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How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles


How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles

How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles

The idea of using broken tiles on the floors of some buildings in Nigeria started immediately after the using of full-sized non-broken tiles for flooring became popular.

Before then, when rugs and carpets were dominating the country’s floor materials’ market, few could buy into the idea of buying broken or full-size tiles because it was not available and even if it was, the cost may not be encouraging for an average citizen to afford.

As from the year 2000, cement tiles started gaining recognition into the floor materials’ markets; but it still has a higher cost than the existing materials just like any new product would do.

Besides the cost, the problem of getting the tilers was there also, because they were only a few persons that know how to tile a concrete floor with tiles.

Meanwhile, as the years go by, the price started dropping until its present-day price which has made it possible that 7 out of every 10 new buildings in Nigeria has cement tiles on them; either on their kitchen and bathroom walls, on the floor, or on all the areas.

However, despite the drop in prices of the cement tiles; some people living in rural areas like farmers and petty traders still find it difficult to afford full sized cement tiles for the floor, kitchen walls, or bathroom walls of their building. Such category of people resorts to the buying of broken tiles for the same purpose.

How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles

The question of using broken tiles for flooring and shielding building walls is a common one, though may not be common to those who have not been to some rural areas within the country. Even some cities still have building tiled with broken tiles.

Therefore it has become a norm that anyone intending to do it should not be ashamed of it or think of how people would view it.


  • Visit builders at sites or tile dealers in their markets, you will see different types, sizes, and colors, separated and filled in a sack or cement bags according to their category. These bags of broken tiles are usually sold at varying prices depending on your bargaining power.
  • Do not buy one color, rather mix the colors by buying different categories of the broken tiles in the sack or cement bags. The reason is that the color combinations will be needed when beautifying the floor during the tiling process.
  • Avoid non-uniform broken tiles. If the broken tiles should be in small sizes let all of them be in the same small size and if they are to be in larger size let all be at that same size because a variation of sizes can affect the look.
  • To make the whole job appear uniform to use the colors on the broken tiles to make the choice of the wall paints to be applied on the building walls.
  • Avoid ugly looking broken tiles and the ones that concretes had stocked on it surfaces. This category of broken tiles will make the floor surface appear rough when mixed with other good ones.
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles

Nevertheless, the reason people may criticize your use of broken tiles will be when it is applied wrongly or made to have an ugly look. For that reason let me take you through some ways your building can be tiled with broken tiles and still maintain a good look like the normal full tiles.


How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles

Follow all the procedures specified in my previous post about tiling a floor with full tiles which are highlighted below:

  1. “Sweep the floor surfaces and scrub the areas that need to be smoothened.
  2. Use spirit gauges and plumbs to detect areas on the floor that has no uniform level with others. Mark out those areas with chalk or any other colored material, indicating the diameter or perimeters of such area, if possible; use precision tools to know the difference in height such area has with other surfaces.If the area found to be defective is higher or above the main uniform areas, then you may be required to chisel down that area. But if it appears to be lower or below the main uniform areas, you may decide to compensate the depth during the tiling process by adding more mortar on the surface of that area before dropping the cement tile on it.
  3. After the above, proceed to square the floor surfaces. Squaring the floor surfaces involves obtaining the squared pattern of the floor, such that you can determine how many tiles that can cover the floor. Besides that, it will also help you to know where to start placing the tiles and the actual location each tile supposed to be. After squaring the floor and marking out the important areas on the floor, any other little space or gap that may exist can be filled up by cutting out such size from a complete tile or broken tile such that the whole job appears professional.
  4. After the actions in number 3, pour enough quantity of water on the floor and allow the water to be absorbed such that the floor appears soft and smooth. At that instant, if there are hard areas that refused to be chiseled initially, try chiseling them again and you will observe that they will be easier this time.
  5. Prepare your mortar for the laying of the tiles. First make a mortar of cement and soft sand at the ratio of about five wheelbarrows of sand to one bag of cement, the reason for the above ratio is to ensure the mortar is concentrated with enough cement so that the adhesion between the floor and the tiles will be very strong and defects on the floor surface may not easily affect the tiles.
  6. The mortar should be mixed properly with enough water in it but should not be too soft that it cannot maintain its shape when spread on the floor.
  7. Pour the mortar in a head pan used in building works and starting from the edges you marked doing the squaring in number 3, gradually use a hand trowel to empty the mortar from one side of the edges.
  8. Do not spread the mortar over a wide area on the floor else it may get strong before you would reach out to place the tiles on all the areas, and do not empty all the mortar on a particular sport so that you can start spreading it from the sport, the reason is because the bottom of it may stick to the floor surface before you could reach out to spread it to other areas you are placing the tiles.So the idea is, use a hand trowel to drop about six packs and spread the small quantity in the small space you could tile within the short time and then move to the next space to repeat the same process.
  9. Before dropping the tile on the mortar, pour some cement in another head pan, and mix the cement with water such that it appears watery. This watery cement will be spread on the back of the tile where it will make contact with the floor before dropping the tile on the mortar.
  10. Repeat the process in number 9 to ensure all the floor surfaces are covered.”

Steps To Perfectly Install Broken Tiles On A Concrete Floor

How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles
How To Perfectly Tile a Floor With Broken Tiles

Assuming you have read the above procedures for tiling the normal full tiles, the only adjustments and changes you will do in terms of the broken tiles while following the steps above are:

  1. From number 9 where you start to drop the tiles, remember yours are broken tiles so you don’t need the step 3 which is squaring the floor surface, just start dropping the broken tiles after adding the mortar and spraying the liquid cement at the back of the broken tiles.
  2. From available colors of the broken tiles provided by the client, place two different colors together, and space between each broken tiles should not be more than 5mm.
  3. Ensure unique colors and size combination in your layout, by placing similar sizes together and separating the same colors to have a good color combination.
  4. Do not allow any mortar or cement to rest on the tile surface during the tiling process because they may get stiff and become difficult to remove. To achieve this, use a soft foam and wet it with water and that is what you will use to clean the tile surfaces regularly as you are moving from one point to another.
  5. Do not allow anyone to walk on the floor after the tiling until after forty-eight hours. To allow the floor and broken tiles to have proper bonding.
  6. Ensure that the broken tiles filled up the floor or wall with little or no space to reveal the actual cement floor.


Having understood what you should do to make a good looking tiled surface with broken tiles, it will be necessary you come back after the job to give us your experience and difficulties encountered through the comment form and help forum.

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