How to repair a small hole in ceramic tile

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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Ceramic tile is a durable, water resistant surface quite common in kitchens and bathrooms. This product is such a favourite that it has been in use since Roman times. Over time the styles, textures and colours of tiles change, and if your home has old tiles, it is likely these tiles are no longer available. When there is a hole in an existing ceramic tile, it can look unsightly, but fixing holes left from moving towel rods or shower doors is easy.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Denatured alcohol
  • Rag
  • Tape
  • Scrap cardboard
  • Polyester resin
  • Polyester resin hardener
  • Putty knife
  • Razor blade
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Porcelain touchup paint kit
  • Ceramic tile sealer
  • Disposable paint brush

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Clean the surface of the tile you will repair. Use denatured alcohol and a rag to remove any residues.

  2. 2

    Tape off the tile from its neighbours.

  3. 3

    Mix polyester resin and hardener on a scrap of cardboard using a small putty knife. When the mixture is well combined, apply the resin to the tile with the putty knife. Press the resin deep into the holes.

  4. 4

    Allow the resin to set up until it has a rubbery texture, which may only take a few minutes. Use the razor blade to lightly scrape along the tile surface, cutting the resin smoothly with the tile surface. Allow 30 minutes for the resin to harden completely.

  5. 5

    Sand the resin with 600-grit sandpaper. Moisten the sandpaper with water for the final sanding. Try to avoid scratching the rest of the tile surface as this reduces its ability to resist stains, mildew and water penetration. Remove tile dust with a tack cloth.

  6. 6

    Re-clean the tile with denatured alcohol and the rag, making sure that no dust or grit remains on the tile.

  7. 7

    Work with the porcelain touchup paint kit by mixing colours until you achieve a close match to your tile. Make test spots on a similar tile, and wipe off the spots. Paint the correctly mixed blend on top of the resin. Allow 24 hours for the paint to dry completely.

  8. 8

    Sand the painted area lightly using wet 600-grit sandpaper to blend the edges slightly. If necessary, apply a second coat of porcelain paint as described above. When you are satisfied with the appearance of the dried and sanded paint, you have the option of applying a ceramic tile sealer with a disposable brush. You may choose to do this if the tile surface is slightly degraded or to increase the shine of the tile.

Tips and warnings

  • Bondo, (polyester resin) dries very quickly, so don't walk away from your project and don't mix too much at once. This type of ceramic tile repair will not completely remove evidence of the previous hole, but it will remove the hole and reduce the distraction of the damage.
  • Vent the room if possible when using these chemicals.

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