How to Replace Bathroom Tiles That Have Fallen Off

See that bathroom tile that has fallen off? You should replace it immediately before it causes more damage. Why the urgency? You may ask. Well, leaving it loose will not only allow moisture to penetrate, but it will also cost you more in repair works in the future.

Replace a bathroom tile by removing the tile, preparing the surface, then grouting the lines. On average, it costs anything from $400 to retile a bathroom. Fix loose tiles with adhesive and grout. Bathroom tiles fall off due to deteriorating seals, dirty tiles, poor priming, and poor grouting.

Loose bathroom tiles also pose a hazard to your loved ones as the chippings could prick them. The look is also unappealing. Now, that said, read on to learn why the bathroom tiles fall off and how to replace them.

How to Replace Bathroom Tiles That Have Fallen Off

Why Do Bathroom Tiles Fall Off?

Are you responsible for the welfare of your home? Then, you should be psychologically ready that your bathroom tiles will fall off at some point.

The main reasons your bathroom tiles may fall off include:

Why tiles fall offPrevention 
Deteriorating seal
Dirty tiles 
Poor priming
Poor grouting
Use professionals
Use quality adhesives
Properly handle the bathroom
Keep the grout intact

1. Deteriorating Seal

Hot water in the bathroom creates moisture that penetrates through the tiles and affects the quality of the adhesive holding the tile in place. This may happen over time or sooner if the quality of the seal is compromised.

Over time, the tiles also suck up the sticky feature of the adhesive, making it lose its viscosity. Consider this as well when protecting bathroom windows since the same occurs.

2. Dirty Tiles

When fixing the new tiles, it’s expected that they will be cleaned and dusted. If neglected at installation, you can expect the tiles to come off any time. The chalk dust beneath new tiles hinders it from sticking well to the wall.

Even after installation, stain removal from tiles is important to keep them in good condition and looking good as well.

3. Poor Priming

Before tiling, the surface needs priming if the tiles are to remain in place for long. Priming is critical before tiling as it helps in:

  • Minimizing the chances of air bubbles forming that could affect the functioning of the adhesive.
  • Strengthening the surface before the tiling, especially if the tiling is powdered.
  • Lowering the chances of a chemical reaction when using the cement-based adhesives during tiling.
  • Preparing the surface before waterproofing.

Overlooking the priming stage will have your bathroom tiles falling off in due course.

4. Poor Grouting

When tiling the bathroom, the grout used ought to be waterproof, given that the bathroom is primarily watery.

When grouting the bathroom, ensure that:

  • You first allow the adhesive to set for a day
  • It’s waterproof
  • Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours
  • Use a grout sealant 
  • Tiles are adequately grouted.

Besides that, too much mortar under the tile makes it stick out and is easily affected by water. It will eventually fall off.Observe these grouting rules keenly, and you will have the tiles in place for longer.

How to Replace Bathroom Tiles That Have Fallen Off

The best way to retain that beautiful finishing on your bathroom wall is to replace the tiles that have fallen off immediately.

Here is how to do it:

1. Remove the Tile

If the tile broke and half of it fell off and the other half was left in place, you need to get rid of it in its entirety. To remove it, you need to use a blade or a strong knife to cut through the grout. It’s usually hardy, so you will have to exert enough pressure.

Be cautious while doing it to avoid ruining the intact neighboring tiles. You can use a flat chisel and hammer to remove the stubborn adhesive, grout, and tiles. In addition, you need to protect yourself at this stage. Wear hand gloves, and cover your eyes with safety glasses. The sharp loose tiles could harm you.

2. Prepare the Surface

Before you fix a new tile, you need to prepare the surface. First, ensure it’s flat by chiseling out any protruding sections. This is critical as it ensures that the new tile will align with the existing ones.

Apply mortar on the wall so the tiles can hold in place. You don’t have to apply it to the whole section. Instead, just apply a sizable selection of about three feet.

If it’s a single tile that fell off, you can apply mortar on the tile to avoid unnecessarily spreading to other sections.

3. Replace the Tile

Clean the tile to get rid of the chalk dust as it could affect how well the tile holds in place. Also, ensure you have the right size of the tile to avoid adjusting it by cutting. Preferably, get matching tiles that suit existing ones to maintain the pattern.

Apply the right amount of adhesive, preferably get the water-based mastic as it works well on bathroom tiles. As you fix the tiles, use uniform spacers to ensure uniformity in spacing.

Hold the tile on the edges and press it on the prepared surface to fix it. Exert enough pressure to ensure the tile is rightly held in place.

4. Grout the tiles

Once you fix the tile, you need to grout it correctly to avoid future similar instances. But before then, you need to allow the adhesives applied to rest for a while.

Proceed to grout it. You have two options: you can choose to use the unsanded grout which is ideal for narrow spacing (⅛ inch or less), or use the sanded one for wider spacing above ⅛ inch.

You need to ensure that the grout has the right texture to perform optimally. Let the solution be pasty to hold the tiles in place. Spread it evenly, including the edges, and even if it spills to the surface, don’t be alarmed since it comes off easy when wiped immediately.

Allow the grout to dry off for about a day before you can interfere with the section.

How to Fix Loose Bathroom Tiles

As soon as you discover a loose tile in your bathroom, you should fix it. This will prevent it from soaking up moisture to the rest of the tiles, which could cost you an entire wall repair.

To fix it, you can remove the tile and replace it with a new as explained above, or you can fix them right in place as follows:

1. Identify the Loose Edges

Check out the edge that has detached from the wall. If the tile is loose at the center, you need to drill out on one edge.

Use a grout knife to remove the grout and adhesive on one edge along the grout lines. Create enough space that the nozzle of the adhesive bottle can access.

2. Apply Adhesive

Use a cocking gun to apply the adhesive on the edges where the grout was removed, or press the adhesive bottle to release the glue.

Wipe out the glue that may spill on the tile’s surface immediately to prevent it from drying up.

Let the glue dry up for 2-3 hours.

3. Regrout

Apply the grout mixture to hold the tiles in place on the edges where you had chiseled out the grout.

Let the grout dry for a day without interference for optimal performance

How much does it cost to replace a missing or loose tile?

Several factors affect how much it costs to replace a missing tile. These factors include:

  • Type and quality of tile
  • Location
  • Labor charge
  • Grout and adhesive to be used
  • Extent of repair

If you choose to fix the tile yourself, then it’s cheaper. On average, the cost of replacing a tile is $400 and above.

The figure is not standard and could change depending on waterproofing and resealing.

How to Prevent Bathroom Tiles From Falling Off

You can avoid having your bathroom tiles from falling off by observing the following:

  • Engage professional installers for the initial jobs. Quacks will be expensive in the long run with the constant repairs.
  • Use quality adhesives and grout during installation. Cheap, low-quality products can create a big mess in the future.
  • Proper handling. Immediately you notice a loose bathroom tile, fix it before it all falls off.
  • Avoid scratching off the grout lines as they allow moisture from the hot water and alter the adhesive’s proper functioning.

Apply and teach best practices to all your bathroom users to prevent the tiles from falling off.


Timely replacement of loose or fallen-off tiles can save you from having to tile an entire wall. Learn how to replace tiles in case a single one comes off.

Tiles, when properly handled, can last long enough till you voluntarily wish to replace them. Allow professionals to handle the installation and use quality products to last.

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