The ins and outs of replacing tile grout

January 26th, 2015 in category Tips and Tricks

Grout is quite a porous material, despite the fact that it’s strong and very durable. It can stand up to a lot of the same heavy impact that your tiles endure. However, grout will pick up stains from substances that you just wash off the surrounding tiles.

If you’re quick when it comes to cleaning off stains and mould from your grout, you can keep it looking good for quite a few years. With mould, a steam cleaner will usually do the trick. However, there comes a time when you should replace the grout between the tiles in your home.

When should you replace grout?

Even if you clean stains and dirt off your grout on a regular basis, you’ll still need to redo it from time to time.

  • Mould build up – This is particularly a problem in the kitchen and bathrooms. You’ll find that tiles around sinks and in the shower can build up mould very quickly. Replacing the grout is sometimes the only way to stop mould from spreading.
  • Too many stains – Spills and dirt tracked in by shoes can soak too deep into the grout for normal cleaning methods to remove them. You’ll find that the grout between floor tiles can build up stains quite quickly, especially in high traffic areas.
  • Falling out – As grout ages, it can dry out, which leads to chipping and falling out. If you’re careful, you can just touch up the areas that are damaged. However, this could end up with the tile becoming loose and falling out eventually.
  • Time for an update – Changing the colour of your grout is a good way to give a room a refresh in its look. Going from light to dark or vice versa can make your tiles stand out and look like new, without having to actually replace the entire wall or floor.

Redo your tile grout in 7 easy steps

Now that you’ve decided to replace the grout, here’s how to do it:

  • 1.Get the right tools – The basic items that you need are a flathead screwdriver, a box cutter, a vacuum cleaner, a grout float, a sponge and a bucket of water. You’ll also need grout powder and a container to mix it up in. However, the most important tool, and the one that will make your life easier, is an oscillating tool. This will come with a fine-tooth saw blade that can cut into the grout and do the job in half the time of you chipping away at it manually.
  • 2.Cut into the grout – Use your oscillating tool, or fine chisel if you’re doing the job manually, to cut right into the middle of the grout between each tile. Keep going along all of the horizontal and vertical lines.
  • 3.Vacuum as you go – Keep the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner directly under the area where you’re working. This will stop dust and chunks of grout from flying everywhere and creating a mess. It will also help you to see what you’re doing.
  • 4.Clean out each joint – Once you’ve gone over all the lines with the oscillating tool, it’s time to get rid of the chunks that have been left behind. Use your screwdriver to scrape out the bigger pieces, and a blunt box cutter to get the finer bits.
  • 5.Mix up the grouting powder – Now it’s time to put in the new grout. Mix up the powder according to the instructions on its packaging.
  • 6.Apply the grout – It’s important to get the grout right down into the joint between tiles. Sweep the floater across the mixture in diagonal strokes, but keep the flat surface at 90 degrees to the tiles.
  • 7.Clean – Once you’ve applied the grout, you must remove any excess before it gets hard. Use a slightly damp sponge to wipe the mixture off the tiles.

It might seem like a big job to replace the grouting in your home, but if you break it down into steps and go room by room, you’ll be able to update your tiles in no time.