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DIY: Does a cracked tile mean we will have to replace the bathroom wall?

I have noticed a cracked tile in our bathroom wall. Can you please tell me how to replace it without having to retile the entire wall surface?

Replacing a cracked tile can be an easy job if you take the proper care and follow the correct procedure.

Your biggest problem will be ensuring that you can source a replacement tile in the same style.

The tile ranges and styles carried by retailers tend to change, so it is always worthwhile to retain a few spare tiles after a tiling job has been completed.

If there is any doubt you can always source a qualified tiling professional on

To remove the offending tile you will need safety goggles, an electric drill, a large masonry drill bit, a narrow chisel, a hammer and a paint scraper. With your protective goggles on simply drill a hole into the dead centre of the tile with the large masonry drill bit. Be wary of splinters, especially off glazed tiles.

Using the hammer and chisel gently crack the tile from the centre out, removing the pieces as it breaks off.

It should come away quite easily, but in the event of stubborn pieces remaining, use the chisel to get underneath and leverage them off.

When the entire tile is removed, simply use the chisel to remove the old adhesive that remains on the wall.

You can also use the paint scraper for this purpose.

Heating the blade of the scraper proves extremely effective for removing adhesive.

You are now ready to fit the new tile.

For this you will need tile adhesive, grout and of course the new tile. You will also need an adhesive spreader and a sponge.

Before you go any further, please make sure the new tile and grout you have completely match the existing ones.

It will all have been for nothing if they aren't consistent with the surrounding surface!

To get started spread a thin layer of adhesive on to the back of the new tile using a spreader and slot it into place into the gap left by the old tile.

At this point it will not be a snug fit as there will be space left for the grouting around the tile, which you will apply once the adhesive has set.

To allow for this, pad around the tile with cardboard to ensure even spacing and leave the adhesive to set for about 10-12 hours.

After this period simply apply the grout with the sponge.

Every time I undertake a new painting job I have to invest in new paint brushes.

Are paint brushes simply not designed for more than one job anymore or am I doing something wrong?

There's the old adage that you pay for quality in all things tool-related. This is particularly true of hand and power tools.

In the case of paint brushes, there is most definitely a variance in the quality across different ranges and manufacturers.

This is most apparent at the entry level where a lot of brushes can lose bristles and become less effective.

However, in most cases the reason why DIYers and tradesmen alike have to replace brushes is poor maintenance after a job.

It is never advisable to leave a brush loaded with paint, as this will result in the brush congealing with the paint and the bristles losing shape.

If you do need to leave a brush in this state for any amount of time, wrap it in foil or plastic to minimise its exposure to the air.

Ideally you should clean a brush thoroughly after each use.

A good system is to scrape off any excess paint using the back of a knife.

For oil-based paints you can then clean the brush off with white spirits or similar.

For emulsion paint use a running tap and washing-up liquid.

You can purchase white spirits at your local hardware store or online at

Make sure the brush is fully dry before you put it away and pop a rubber band around the top of the bristles to ensure that it retains its shape.

It is worth covering them in lint-free cloth, such as an old shirt or sheet, or brown paper when you are putting them into storage. Doing this should expand the lifetime of your brushes regardless of cost.

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