Why Floor Tiles Come Loose
Multiple problems can cause tiles to come loose. They include:
- Too large a gap between the tile and the surface underneath it
- Not including movement joints in your layout
- Using old grout
- Using the wrong adhesive
- Not using enough adhesive
- Changes in temperature
- Moisture underneath the tile
Identifying the problem may help you avoid repeating it in the future. The next time you lay tile, you’ll know how to do things differently so that your tiles will hold better.
How to Replace Loose Floor Tiles
One option for reaffixing tiles is to pry them off the floor. You can then adhere them back down or lay new tiles in their place.
If the tile is quite loose, you may be able to slip a putty knife underneath it. You can apply firm but careful pressure to break the remaining adhesive bond and lift the tile away from the floor.
You may have several loose tiles in the same area. Once you take out the first loose tile, getting the surrounding ones up should be easier. Chip away at the grout lines between them, and pry them up one at a time.
If you’re going to reuse the same tiles, take the time to scrape away any old adhesive before applying a new coat.
Adhesive materials that you can use to hold tiles in place include thinset mortar and epoxy mortar. Thinset comes in both premixed varieties and versions that you mix at home. Epoxy must be mixed right before use.
After setting the tiles into place, wait a full day before regrouting them.
How to Fix Loose Floor Tiles Without Removing Them
The above method may work well only if you have at least one extremely loose tile. Even still, there’s a chance that you may crack a tile in the process. Fixing the tile without removing it from the floor may be a better approach for your situation.
For this job, you’ll need a drill with a bit that’s strong enough to go through hardened grout. You’ll also need a tube of tile adhesive with a narrow spout. Other supplies will include a damp rag or sponge, a heavy object, and fresh grout.
Step 1: Drilling
With the electric drill, put a hole in the grout near where the tile is loose. The hole must be deep enough that you’ll be able to access the underneath of the tile. You should make the hole big enough to accommodate the spout of your tube of adhesive.
Step 2: Adhering
Place the spout in the hole. Slowly squeeze the tube. The adhesive should start to fill in the area underneath the tile. Wait a moment for it to settle.
Repeat this process until there seems to be no more space for adhesive. Remember that it can take a bit for the adhesive to spread out underneath the tile, so patience is key.
Repeat this process in multiple places if your room has several loose tiles.
Step 3: Waiting
Place a heavy object on the tiles that you fixed. This will help hold the tiles in place. It will also push out air bubbles that could compromise the strength of the bond.
If extra adhesive oozes out, wipe it up with the damp sponge.
Wait 24 hours before moving on.
Step 4: Grouting
After a full day has passed, you can pick up the heavy object.
Mix a small batch of grout according to the package directions, or select premixed grout. Use it to fill in the holes you made at the beginning of this job.
Wipe away any excess grout. After the grout dries, your floor should be as good as new.
Loose Tile Repair
Fixing a loose tile doesn’t have to be an all-day job. Whether you decide to lift the loose tile or leave it in place while adding more adhesive, you can quickly repair your tile floor. Read the directions carefully, gather your materials ahead of time, and then get to work on this DIY home repair.