Case Studies

Chipped tile repair

7th May 2019
Chipped tile repair

Work initially carried out by a plumber to repair a leak from a central heating pipe in the kitchen diner of a private house near Northampton, led to floor tiles dating from the 1970s being dug up and destroyed. The insurance company involved duly called on Plastic Surgeon as the UK’s national cosmetic repair specialist, to try and resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the building owner.

The challenges

Given that the small format tiles were in the order of 40 years old and unusual in their appearance – with random pieces of natural stone set in a ceramic matrix – there was little or no chance of successfully matching them. In digging up the concrete floor slab to access the leaking central heating pipe, the plumber had smashed a dozen and a half tiles into very small pieces, making it impossible to re-assemble them.

As is often the case with insurance claims, the building owner wanted the entire area of tiling replaced, which would have also required removing all of the ageing kitchen cupboards; probably also necessitating their replacement.

The highlights

Under Plastic Surgeon’s national agreement with the domestic insurance specialist, the job was examined by the Regional Operations Manager, and a senior Finisher, together with an assistant, allocated to carry out the work.

A building contractor appointed by the insurance giant had already carried out a structural repair of the concrete floor slab; theoretically leaving the Finishers a 5mm gap in which to complete the replication of the floor tiles. Unfortunately the depth varied from 4-12mm, requiring more levelling using layers of the Ultra-Premium filler that is carried as an essential part of the all the van stocks.

The area of the damaged tiles was eventually filled slightly proud of the surrounding surface and smoothed before being warmed with a heat gun to accelerate the hardening process. At exactly the right stage as the filler cured, the Finishers employed careful measurement and straight edges so that the joint pattern could be chased out.

Electric sanders were then employed to take the area of the repair down flush with the rest of the tiling and to replicate its slightly worn smoothness. Then with the form of the tiles effectively faked, the cream base colour was matched using the pigments and Plastic Surgeon’s System 20 coating.

The coating was sprayed over the entire area of the repair and allowed to dry before the two Finishers put in all of the matching detail to the original tiles’ stone chips using brown, grey, black and other shades using artists’ brushes. The entire surface was then given a heavy coat of dry lacquer to protect it and enhance the reflectance of the surface. Finally due to the amount of dust generated by the sanding, the Finishers cleaned all the surfaces around the entire room.

Key outcomes for the cleint

  • The householder was sufficiently satisfied with the quality of the repair work, and the extent to which it blended in with the surrounding tiles, to drop their insistence on complete replacement of the floor area and the kitchen units straddling it.
  • The work was completed within the two man days quoted.
  • This solution saved the insurance company very high additional ‘new for old’ replacement costs.
  • The homeowner avoided many weeks of disruption which such work would have required.

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