the tile. Buff the tiles around your repair to remove the haze left when the grout has started to dry.