Using tiles for flooring can be a great choice if it’s done correctly. This involves picking the correct adhesive for your tiles. The type you use should be able to hold for decades, not just for years.

Fix-A-Floor is the best ready-mixed adhesive designed specifically for loose tiles. However, the best type of adhesive to use on your loose tiles should be a powdered adhesive. This can be an epoxy or a thinset, depending on the tile location and floor type.

Let’s take a closer look at how to pick the best adhesive for your project.

How to Choose the Best Adhesive

There are two types of adhesive you can use on your loose tiles. You can use a ready-mixed kind or a powdered adhesive. The best for floor tiles is going to be a powdered adhesive that you mix into a paste.

Ready-mixed adhesives are best used for small ceramic tiles because they don’t always offer the best bonding between the tile and the floor.

Oftentimes, where you install tiles, is going to determine the best kind to use. If you are laying down tiles outside, you’re going to want to use an adhesive that works for that setting, such as a thinset.

Thinsets can also be used inside, but the type of tile you use might require an epoxy instead. It’s recommended to consider the tile you wish to use and the substrate you’re applying it to.

An epoxy thinset offers a greater bond strength and chemical resistance than other types of adhesive.

Ready-Mixed Adhesives for Loose Floor Tiles

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These are nice because you can use them straight from the tub. You won’t have to worry about whether or not you mixed it properly. This makes them very easy to use.

Generally, you’ll use these ready-mixed adhesives on small ceramic tiles, but there are a few that can be used on loose floor tiles.

Fix-A-Floor Adhesive

Fix-A-Floor Adhesive has been specifically designed to work with loose floor tiles. This is the best ready-mixed adhesive you could use for a loose or hollow tile. It comes customized with a pre-drilled ⅛” hole to bond with loose or hollow tiles, marble, stone, or even wood floors.

You can find a 10.1-ounce tube of Fix-A-Floor online at their website, or on Amazon. You can also get it for at Home Depot.

This adhesive has strong bonding properties designed to prevent any future issues such as house settlement or expansion and contraction of the subfloor.

Check out this video below for a fast tutorial on how to properly use your Fix-A-Floor:

Powdered Adhesives for Loose Floor Tiles

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The powdered adhesives are powders that get mixed with water to become a slurry. This is then used to fix your tiles. You need to make sure that when you mix the powder together, it isn’t too thick because it will cause too much space between the tile and the floor. If the mixture is too thin, it won’t be strong enough to bond the tile to the floor.

A thinset is ideal for wet areas and floor tiles, so it works great for your bathrooms and shower floors. It has a smooth and slippery consistency, similar to mud.

Epoxy is made up of anything from one to three components that get mixed together. It works well with porcelain and ceramic, but it also works with glass, stone, metal, and pebbles. You can also use it on wood or rubber tiles.

Schluter Set Unmodified Mortar

Schluter Set Unmodified Mortar (Amazon) is an example of a powdered adhesive that can be used to fix your loose floor tiles.

It’s sag resistant and ideal for horizontal and vertical surfaces. You can use this on ceramic, porcelain, and stone tiles. It’ll work on heavy and large tiles as well.

How to Fix a Loose Tile

There are two methods you can use to fix your tiles. You can do it without removing the tiles, or you can do it by removing the loose tile and re-adhering it.

Without Removing the Tiles

If the tile isn’t broken, this is likely the best option for you.

  1. Drill into the grout beside the loose tile, ensuring that it’s deep enough for the adhesive to reach under the tile.
  2. Place the tip of the adhesive into the drilled hole and slowly squeeze it.
  3. Let the adhesive settle.
  4. Place something heavy over the tile to let it.
  5. Use a damp cloth to wipe up any excess adhesive.
  6. Remove the heavy object after 24 hours.
  7. Fill the hole you drilled with new grout.

With Removing the Tiles

This is the best option if you need to remove a tile that is broken.

  1. Use a chisel to cut the grout from the tile you want to remove.
  2. Remove the tile carefully and scrape off the grout or adhesive if you plan to reuse the tile.
  3. Reapply new adhesive to the tile and press it into place evenly until it’s flush with the surrounding tiles.
  4. Grout around the tile and the adhesive should be dried after 24 hours.

Here is a video that gives a quick look at how to fix your loose floor tiles:

What to Do With Broken Tiles

It is highly suggested that if you have a broken tile or multiple broken tiles, don’t try to bind the tile back together. It doesn’t always look nice, but it can also cause bigger issues later on down the road.

For instance, if you miss a crack when you piece it back together, you risk getting water or other liquids through to the subfloor. This can create mold, which will require you to remove the tiles again to clean and fix the subfloor.

You also risk cracking and breaking the tile more later on down the road. The best thing to do with a broken tile is to replace it completely.

Another thing to keep in mind when fixing a broken tile is to do it very carefully. If you don’t do it properly, you can damage the surrounding tiles, which will then need to be replaced as well.

Things to Consider

With all things, there will be pros and cons. For thinset adhesives, it has a possibility to crack. While you are mixing your adhesive, you can add a latex additive that will give it strength and prevent the cracking.

If you’re considering fixing loose floor tiles that are outside, you want to make sure that the adhesive can withstand the heat, cold, rain, and snow. You’ll want to consider an adhesive that stands up against the climate as well. Some adhesives are made to work in extreme heat, but there are others designed for freezing cold. 

Epoxy adhesives are usually more expensive than other types of adhesives. It also sets very quickly, which provides you with a short window of time for repairs. Epoxy is considered unusable after 45 minutes in the pot.

Due to the difficulty of mixing and using epoxy, it’s usually only used by professional tile installers. In any case, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional when you’re unsure of the best option for your specific floor or tile.

Summary

That’s everything you need. The best adhesive for your loose floor tiles is a powdered adhesive that you mix with water. You can also use a tub of Fix-A-Floor if you want something easy to use.

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