Introduction

Tough Break
Photo: William A. Boyd
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A floor covered with ceramic tile is about as durable and low-maintenance a surface as you can get—until a cast-iron pot slips from your hand, or you drop the wrench when tightening that elbow joint under the bathroom sink. But even then, you'll be glad to have tile underfoot, because replacing a broken or chipped one is pretty simple to do. "It's a job most any homeowner can handle," says Joe Ferrante, a tiling contractor who's worked with the This Old House television show for nearly 20 years. On the following pages are Ferrante's steps for a perfect repair. Just make sure to follow one critical piece of advice. "Take it easy with the hammer," he says, "or you'll end up breaking more tiles."
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    Tools List

    • carbide tipped scorer
      Carbide-tipped scoring tool
    • drill
      Drill
    • brick hammer
      Hammer
    • cold chisel
      Chisel
    • drill
      1/4-inch notched trowel

    Shopping List

    1. REPLACEMENT TILE

    2. PAINTER'S TAPE
    (to protect surrounding tiles)

    3. GROUT