How to Fix a Loose Floor Tile Without Removing It
Floor tile stability is something every homeowner desires and upon discovering loose floor tiles, your heart can sink a little, with frustration becoming the main undesirable emotion. Loose floor tiles can cause various unpleasant noises, such as crunching sounds or invariably lead to broken or cracked tiles if something falls onto it, this can play on people’s minds about the costs of repairing but putting this off can lead to an even more expensive repair. Identifying the root cause is also paramount before repairing loose floor tiles, as removing the tile on a whim could be the very last thing you need to do. Tile repair without removal is a lot simpler than you may think, and here at Fix-A-Floor, we have the best ways, tools and guidance to do just that.
Understanding Loose Floor Tiles
Why Do Floor Tiles Become Loose?
Understanding why floor tiles become loose is important as it will direct you in performing the best and proper tile maintenance techniques. The first reason your floor tiles may have become loose is incorrect and poor installation by the tiler or builder who installed them in the first place. If the adhesive keeping the tiles secure was not applied correctly during the initial installation, the tiles won’t bond properly and become loose over time.
Loose floor tiles also develop over time when a poor-quality adhesive has been used as it won’t adhere to the tiles and subfloor as it should. If the tiler who installed them used a poor or inferior adhesive in conjunction with poor workmanship, you’d better report them to Trading Standards!
With ageing adhesive, maintenance becomes a common occurrence. Over time, the adhesive used to secure floor tiles can deteriorate due to exposure to moisture, temperature changes or simply the passage of time. All these factors lead to loose and unstable floor tiles.
Over time, subfloors can also move or settle, causing tiles to lose their grip. The changes in temperature, humidity or structural problems with the building can all cause this. Also, pressure points from an uneven subfloor can cause tiles to loosen or crack. Irregularities should be fixed before installing tiles.
Problems with moisture in the subfloor level can weaken the adhesive or lead to material warping and buckling. Finally, one of the other issues causing loose tiles is if the subfloor material wasn’t meant for tile installation in the first place. For instance, extra preparation might be needed especially for plywood subfloors to stop tile movement.
Now that you understand why, it’s time to learn the best techniques for tile repair without removal.
Techniques for Securing Loose Floor Tiles
We have three expert and easy-to-do tile maintenance techniques that have been tried and tested, resulting in long-term fixes.
Re-adhering Loose Tiles with Adhesive
First up is re-adhering your loose tiles with a strong adhesive. We recommend using our Fix-A-Floor Adhesive, which is specifically designed to tackle loose floor tiles as well as various other issues you may have. Additionally, Fix-A-Floor loose tile adhesive is designed to work on all manner of floor materials – from wood, porcelain, stone, marble and even tiles with underfloor heated areas.
Applying Fix-A-Floor Adhesive is ever so simple. You’ll need an adhesive tube, as well as a caulk gun to apply, a drill, a non-abrasive cloth and some sort of weighted object (This can be partially filled buckets of water).
Drill the number of necessary holes in the grout lines where your loose tile is (2-4 holes is a good benchmark), unscrew the cap and cut the end of the tube then cut the end of the tip to match the size of the hole required). Next load the adhesive into the caulk gun and then slowly inject the adhesive into the holes.
The adhesive should eventually rise out of one of the opposing drilled holes, letting you know the space has been filled! Any excess adhesive can be simply wiped away with a damp cloth. All that’s left to do now is to apply weight to the fixed area, such as a bucket of water, and allow the adhesive to cure for at least 24 hours. For more assistance on how to use the adhesive, check out our guide on how to fix loose tiled or hollow floors.
Using Fillers and Grout
Sometimes, maintaining your tiles just requires a little filler and grout. Make sure to choose a grout colour that matches your existing lines unless you want some funky-looking floor tiles! Grout for loose tiles can be purchased from most hardware or tile stores and is easily made up.
Some of the tools you need are also easily accessible, including a filler or adhesive, for larger areas a grout float for spreading the grout (Otherwise for small holes you can just use your finger), a sponge to clean excess grout, a bucket for mixing the grout (unless it’s pre-mixed) and some protective gear for your hands and eyes.
Start by cleaning the loose tile and surrounding area to remove any dirt, debris or loose grout. If your existing grout is cracked or simply deteriorated, remove it using a utility knife or a grout rake while being careful not to damage the tiles themselves.
With the grout mixed with water, use your grout float to press the grout into the gaps between the loose tile and the surrounding tiles, ensuring the gap is filled. Smooth out the grout and remove any excess that occurs. Next, press the tiles in place firmly, making sure that they are level with adjacent tiles. You could even use a rubber mallet or wooden block to gently tap the tile in place.
You may also have some gaps or cracks around the edges of the tile that haven’t or can’t be filled by the grout. If this is the case, using a filler could be the best option.
Securing loose tiles with grout only takes a few more simple steps. Once placed, allow the grout to dry which is typically between 24 and 48 hours and make sure to keep the area dry during this period, and prevent anyone from walking on the area. You could opt to seal the grout once it has cured, which can be achieved with grout sealer. This will provide additional protection against moisture and staining. The last part of this tile maintenance technique is to clean the tiles with a damp cloth to remove any residue from the grout and filler. What do you know? Another great way to fix loose floor tiles!
Injecting Epoxy Underneath the Tiles
Epoxy, a type of adhesive that forms when mixing epoxy resin and hardener, is an alternative way to fix loose floor tiles. These two substances are stored in separate containers and are only mixed when securing loose tiles. The process of injecting epoxy underneath the tiles is practically the same as using an adhesive. However, the best way to get the epoxy underneath the tile is to use an injector kit for precise application.
When epoxy or other types of adhesives are used correctly, it can also provide a long-lasting solution, ensuring the tile remains secure for years to come, although this is an extremely expensive option.
Fix-A-Floor specialises in long-lasting fixes for loose, creaky or hollow floor tiles, without the need to remove them at a fraction of the cost and mess of mixing up an Epoxy Resin. Explore our range of adhesive products and repair kits to manage all types of floor tile repair needs.