Protect your tiles from damp or replace them in a jiffy. Gavin Wright, from Which? Local-recommended Versatile, gave us these how-to tips.
Watch the water
If water gets behind your tiles it can ruin your plaster, plasterboard and timber and be costly to repair. It's easy to prevent with some simple maintenance.
- Ventilate your bathroom with an extractor fan or open window. This helps prevent mould which breaks down silicone sealant and causes leaks.
- Remove any existing mouldy or loose sealant with a Stanley knife or window scraper. Replace it with top quality, ideally mould-resistant, bath/shower sealant.
- Got natural stone or polished porcelain tiles? Every few years, reapply the protective potion -called stone sealant or stone treatment- applied when they were first put in.
- Prod your tiles with your fingers. If any tiles are cracked or move even slightly, replace them immediately.
How to remove and replace tiles
- Prise off damaged tiles and old adhesive with a scraper. If the wall underneath is damp, keep taking off tiles even if they don't seem damaged, till you hit dry wall again.
- Leave the wall until it looks dry. Severe water damage may take a few days.
- Got plastered or rendered walls? Water down some PVA (polyvinal acetate) according to pack instructions and apply this to the wall.
- You need the following: matching tiles; adhesive; an adhesive rake; plastic tile spacers; grout and a grout float or squeegee. Ask your local supplier which types of adhesive and grout are best for you. Make sure you choose a shade of grout that closely matches your existing grout.
- Apply adhesive to the wall with the rake. Fix each tile to the wall with a slight twisting motion as you apply pressure. Use spacers to perfect grout lines. Wipe tiles clean as you go. Leave adhesive to dry overnight.
- Next day, clean any excess adhesive off the tiles, especially the grout lines -between the tiles and along their edges.
- To grout, use the float or squeegee to get the grout in the grooves. Clean the excess with a good quality sponge. Once it's done, polish it all with a dry cloth. An old towel works well.
- Apply silicone sealant around the bath/shower tray and up any corners.
About our expert trader
Gavin Wright runs Cobham-based tiling business Versatile. The business covers Surrey and the surrounding area, including west and south-west London.
Versatile has been praised by Which? members for offering helpful advice and for quality workmanship.
Versatile is also a member of Trading Standards' Buy With Confidence scheme.
Read reviews for Versatile