How to re­pair a chipped tile with epoxy and paint

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: I have a gor­geous white tile floor in my home. It’s a long story, but I dropped some­thing and chipped a tile. I tried to hide it with a throw rug, but my wife caught me. To get out of the dog­house, I need to re­pair the tile. Do I have to take out the old tile and re­place it with a new one? I would think match­ing the grout would be very hard to do. Is there an­other way to re­pair the chipped tile that will work and get me back into the good graces of my bet­ter half ?

An­swer: I’m re­minded of the time 40 years ago when I ru­ined some brand new ce­ramic tile in the kitchen of my se­cond home. It was oneof-a-kind hand-painted back­splash tile near a sink that I sprayed with molten cop­per and steel. I need not go into the de­tails about how that hap­pened, but suf­fice it to say my bet­ter half was stand­ing next to me just be­fore the fool­ish ac­ci­dent and had asked me if I knew what I was do­ing. The sparks, smoke and molten splat­ter told her all she needed to know.

Here’s the good news. You’re go­ing to be able to re­pair the chipped ce­ramic tile in less than a day. You do have op­tions with re­spect to how to ac­com­plish the task. I rec­om­mend you also buy a box of fine choco­lates to sup­ple­ment your peace of­fer­ing.

Let’s dis­cuss the op­tion of re­plac­ing the chipped tile. Some­times you have to do that be­cause the chip is so big that you may not have the skill set to re­pair it us­ing the se­cond method I’ll de­scribe.

If you de­cide to re­move a ce­ramic floor tile, first make sure you have an ex­act match of the tile. Most peo­ple don’t keep left­over tile at their homes. I feel that builders and re­mod­el­ers should al­ways leave be­hind spare tile, in the boxes it came in. Home­own­ers should keep the tile and hand it off to fu­ture own­ers when they sell the home.

In ad­di­tion to sav­ing the spare tile, it would be great if you had some of the orig­i­nal sanded grout. It’s harder to pre­serve sanded grout be­cause the Port­land ce­ment in the prod­uct wants to har­den as it’s ex­posed to hu­mid air. To pre­serve it, you need to place it in a tightly sealed con­tainer and freeze it. The air in­side most freez­ers is ex­cep­tion­ally dry.

If you don’t have any spare grout, then you have to match it. If you don’t get a per­fect match, the new grout line sur­round­ing the re­placed tile will look worse than the cur­rent chip! If you do de­cide to re­place the tile, then you need to deep clean the tile and grout first and al­low the grout to dry so you can see its true color. I rec­om­mend us­ing cer­ti­fied or­ganic oxy­gen bleach to clean tile grout.

The pho­to­graph you sent me is ex­cel­lent. The chip ap­pears to be the size of a green pea or pen­cil eraser. I’ve re­paired many chips like this in less than four hours. You’re go­ing to do the same.

First, make sure the chipped area is clean and free of all dirt, dust, oil, etc. Once it’s clean, you’re go­ing to mix up some rapid-set clear or white epoxy. The epoxy I use sets up in about five min­utes af­ter it’s mixed.

I’ve had great suc­cess with a prod­uct that’s the con­sis­tency of honey when it’s mixed. It’s self­level­ing and works great in the field area of a tile. You add just enough epoxy so it flows and is the same level as the sur­round­ing glazed fin­ish.

In your case, you’re go­ing to have to work a lit­tle harder be­cause your chip is on the edge ad­ja­cent to the sanded grout. This area of the tile of­ten has a slightly rounded pro­file, and you don’t want the epoxy to run down onto the grout. You’ll have to add the epoxy in at least two ap­pli­ca­tions and build up lay­ers over a pe­riod of 30 min­utes.

Once you get the epoxy placed and the chip is filled to the right height and pro­file, you paint the epoxy with a match­ing paint. You’ll use a fine artist brush so you don’t get any paint on the ad­ja­cent tile or grout. Put on at least two coats. Once the paint is cured — this could take sev­eral days — then you coat the paint with three coats of wa­ter-based clear ure­thane.

Tim Carter

Ask the Builder

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.