How to Fix Cracked and Chipped Porcelain Tile | Ask This Old House (2023)


In this video, This Old House paint expert Mauro Henrique shows host Kevin O’Connor how to handle chips in porcelain surfaces.

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Paint expert Mauro Henrique teaches Kevin O'Connor how to patch scratches and chips in porcelain. While it is a tough material, Mauro explains that these types of damage are extremely common, and he teaches Kevin how to handle them.

Difficulty: 1/5
Time: 3 hours
Cost: Under $30

Porcelain is a durable material, but it's relatively soft as far as tiles go. This means it's susceptible to cracks or chips, and they're often eyesores. Luckily, it's possible to hide the damage with a bit of touch-up glaze. Here's how to fix cracked and chipped tiles.

Where to find it?
Mauro shows Kevin ways that homeowners can patch small porcelain scratches and chips.

To fix the scratch, Mauro preps the porcelain tile by washing and drying the scratched surface using acetone [] and a rag []. After the surface is dry, Mauro tapes off the damaged area with painter's tape [].

Using a porcelain touch-up glaze [], Mauro mixes thoroughly and applies it using an applicator brush.

After it dries fully, Mauro uses 120-grit sandpaper [] to smooth the surface. Mauro says to allow the glaze 24 hours to dry.

To fix the chip, Mauro sands the chipped area with 400-grit sandpaper []. After sanding, Mauro cleans off the surface with acetone and a rag. Mauro then tapes off the chipped area with painter's tape. Using a spot epoxy [], Mauro applies a small amount to a putty knife [] and gently applies it to the chipped area. Mauro says to allow the epoxy to dry for 24hrs and 5 days before cleaning.

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Acetone []
Rag []
Painter's tape []
120-grit sandpaper []
400-grit sandpaper []
Touch-up glaze []
Spot epoxy []

Putty knife []
Artist's paintbrush []

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From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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How to Fix Cracked and Chipped Porcelain Tile | Ask This Old House


Foreign so, uh, no painting today, but a little repair a little repair porcelain.

You can see it everywhere, especially in bathrooms, you think porcelain is tough, but cracks and chips and scratch can happen Okay.

Well, walk me through the process.

How would you attack that? Well, first thing we got to do lightly sand to make sure all the edges are nice and ready for the patch.


What are you using for sandpaper, I'm going to use a 320 Cent bait? So something very fine, very fine, very nice, just gentle.

Just make sure you break out the edges a little bit, oh, you're, you're, talking seriously, gentle, right, yes.

So you don't want to, you know, don't make it worse and more than you had to okay.

Once this is nice and clean.

We cleaned that up and then I'm going to use the tape.

So I mean, obviously we've got porcelain here I'm used to seeing sort of the smaller ones with the gloss.

But these big pieces right here that is definitely porcelain.

So same approach same approach.

But this has this gloss finish on the borders.

And this is like a matte finish okay, you're just gonna have one little space between the cracks.

So you are taping to protect from drips and runs and stuff.

Absolutely I don't want anything to drip the areas that really don't have to touch perfect.

Typical painters tape.

You migrate the yellow.

And this is very very thin.

So what I don't want to create any edges here? Press it really? Well, there we go.

Okay, and we got this.

So this is a porcelain patch.

This is a porcelain patch.

This is like a glaze and I buy this off the shelf at the Home Center.

You can find them there.

Yes, okay.

Cool this comes in white, but you have another different colors.

Just in case, you have a different color tile.

But those colors needs to be ordered.

So it's it's, like just a really thick paint.

Just like a thicker paint comes with its own brush.

You just wanted to are you trying to fill it in as well we're trying to fill it in and uh at the same time.

The color should match really well.

So you said, they've got other colors that you can order, yes, um.

What if Grandma's pink and avocado tile scheme needs to be repaired can I make a mix you can if we can find the color that you need what I do I, grab a little bit of this oil-based in because it's all solvent based just drip a little bit just working on it slowly, until you get the desirable color.


So with stains I'm thinking, I'm going to get sort of the off-white sort of more brown tones.

But if I gotta pull out like a pink or something or green, you think I can get that then you're gonna have to find some pink colors, some pink paint.

So pink paint would work would work oil.

Oil, yeah, okay.

So that's gonna set up in how long this is going to set up in about 30 to 45 minutes.

And then you come by take a look at it.

You might have to put one or more of the two coats.

Okay, sounds good.

So that's, a scratch up here.

We've got more of a gouge or a divot.

Maybe a scale is dropped or thrown under the bathroom floor in an anger, or being calibrated 15 pounds, something damage before okay, what's the process for something for this one here, we're going to use the same technique with the tape in here and lightly sand break all the edges, make sure it's done clean tape around.

But for this test we're going to have to use a putty, Again, Home, Center off the shelf off the shelf.


All right.

This one is like a putty.

It comes in white.

But also comes in different colors, too it's.

Not it's, not much thicker than the uh than the pan.

I mean, it can clearly work it with a knife it's, a little thicker than that.

But not that much you would, um be able to buy the putty in a variety of colors as well, there's different colors.

Also, yes.

And would you be able to mix with a little bit of oil, stain, absolutely how much drying time between coats this one here dries in about 45 minutes, okay and that's when you determine whether or not eating another coat, absolutely come and check and see if you need one or two more gotcha, the paint or the paste, how are they drying? They will dry with a little bit of finish on a little bit of glass.

So there'll be a sheen on these when they're dry, yes.

And if I wanted to bring it down to bring it down you're going to have to lightly sand until you've got the desirable finish that match closer to the tire.


So you you literally in kind of like the fixing the wall stage now, absolutely building it up you're, Feathering.

It down, patching and Build, It, Up, Sand, it, clean it and paint.

It definitely looks like a homeowner, friendly project.

Absolutely it's, a very easy, DIY and harmonica.

Can do it beautiful all right? Thank you Morrow.

Thanks for watching.

This whole house has got a video for just about every home of proven project.

So be sure to check out the others.

And if you'd like what you see click on the Subscribe button to make sure that you get our newest videos, right in your feed.


How do you fix a chipped porcelain tile without replacing it? ›

For chips, use a putty knife to apply spot epoxy to the damaged area. Use thin coats but cover the entire chipped area. Give the damaged area about 45 minutes to dry before sanding and applying another coat, if necessary. The repaired areas will have a slightly glossy finish.

Can you repair a cracked porcelain tile? ›

Certainly, with minor hairline cracks, you can use an epoxy filler to repair the tile surface. For bigger, more visible cracks, you may need to remove the entire tile and replace it.

What can I use to repair chipped tile? ›

You can buy ceramic filler online. It's similar to plasticine, and dries completely solid. It comes in a variety of different colours. Simply mix two shades together until you have a matching colour, and then work it into the chip or hole, and leave it to set.

What is the best glue for porcelain tile repair? ›

Loctite Super Glue Liquid is a fantastic glue for porcelain. This rubber-infused gel super glue can form powerful, precise and invisible bonds between porcelain and other porous surfaces and can even be applied vertically thanks to its non-drip formula.

What happens when porcelain tile chips? ›

Any chips incurred will naturally expose the plain body underneath, making it very obvious and tarnishing the design. Worse still, ceramic tiles can chip very easily, which can be problematic when an inevitable dropped mug occurs.

How do you seal chipped porcelain? ›

How to fix chipped porcelain: Getting it right
  1. Gather your supplies. You'll need a gap-filling adhesive or touch-up glaze to fill the porcelain surface, sandpaper or a sanding block, and soap and water.
  2. Clean all chipped surfaces. ...
  3. Apply the product. ...
  4. Sand after fully dry. ...
  5. Clean up.

Can porcelain tile be restored? ›

PORCELAIN RESTORATION CREAM is a water-based cream to be used to restore defects on full-body polished porcelain tiles, glazed polished porcelain tiles and glazed surfaces in general. The product has an ultra-fine micro-abrasive effect that will restore flaws and defects on the surfaces such as: Slight abrasions.

Why do porcelain tiles crack? ›

Unfortunately, the cracks do not arise during the cutting or immediately after, but appear when the tile is already laid and is subjected to different loads such as the foot fall of the people, accidental impacts, weights of furniture and equipment. Stress will also be created by natural movement of the house settling.

Can you replace a single cracked tile? ›

But even then, you'll be glad to have tile underfoot, because replacing a broken or chipped one is pretty simple to do. “It's a job most any homeowner can handle,” says Joe Ferrante, a tiling contractor who's worked with the This Old House television show for nearly 20 years.

Can you fix a chipped tile with grout? ›

You can do tile repair in many ways, but the most common is by using epoxy grout. This will fill any cracks and holes found in the tile and make it look new again! The process of fixing tile is not difficult at all.

Do porcelain tiles crack easily? ›

However, modern porcelain tiles do not crack easily, it must be a particularly unusual circumstance under which a porcelain tile cracks.

Can a chipped tile be repaired? ›

Epoxy fill and paint

Fill the crack or chip with liquid epoxy. Lightly sand the epoxied area. Repeat epoxy applications and sanding until the damaged area is flush with the tile surface. Paint and seal the repair area per the steps above.

What causes porcelain tile to chip? ›

The tile won't chip unless it is subjected to some type of force such as dropping something heavy or sharp on the tile surface. I have seen where some types of floor vacuums can impact the floor causing chips.

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