Q&A / 

Ceramic Tile Repair Alternative

DEAR TIM: My 75 year old house has a ceramic tile fireplace surround and hearth. The tile is original and quite unique. The surround is in good shape, however the hearth has loose and cracked tiles. I'm thinking about replacing the hearth tiles with new tile. Because I have been unable to locate matching tile, what suggestions do you have? K. L.

DEAR K. L.: My suggestion is simple. Don't replace the hearth tiles!! From your description of the tile, it sounds as if you have Rookwood Tile. This tile was manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the turn of the century. It adds value and character to your home. I think that the removal of the hearth tiles would be a mistake.

Because the new tile you install probably will be different in size, color, texture, etc., your installation will look like a patch job. I doubt that you will be satisfied with the final results.

I have an alternative suggestion which will yield very satisfactory results. However, you must employ the services of a very good artist. First, you must reapply the loose tiles. Prior to grouting the tiles, carefully clean out the crevices of the cracked tiles. When you grout the newly applied tiles, fill the cracked tiles as well. Work with the grout so that the cracks are filled completely flush and are smooth. Now, it is time to create the illusion.

Restore the "clean" to your grout. Just go to STAIN-SOLVER to see the beautiful, quick results.

Believe it or not, a good artist can camouflage the cracks. By blending the right paints with the proper gloss, he or she can make the cracks 'disappear'. Remember, you must properly fill the cracked tiles to successfully create this illusion.


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