Replacing Individual Tiles in Marble Backsplash...Possible??

elee4168February 10, 2014

We had a marble backsplash installed recently and unfortunately, the contractor that installed it did not have a very artistic eye. He used several tiles that I would have discarded (small cracks, off coloring, etc.). I'm kicking myself for not being there to watch him like a hawk but I had to go away for a business trip while the splash was going up and now, what's done is done (it's already been grouted and sealed). Is it possible to crack out an individual tile without damaging the ones around it? I have a lot of tile left over and would want to replace several of them. I know it's doable with ceramic but wondering how difficult it is with white carrara marble tiles. Anyone know? And what tools would I need if I attempt to DIY?

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Why is the contractor not doing this? I would make him do it or have him pay someone else.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 2:12PM
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Yes, the contractor that installed the splash should be fixing this. Unfortunately, that's not happening. It's a long story and I'll spare the ugly details. I'll never use him again!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 3:10PM
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In my experience, "small cracks and off-coloring" are inherent in stone products, especially in small tiles like those used for back splashes. I returned an entire order of marble subway tiles because so many of them were like that. According to the supplier, those things are to be expected, and I was charged a fairly hefty re-stocking fee for the privilege of returning them.

IMHO, a disclaimer should be included in every tile contract that spells out the qualities of natural stone products so that customers aren't surprised after their installations are in. Going through the tiles before the installer arrives and getting rid of any that you don't like is a lot easier than removing them after they have been installed and grouted, especially with a material like marble where removing one can easily chip the one next to it. Some people LIKE the variation in natural stone tiles and wouldn't want the "off-color" tiles to be tossed, so I am wondering if it is fair to blame the installer here? No disrespect intended here, just food for thought.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 4:37PM
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It is not fair to blame the installer. He is there to install tile not sort them. "Artistic eye" is completely subjective, especially with natural stone.


Yes, you can do this yourself. I'd recommend purchasing a Rotozip tool with the stone blade attachment and vacuum option.

Cut through the tile about 1/8" from the grout line, getting as close as you can to the keepers without touching. Cut another horizontal line or two in the tile, insert a screwdriver or chisel into the cut and twist it until the tile breaks out.

Removing the thin set may be more trouble than it's worth; it depends on how easily it comes out. If there isn't much lippage, I'd just silicone the replacement tiles in place.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 6:43PM
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