Don’t Stress Over Tile Cracks – Here’s How You Can Replace a Cracked Tile

Tile is tough — but it isn’t indestructible. Cracks can occur if the installation method was not done properly. For example, sub floor movement can cause cracking as the wooden floor under the tile shifts, passing that stress through to the tile above. While a fairly common occurrence, the problem can be mitigated by using an underlayment membrane such as MAPEI’s Mapeguard UM. As a bonus, Mapeguard UM also provides waterproofing to the installed area.


Tile that is installed with “globs” of mortar or thin-set instead of fully back buttering the tile can cause cracking as the hollow areas under the tile are not supported and can break when weight is applied. In any case, tile cracks can occur at some point, and it’s handy to know how to fix the problem if they do.


The biggest challenge when faced with tile cracks is finding a matching replacement. You likely have a few leftover tiles from when you first had them laid (the reason you add the 10-15% extra to the original tile measurement). If not, visit Tiles Unlimited to find a good match for your tile and grout — we carry the largest tile selection in Queens and our experts can assist you in finding the best fit for both. If possible, bring in the box the tile came in or your purchase invoice to make matching the tile fast and easy.


  • Once you have a suitable replacement for your damaged tile, you can begin by carefully chipping out the grout with a small chisel and hammer. Removing the grout first will allow you the space around the cracked tile to avoid damaging the ones around it. Make sure you wear safety glasses and gloves for protection.
  • Next, chip the tile away carefully with the same chisel and hammer, starting from the center of the tile and working your way out to the four sides. Take your time and do your best not to pry against the surrounding tiles so that you don’t accidently chip or crack them too!
  • Use a floor scraper to properly remove any extra bits of tile or mortar that are stuck to the subfloor. Ensure the area is clean and smooth to form a flat, clean surface for your new tile.
  • Apply polymer modified thin-set such as MAPEI’s Ultraflex 2 to the floor using the appropriately sized trowel, as well as fully back butter the back of the new tile. Set the new tile in the appropriate position. Allow it to set for the required time (usually 24 hours) and then mix and apply matching grout between your new tile and the surrounding ones.
  • Avoid walking on your new tile for at least 24 hours after grouting.

Ceramic Tile Offers Lowest Total Cost of Ownership

When you begin the onerous task of researching a flooring project, it is easy to see the initial costs in front of you and walk away. However, in these situations it usually pays off to look a little deeper. When it comes to choosing what type of flooring you want to install, price is going to be a major factor in the decision process. This is where being shortsighted can come back to bite you.  Some questions that should come to mind are the scope of the project, your short terms and long term budget and how long the flooring needs to last.


If these questions resonate with you in any way, you might want to consider engineering your project for a life cycle value.  By value-engineering your project you can perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, also known as a Cradle-to-Grave Analysis, to realize your full investment in terms of how your decision can affect your budget over the life of the floor.  To perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, you need to take into consideration all the costs for owning, operating, maintaining, and disposing of the product.


Many factors affect the total cost of ownership in addition to the cost of the flooring material. Other factors you should consider are installation materials, labor, contractor overhead and profit, maintenance and removal and disposal costs.


The Tile Council of North America, Inc. recently performed a Life Cycle Cost Analysis on 12 of the most popular flooring options, including everything from carpet to porcelain ceramics.  The results are listed in the table below and also shown visually in the chart below.



As you can see from the results of the test, ceramic and porcelain tiles have the longest expected lifespan with 50 years, driving the cost for its overall life cycle ($0.33 – $0.39) significantly lower than carpet ($1.26) and vinyl ($1.41 – $1.85) products, which need to be replaced periodically.


Because properly installed tile can last a lifetime, it is no wonder it is one of the greenest, most sustainable ways to build. By contributing to various credits, ceramic and porcelain tiles can help you attain LEED Certification for your project, while at the same time lowering the overall expenses over the lifetime of the project.


According to these results you can see how important it is to plan your project based off its complete life cycle value, rather than the initial cost. Just because something might cost more upfront doesn’t mean it will be less expensive over the lifetime of the floor.

Ancient Techniques…Modern Style

Encaustic tile may be a new term to you, but it’s an antique style making a big comeback. These ornate tiles are at once old-fashioned and modern, so here’s how to incorporate this design trend for 2017.


Encaustic tiles were all the rage in the Victorian era and even farther back, in the medieval times. Until recently, these ornate tiles had fallen out of favor as unadorned or glazed tiles took their place. The designs are more complicated and the finished tiles heavier from the layers, making the tiles unique but costly.

Contemporary encaustic tiles can have bold graphics in an array of colors or throwbacks to Medieval or Victorian time periods. The ability to create such intricate patterns is a hallmark of this style. Encaustic tiles are endlessly versatile and can fit into any design scheme, making them a new favorite of designers.

Encaustic tile is gorgeous in an entryway where your visitors can admire it. It is also comfortable in bathrooms and kitchens, natural homes for tile. Encaustic tile is even beautiful and useful in a living room. The design element replaces a rug, acts as a focal point, and dogs and kids can do no harm to the tough tiles. Since the design is inlayed, it will not wear away with use, making it perfect for high traffic areas.


Why stop at the floor? Encaustic tile is beautiful on walls or backsplashes, too, in bathrooms or kitchens. A geometric backsplash and accent wall take a streamlined kitchen from simple to high-design. Click here to see design ideas for encaustic tiles. With over ½ million square feet of tile in stock, you’ll find the perfect tile for your project at Tiles Unlimited.

Much More Than Tile…Amazing Deals on LED Bathroom Mirrors

Why worry about vanity lighting for your mirror when your mirror can be your vanity light? With clean lines, contemporary designs and unparalleled LED lighting quality, LED lighted mirrors are sophisticated centerpieces for modern bathrooms. Come see them, as well as all new vanities, on display in our showroom.

Special Introductory Pricing – Only $389!


Daytona 24” LED Mirror
The Daytona LED Mirror features an integrated digital clock, defogging heated glass and touch screen controls and is made of solid-body anodized aluminum. Regular price is $525.

Evolution 24” LED Mirror
The Evolution LED Mirror is highly energy efficient, comes with a 5-year warranty and features touch sensitive controls. Installation hardware is included. Regular price is $535.

Hurry, special introductory pricing ends on 5/13/17.

April Tile Specials

Check out our April Tile Specials below. We have a little bit of everything for you this month. Wood-look tile is one of today’s hottest design trends and is a bargain at only $1.97 sf.

Our 12×24 Julia Beige has a rough texture and is perfect for outdoor installations. The 12×24 Colosseum Nut is a gorgeous stone-effect tile and we have a beautiful marble-look tile in the 18×18 Terra Moca for only $1.49 sf.

Please note that quantities are limited to stock on hand. Hurry, the sale ends April 29th or while supplies last.

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Did You Know?
Our indoor parking garage is full of unadvertised BARGAINS. Park your car and take a look at deeply discounted tile, small quantity package deals, bathroom fixture floor models and other great deals.

Make Your Tiles Look Showroom New

Impossible Marks on Your Porcelain Floor?

Porcelain tiles are the most frequently used materials for floors, because they are very practical, but if not adequately maintained, they could easily get dirty. The tiles often have a fine layer of residual grouting or concrete, which can only be eliminated with specific products that do not harm the material. Ordinary, often harsh, household cleaners are not up to the task. Tiles Unlimited recommends DETERDEK and CR-10, from Fila Solutions; the ideal products for cleaning floors that were not thoroughly cleaned after installation or that have only recently been installed.

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Thanks to its acid-based formula, it effectively removes building site dirt without harming metal profiles. Let’s take a look at how to use it properly: first wet the floors, then dilute DETERDEK in water and apply this solution a few meters at a time, waiting 2-3 minutes and then rubbing hard with a flat brush. At this point, the floor can be rinsed with plenty of water.

If your surface has tiles with epoxy grouting, use FILACR10, the cleaner for epoxy residues ideal for walls and floors in porcelain and glazed ceramic tiles as well as glass mosaics. Its viscous formula makes it the ideal product for washing vertical surfaces and it also works on larger, old residues.

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DETERDEK can also be used to combat efflorescence or ‘white spots’ on your outdoor tile. The white substance forms a powder-like coating made up of soluble salts and moisture, which migrate to the surface, evaporate and leave a salt deposit behind. As well as affecting porous masonry, efflorescence can also migrate through a grout joint, so it’s a problem that can affect both natural stone and ceramic installations.

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Sealing and Enhancing Stone Floor Tiles

When a newly installed stone floor doesn’t look up to scratch, the tiles are often blamed. Many mistakenly believe that the tiles are inferior in some way, or that there is an issue with the installation. More often than not, it comes down to one small thing; a poor initial cleaning. After a stone floor has been installed, it should always be cleaned thoroughly, using a quality pH-neutral detergent – like FILACLEANER – not just with a bucket of warm water! It takes a bit longer but it can make or break an installation.

If you use water alone, you’ll effectively be sloshing manufacturing dust, dirt and grout residues across the surface of the tiles. Once the floor is dry, the film of residue – or grout haze – will become visible. Then, when you seal the tiles, this residue will become sandwiched between the tile’s surface and the sealant. As well as ruining the look of the installation, it will also store up problems for the future: The sealant won’t be able to absorb properly into the tile, so its performance will be compromised. Dirt will be built-up on the surface more quickly, making the problem even worse.

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To avoid these problems, always ensure that the floor is cleaned properly after installation with a pH-neutral cleaner such as FILACLEANER as it is safe to use on all natural materials including stone.

Tiles Unlimited to Appear on George to the Rescue TV Show

“OK, Mr. Oliphant, We’re Ready For Our Close-Up”
Furthering our mission of “Making a difference one square foot at a time.”, we are pleased to announce that Tiles Unlimited will be making its 5th appearance on George to the Rescue. The NBC TV series centers on George Oliphant, a contractor who has been working with a team of workers and volunteers to renovate the homes of deserving families in the tristate area for the last six years.

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On Saturday 3/25, you’ll meet the Ledermans, a family whose life was flipped upside down when husband and father Darren passed away last March after a long battle with leukemia. George and his army of volunteers transformed this home to meet the needs of the family. A new master suite was built with a modern bathroom, for which we supplied tile and installation materials.

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Since our founding in 2004, Tiles Unlimited has been dedicated to helping others and the community. We are proud to support local causes in the Queens community. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Tiles Unlimited donated approximately 30,000 square feet of tile to 200 families whose homes were affected by the storm. Tiles Unlimited is also active in nonprofit charities such as Toys For Tots and Red Nose Day (coming in May!).

We hope you’ll tune in to see this heartwarming episode. You’re going to love the kids, Emma and Noah! You can watch on WNBC-TV channel 4. The show airs on Saturday 3/25 at 9:30am and 7:00pm.

Check out photos from our earlier appearances here and here.

Are you, or someone you know in need of a rescue? Click here to share your story with the George to the Rescue team.

Help Us “Make a Difference One Square Foot at a Time”

We have been given another opportunity to give back to our community and to allow us to fulfill our mission statement of “Making a Difference One Square Foot at a Time” again.

Tiles Unlimited is competing to win one of ten FedEx Small Business Grants and has pledged to donate 40% of any grant to better Queens communities. We are asking for your help and to vote for us in the contest.

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For more than a decade, Tiles Unlimited has made giving back to our community a bedrock of our business. From donating 30,000 square feet of tile to 200 homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy to our partnership with ‘George to the Rescue’ to raising money for kids in need for Red Nose Day, we try and give back as much as possible. We’d like to do more and we’re asking for your help.

Read more about our giving back activities by clicking here.

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That’s where you come in. We’re asking for your support for Tiles Unlimited in the FedEx Small Business Grant Competition. Your vote will help Tiles Unlimited to expand these’ giving back’ initiatives.

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We would really appreciate your vote for Tiles Unlimited in the FedEx Small Business Grant Competition. It takes only a few seconds to vote and you can vote once per day through April 5th.

If we are privileged to win one of these grants, we pledge to use the funds as follows:

• 40 % to better our Queens community
• 20% for employee initiatives
• 20% for marketing
• 20% for showroom improvements

Win or lose, we thank you so much for your support!

Presidents’ Week Sale

Take advantage of the Tiles Unlimited Presidents’ Week Sale* and take 30% off on all porcelain, ceramic and glass tile.

We have amazing deals on wood-look tiles, starting as low as $1.97 per square foot and an array of large format floor tiles at under 2 bucks a square foot.

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Make sure you check out the BARGAINS section in our indoor parking garage. These are small quantity (typically under 200 sq. ft.) package deals often priced below cost.

We also have some amazing deals on floor model designer vanities from Bertch, Robern and more.

*Sale valid 2/18-2/25. May not be combined with any other offers nor used on prior purchases. Discounts applied to regular prices. 30% off not valid on BARGAINS or tile already on sale.

The Beauty of Glass Tile

Glass tile beautifies any space, making this material more and more appealing. Glass tile has been a hot trend for a while, and we generally see it in kitchen backsplashes and bathroom showers, but homeowners everywhere are starting to incorporate glass tile in fun, new ways in every room of the house. Don’t be afraid to get creative with color and placement, and remember that nothing is off limits if you really love the way it looks.

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Characteristics of Glass Tile
Glass tile has many wonderful features that make it a great material for a variety of projects from both a visual and practical standpoints. Glass tiles are built to be shatter-resistant, not to mention strong and long lasting. As glass tiles don’t absorb water, they’re popular in areas with high humidity like bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes. Since glass tile surfaces aren’t highly porous, they are very easy to clean.

Glass Tile Installation
One reason why glass tile is so popular is how they reflect and refract light. It’s the characteristic that draws many people to use glass tile. Using ordinary grout with glass tile installations can interfere with the reflection and refraction processes. Tiles Unlimited recommends Dimension grout for optimal glass tile installations.

Dimension grout is designed for use with glass tile but more importantly, the results are stunning. It contains micro glass beads and translucent binders that both reflect and refract light. This creates a unique three-dimensional effect within glass tile installations. Your tile installer will love it because it’s ready-to-use and requires no sealing, saving you both time and money.

It is also recommended that you use thin-set designed for use with glass tile such as Mapei Adesilex P10, saw blades designed to cut glass tile as well as an installer who has experience in installing glass tile.

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Dimension grout (left) vs. ordinary grout (right)
So Many Choices
From mosaics to subway tile, every color you can imagine, glass tile choices are almost limitless. Popular trends combine glass tile with other materials such as natural stone, metal and even materials like pearl. A wide choice of sizes and finishes are also available including the very popular crackled finish. No longer confined to the backsplash, glass tiles are being used for feature walls, borders and even residential floors.

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Besides kitchen and bathrooms, living rooms area great place to incorporate glass tile. Consider using glass tile as a fireplace surround or go bold and use it on a feature wall. In bedrooms, glass tile can be used to create a glass wall behind your bed or use as a border around the room or at chair rail height.

Tiles Unlimited carries a wide range of glass tile in several dozen styles and numerous colors. Let our expert Tile Consultants help you incorporate glass tile in your home today. Whether you’re looking for glass tile or something else, you’ll find inspiration for your tile project here.

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