How To Repair And Clean Tile Grout

How to Repair and Clean Tile Grout

Grout is a common material used with tile, and it keeps the spaces between each tile looking uniform. This material can become damaged over time, and it will likely require a bit of repair to restore it to its original state. If you’re dealing with damaged grout, there are some easy ways to fix it yourself. With just a few simple tools and some quick training, you can easily repair damaged grout and make your floors, backsplash, and feature walls look fantastic again.

Few things are quite as painful to look at as grout that’s chipping away around your otherwise perfect tiles. The only thing arguably worse is having to actually call someone in to fix it for you, so if you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty, it’s really a project you can DIY. But how? Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of regrouting services. 

Lowe’s suggests starting by making sure you are choosing the correct materials. To begin, you’ll need to determine which type of grout you need—sanded, unsanded, acrylic, or epoxy grout. In short, sanded grout should be used if the space between tiles is more than 1/8 of an inch (but not on metal, glass, or marble tiles), and unsanded grout should be used if the width is less than 1/8 of an inch. To see exactly which type you’ll need

Repairing Cracks with Grout

If you want to fill in the damaged grout with a new layer of grout, it will create a nice, uniform look. Since grout is porous, it crumbles over time with normal wear. Using grout to fill in cracks will restore it beautifully, and you can make spot repairs as needed. In order to repair damaged grout that’s cracking using new grout, follow these steps:

Use a bamboo skewer and drag it along the grout line. This will loosen any cracked and damaged grout. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to clean out any excess loosened grout.

Mix the new grout with water in a small container. A cup or bowl should work fine. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before mixing.

Evenly spread the new grout over the damaged grout lines. Use a grout float to ensure even application. Drag the float across the grout lines using slow movement in several directions. This will pack the new grout into the cracks and keep air bubbles out.

Scrape any excess grout from the tiles using the edge of the grout float.

Give the new grout about five minutes to sit. Once it’s semi-dry, wipe your tiles using a sponge dampened with tap water. When a hazy layer appears on the tiles, you can buff them clean using a dry rag or microfiber cloth.

Remove Damaged Grout with a Grout Saw and Reapply

If you prefer to completely remove the old, damaged grout and reapply it, this process yields great results. You will need to use a special grout saw to effectively remove the damaged grout and prevent your tiles from becoming damaged. As you use the saw, be sure to do so with careful, gentle motions. Aim the saw directly into the grout lines and avoid using it on the tile itself whenever possible. While you remove the old grout, use even, steady motions and push the saw directly into the grout. Wear safety goggles for additional protection.

After the old grout is completely removed, use a special grout cleaner to clean up any excess, leftover debris. You can make a homemade grout cleaner using equal parts of vinegar and water. Never use abrasive cleaners as they can cause scratches on your tile. After cleaning the grout lines, rinse everything using clean water. You can absorb any excess water by using a rag or some paper towels. Don’t completely dry it since the grout needs a small amount of moisture to adhere and cure.

Once you’re ready to reapply the new grout, you can follow the steps above. It’s important to note that you’ll need more grout than you would if you were to simply repair existing cracks. When you use the sponge, wring it out frequently so you’re not introducing too much water to the grout. After application, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended drying time so the grout can completely cure. Looking for regrouting services Melbourne on property maintenance? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

To maintain the beauty of your grout, you should apply a grout sealant. After the grout has completely cured, you can apply the sealant and allow it to dry. The sealant will keep the grout safe from further damage, and it also protects it from absorbing stains and dirt. There may be a haze on your tiles after applying sealant. Simply buff them out using a soft cloth until the haze is fully gone. Re-seal your grout at least once every six months for best results.

How To Remove and Replace Grout from Tile

Tiles are practical and easy to keep clean and are the ideal choice for rooms like the bathroom or kitchen. The tiles themselves do not need a lot of maintenance or care to keep them looking great for years, but it’s grotty grout which often lets the side down.

Grout, the paste-like substance which we use to fill the cracks between tiles, can become dirty, mouldy and discoloured over time, especially in the warm and wet atmosphere of a bathroom. Cracked and dirty grout does not mean you have to pull all the tiles off the wall and start from scratch – replacing the grout alone is actually a relatively quick and simple job.

Can it be Salvaged?

Before immediately condemning your existing grout, think about whether with some nifty cleaning products and a bit of elbow grease it can be salvaged. Black mould or mildew is one of the most common reasons for grout becoming dirty and unsightly, so if this is affecting your grout, buy one of the special mould and mildew sprays on the market, spray it all over the tiles and leave it to work overnight.

Vinegar mixed with bicarbonate of soda can be used as well, as can cloth nappy cleaning solution which is bleach-based. If the grout is still looking dirty, try one of the “grout reviver” products on the market which you just paint on top of the old grout to freshen it up. If all of these measures have been tried and you are still not happy with the grout, replacing it may be the only option left.

Removing the Old Grout

A drill is an ideal tool for removing the old grout from between your tiles, or a small multi-tool which you can attach a rotating blade to. Use your electric drill with the blade attachment to gently go over the surface of the grout to remove as much as possible, remembering to keep it well away from the actual tiles. Always wear safety goggles while doing this as bits of flying grout can easily injure your eyes.

Once you have removed as much as you can with the power tools, it’s time to complete the job with a screwdriver or a Stanley type knife with a blunt blade to chip away at the remaining grout. Finally, go over the whole surface with a vacuum cleaner to remove any last traces of dirt or dust, and to clean up the mess you have made on your bathroom floor.

Choosing a New Grout

There are lots of different types of tile grout, some designed for using on the floor, some for the wall, coloured grouts, ready mixed grouts and ones you have to mix up yourself at home. If you have to replace your grout because of problems with mould growing, look out for a grout which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Ready-mixed grout is far easier to use than the do it yourself variety, and think about the effect you wish to achieve; matching the grout colour to the colour of the tiles will help it blend in, a contrasting colour will give a more dramatic effect and make your tiles stand out.

Applying the Grout

You will need three main tools to apply grout to your tiles, a rectangular tool called a grout float for applying the grout to the wall, a trowel to mix up the grout and applying it in smaller areas, and a scraper to get rid of any excess. All of these tools are sold in big DIY stores. Mix up your grout and then use your grout float to work it well into the joints between the tiles. Clean off any excess with the edge of the float as you work but you don’t have to be too careful as tiles can be cleaned later when the grout is dry. Keep working methodically until you have grouted all of the tiles on the wall, then use a damp sponge to clean any excess grout from your tiles.

How to Quickly Repair Cracked Grout: An Easy Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Choose The Right Multi-tool Blade To Remove Your Cracked Grout

Apparently you need a specific blade designed just for grout removal. Good to know since we completely ruined another blade by using it the wrong way on our tiled fireplace makeover. This blade was more curved and much rougher than the other attachments and it helped with grinding into the grout at angles rather than straight down (where you risk breaking or lifting up a tile). We have a wide range of property Melbourne regrouting services at Hitch Property Constructions.

One awesome bonus with this multi-tool is the handy built-in flashlight it came with. I seriously think these multi tools are like the Swiss army knife of DIYers. They really have everything you could need for small odd repair jobs.

how to repair cracked tile grout 

Step 2: Grind Down Broken Grout From Between Tiles

Before you can remove the cracked, crumbling grout you need to grind it down far enough to remove all of the loose pieces.

While it’s on, turn your multi tool to the side and begin in the section with the deepest groove. Use your blade to grind down the grout along each side of the adjoining tiles. Working your way from side to side and down the length of the tiles; you’ll grind out a small valley within the grout.

Continue working through the grout in small sections grinding down the larger broken pieces. The goal isn’t to remove all of the grout between the tiles, but you do want to make sure that there is enough room for the new grout to adhere to the old. And it’s best to make the old grout between the tiles as smooth as possible. Any jagged and uneven edges will make it harder for the new grout to get into all of the crevices and set.

Step 3: Remove Old Grout And Repeat Grinding

You’ll want to take a break from grinding down the tile grout to remove the broken pieces and debris with a vacuum or small dust buster. This helps you to see how deep you’ve gone down and assess how much farther you need to continue grinding the old grout.

You can see from the original photos of our cracked tile grout and when we were finished grinding that we actually had to remove more grout than just the broken pieces. That’s because typically the grout is compromised beyond the initial break. That’s why it’s important to continue grinding down until you can see a smooth surface and it feels and appears secure without any hairline cracks.

Step 4: Prepare The New Tile Grout

Before you can apply any new tile grout you need to give your surface a thorough cleaning. Going over the grout lines again with a vacuum and wiping down the tiles with a soft wet tile sponge should be all that you really need to do to prep for your new grout.

We chose to use a pre-mixed sanded grout that we already had on hand, but there’s a wide variety of grouts to choose from. I personally prefer the pre-mixed version for small odd repair jobs like this one, even though it is a tad more expensive. And you don’t have the hassle of trying to measure and mix such a small amount for the right consistency. Plus, you can just close up the lid and save it for another future project.

Step 5: Apply The New Tile Grout

Ok, so you’re almost there I promise! Using your tile float, scoop a small section of grout onto the edge of your float and apply it into the open spaces of your tile.

Be generous with the grout and work into the open grooves. If you’re worried about whether you have too much or too little grout, then just aim for more than you think you need. You can always wipe away the excess grout. The key is to make sure it’s really compacted into the open grout lines so that it fills in all of the space and will adhere to the old tile grout.

You’re probably wondering why our new grout doesn’t match the old one, and how big of a deal that is. I actually plan to freshen up and paint over the grout as part of our budget bathroom makeover. So I’m not too bothered by the mismatched color at the moment.

Step 6: Clean The Tile Surface And Allow Your Grout To Set

The last thing you need to do is clean off the fresh grout from the surface of your tile. Use a clean wet tile sponge to wipe down your tiles, being careful to just glide over the fresh new grout lines. You may need to rinse and repeat this step a few times to clean off your tile surface.

how to repair cracked tile grout 

And that’s it! Other than waiting for your new grout to set of course. Which I’m completely incapable of doing. I went into the bathroom the morning after repairing our grout and decided to poke my finger in the new grout lines to see how dry it was. Face palm moment. Just don’t do this ok?

Step 7: Enjoy Your Hard Work

This entire repair took us only 20 minutes to complete. So much easier than I originally thought and I feel way more confident about flexing my DIY muscles when it comes to grout repair.

Don’t forget to pin this handy step by step guide for grout repair and check out the amazing transformation of our tiled floor just from painting the grout!

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