This was by far the most gut wrenching project I’ve done. Mainly because I didn’t have a lot of confidence I could do it. Better yet, I didn’t think I could do it well.
Let me backup. So two weeks ago, I was absolutely exhausted so I asked my husband to bring home a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I was actually asleep on the couch when he got home (remember, exhausted) and so he made some macaroni and cheese to go with it for dinner. I got up once I heard him moving around, and helped him finish up. We ate dinner, and as we were laying on the couch we heard a huge bang that sounded like glass breaking.
He ran into the kitchen and all I hear is him yelling at our cat Cutie. I go in and she knocked the glass container (with the lid on it) onto the ground to try and eat the chicken. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Pyrex container shattered one of the floor tiles in our kitchen. Boyyyy was my husband mad. He had a good rant about it, and didn’t say a word for the rest of the night. He didn’t even want to look at Cutie for days it felt like.
Our first thought was to call a contractor, which I did. I called the contractor that initially installed the tile, but he must have gotten a new number because the person that answered told me I had the wrong number. At that point, Bryan and I decided to talk to his father to see if he’d help us fix it. He of course said yes, but as the day got closer and closer, Bryan got a little nervous about him & I fixing it ourselves since he’d be working.
On that Friday night we went to Lowe’s & Home Depot to grab the supplies we would need. We asked a ton of questions to the guy that worked in that department at Home Depot; he was such a huge help. At that point, I felt very confident that I could do this myself. I told Bryan that, and he told me to wait until his Dad could help me. If you know anything about me, if I think I can do it, I’m sure as hell going to try.
So I didn’t say anything to him or his Dad the next day, but I woke up and got right to work. I didn’t want to wait too long because then my nerves would have gotten the best of me.
Now that you’ve got the back story, I fixed the dang tile! Almost all by myself.
Let me explain:
My first step was to remove the shattered tile and clean up what was underneath it. I used a hammer and chisel, and carefully took the tile out. I then starting realizing that about five tiles around the shattered one, were super loose. Instead of letting it go, I took all those tiles out too. Might as well fix it all at once rather than fixing the one tile and then having to go back later. It took me about an hour and a half to get all the loose tile up. This was the hardest part I think, because I had to be very careful to take the tile out one by one, without causing too much vibration that the other surrounding tiles also didn’t come loose.
(This yellowish-orange tile is what was originally in our kitchen)
Once I got them all up and cleaned, I was ready to start relaying all the tile back down. So I opened the container of pre-mixed mortar, and began to scrape it onto the tile and onto the space on the floor where it would be re-laid. We used this pre-mixed mortar from Lowe’s, and this tile trowel. I watched a few YouTube videos, and they said to apply the mortar in a random pattern with the trowel so that it really grabs onto whatever you’re adhering it to.
Once I got all the tile down, I noticed that one tile was sitting a bit higher than the others. This was because I was reusing the previous tiles that didn’t break, it was just one of the loose ones surrounding the broken tile. At that point, I called my father in law for his advice. He said to take the tile back up and bring it to his house so he could grind down the old mortar that was on the back of the tile. I went to his house and he filed it all off for me & I had the tile laid back down within an hour.
This is what it looked like when I was done laying the tile:
(Apologies for the bad quality, took it off of a video)
At this point, I left it for 24 hours to set. I placed these books around the tile that was redone because I didn’t want anyone walking on them for the entire 24 hours. Our cats I’m sure walked on them, but that’s not enough weight to mess anything up.
The next day it was finally time to grout! This was my favorite part, and where I learned something. This is the grout we used from Home Depot, in delorean grey. I just put some grout onto the tool, and worked it in. This part was wayyy easy.
I read online to let it dry a bit before wiping off.
Note: DO NOT DO THAT. Only let it sit for a few minutes, I’m talking like 5, maybe 10 at the max. I let it sit for about 30 minutes, and it was pretty much dry on the tile so it made it harder to wipe off the excess. It wasn’t a big deal, just needed to use a little more elbow grease than I should have needed to. I used a tile sponge, like this one, to wipe away any excess grout on the tile.
Everything I read said to stay off of it for a few days after you grout, so that’s exactly what we did. I finished it up on a Sunday, and we started walking on it around Wednesday evening.
Here it is folks! All fixed, like nothing ever happened.
I was really anxious about doing this project on my own, but I knew I didn’t feel like paying a contractor to do it. I’m SO happy I tried & succeeded fixing it on my own (with a little help of my father in law 😉)
Moral of my story: Don’t ever doubt yourself. YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS.