Help: What to use to seal one tile back onto wall?

la_koalaDecember 2, 2009


My bathroom wall is tile from floor to halfway up, and then old wallpaper. I decided to take down one portion of the wallpaper to investigate what was under it. One of the small tiles at the top of the half-tile portion was loose, and the wallpaper must have been holding it up because when I started lifting up the wallpaper I had to catch the tile before it fell to the floor. :-)

There's some brown dried up crackly looking adhesive left in the place where the tile was. It looks as if the tile came out previously and reattached by the previous owner (for one thing, the tile itself has a few cracks and it looks like it broke at one point in its life and he glued the tile together and then adhered it to the wall).

How should I best reattach this tile into its place? Thinset? Krazy Glue? ;-)

It only has to last about a year or two until we really redo this bathroom.

Thanks in advance!

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In thatb case I'd use some silicon clear sealer. Least expensive (smallest amount to buy) option.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 9:58AM
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Thanks handymac! That sounds like it fits my context (smallest amount to buy) perfectly!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 12:45PM
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It sounds like the tile was adhered with organic adhesive (common wall tile adhesive) so that would probably be the material to use to reinstall it.

An alternative would be an adhesive sealant but probably not silicone.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 9:25PM
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I recently had a similar problem with several 1" square tiles. I simply used some 2-part epoxy and it worked fine. Whatever you do, you want to:

- Clean off the old stuff from the back of the tile and from the wall. Otherwise, the repair may not hold, and the tile may also sit a little higher than the ones next to it.

- Use a glue that is gap-filling. This means it is thick enough to easily bridge differences between the two mating surfaces. Things like Crazy Glue or Super glue are not good for this unless you get the kind that is gel-like.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 2:36PM
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One other thing: It helps to use a piece of masking tape or two to hold the tile in place until the glue sets up. Otherwise, it may come away from the surface, at least partially, if you don't have it held in position.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 2:38PM
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At the home centers you can buy a small tub of all-in-one permixed adhesive and grout.

Here is a link that might be useful: tub of premix

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 10:07AM
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Hey, my thanks to you all for weighing in on this.

kudzu9, do you have any tips on the best ways to clean off the old dried stuff?

I'm not sure whether to first try chipping it off or using something to soften it first.

I was trolling the This Old House site and saw something about using a heat gun to soften the old adhesive. I don't own a heat gun--what horrible thing might happen if I put the tile into a oven at a low temp (say 120deg) to soften the adhesive so I can at least scrape it off the tile?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 11:08AM
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la koala-
I actually just got an old chisel, stood the tile on edge, and shaved off the adhesive. If you try this, make sure the tile doesn't slip as you could cut yourself. You can usually even get old thinset off this way.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 2:59PM
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A hair dryer is a poor man's heat gun. Doesn't get as hot and I don't know if either would work but you could give it a try. By the way, I've taken up many vinyl tiles with a heat gun.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 7:16PM
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