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Ask Ken: I'm Repairing a Tile Floor. How Do I Find a New Tile that Matches the Broken Tiles?  

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Ken's Quick Answer:

"If you've broken a tile and need to replace it, you'll want to find a tile that matches the existing floor. Don't focus on color and style. The problem is that most tiles have very subtle size differences. Even small differences will stop your repair job in its tracks. My advice is to start with tile size and figure out the rest from there."

Ken's In-Depth Answer:

I'm here to tell you that size matters. Really! Maybe not in your world, but certainly in the world of ceramic and porcelain tile.

Let me explain what I mean. Many times, we find people coming into the store (usually plumbers or handymen) who have done a renovation of a bathroom. During the process, they had to break a tile, and they need something to match.

They bring in a piece of some tile that's been down for 20 or 30 years and they say "do you have anything in this color?" Or they say "do you have anything in this style or texture?"

If you're asking, "do you have anything in this color?" then you're asking the wrong question. The right question is: "Do you have anything in this size, with these dimensions?"

Let me explain what I mean. In the video above, I show two tiles. They both call themselves 12" x 12" ceramic tiles. However, one of the tiles actually measures 11 and 3/4" with a 7/16" thickness, while the second tile measures 11 and 5/8" and is 4/16" thick.

So let's pretend that the handyman breaks a 12" x 12" tile and buys another 12" x 12" tile that looks just like it. Most likely, when he tries to install it, it won't fit. In the example above, the first tile would be too big and too thick for a bathroom that already had the second tile installed on the rest of the floor.

The next time you're trying to match a pre-existing tile (whether you're adding to a floor or doing a repair job) don't focus so much on color and style. Get the exact dimensions and start there. Get that right and then figure out the rest.

If you have any questions about matching tiles, don't hesitate to give us a call at 401-214-0285 or visit our showroom. We serve customers throughout Rhode Island and southeastern New England, including Newport, Middletown, Jamestown, Portsmouth, Bristol and more.

Ken Fain smiling and wearing a green and yellow collared shirt

About Ken: Ken Fain is the co-owner of Island Carpet in Middletown, RI and a floorcovering veteran of more than 40 years. His popular 'Ask Ken' video series answers common flooring questions on a variety of topics. It has reached more than 100,000 viewers on both YouTube and Facebook.


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