A well-tiled surface – one that has been correctly prepared, hung, grouted and sealed – should give many years of service. Occasionally, though, a surface will be spoiled by discoloured grouting or a chipped tile. Both of these are very easy problems to solve.
Old grout can be quickly renovated with a renovation kit: liquid colourant, available in a range of colours can be brushed onto the existing clean and dry grout. Wash the tiles with sugar soap first and leave them to dry overnight. Paint on the colourant liquid and leave it for about an hour, then wet it with a sponge and wipe the excess colour away from the tiles. (The colour will adhere to the grout but not to the glazed tile surface.) These grout kits not only brighten up old grout but are also water-resistant once dry.
A tile that has a missing corner – often because it has been hit or has had something dropped on it – can be repaired by cutting a matching piece from a replacement tile. It’s always a good idea to keep and store any leftover tiles from the batch just for this purpose.
Step by Step Instructions
1 Making a template
Use a piece of tracing paper – or kitchen greaseproof paper – to make a template of the missing piece of tile. Hold the paper flat against the tile surface and carefully mark the exact shape using a pen or pencil.
2 Score and cut the tile
Transfer the template shape to the face of the new tile and score around the outline. Using pincers or Japanese nippers – and wearing protective goggles to shield your eyes from flying shards – carefully nibble away until you have made the new tile piece.
3 Hang the piece
Make sure the wall area is clean and dry – scrape out the old grout around the corner and vacuum out any loose material if possible. ‘Butter’ the back of the piece of tile rather than trying to apply adhesive to a small space. Make sure you apply enough adhesive and ridge it horizontally with the notched spreader. Press the new piece into place.
Allow the adhesive to dry completely, then touch up the surrounding grout. Use a cotton bud – or a small stick with the end wrapped in a clean cotton rag – to apply a very little grout to the join between the main part of the tile and the new piece. This will mask the join between the two. Remove excess grout, leave to dry and then polish.