How to Patch Terra Cotta Tile
Terra cotta tiles are made of clay. The earth-tones tiles range in color from light gold to red and brown. Terra cotta is extremely porous and should be sealed to protect it from spills and stains. If you drop something on the floor, or another accident occurs that creates a chip, the surface of terra cotta can be patched. Damage caused by water or structural problems should always be addressed before you apply a patch.
Remove any broken pieces of tile or other debris around the area that will be patched. If the tile is glazed, you may use a glass cutter to create an even border between the damaged area and the rest of the tile.
Scrub the area with a wire brush. The brush will rough up the surface, making it easier for the grout to adhere to the tile. Clean the area with water when you are finished with the brush.
Buy a colorized mason sand that matches the color of the existing tile. Ask for samples from a local supplier or home improvement store and take them home to compare them against your terra cotta to find the closest match. Mix the mortar using your colorized sand and water per the manufacturer's instructions.
Patch the broken tile with the mortar. Add extra mortar to the damaged area to allow for some shrinkage as the mortar sets. Allow the mortar to dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer and then go over it with a trowel to make the patch level with the surrounding tile.
Finish the patch on unglazed tile with microcrystalline wax. On glazed tile, finish the tile with a sealant and clear glaze.
- The hole in your terra cotta tile should be at least 1/2 inch thick for the patch to hold.
- Holes that are over 6 square inches are less likely to hold a patch over time and will probably need to be replaced.
Lara Webster has been writing professionally since 2009. Her work has been featured on Relationships in the Raw, The Nursery Book, Spark Trust and several travel-related websites. Webster holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in mass communication and media studies, both from San Diego State University.
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