When the grout in your tile becomes discolored or stained, sometimes it’s necessary to completely remove the old grout and regrout your tile. This process is fairly simple and inexpensive. Follow the steps below and you will have your bathroom or kitchen tile looking fresh and new with little effort.
Remove the Old Grout
Do not try to remove the old grout with anything but a grout saw because you will inadvertently cost yourself hundreds of dollars worth of work trying to use other methods. A grout saw can be purchased at a local hardware store for less than $10.
Use the grout saw to “saw” the old grout out of the tile. The saw has a small blade with a carbide edge that will turn the grout to powder. Place the saw into the grout line and saw back and forth. You will need to get a feel for how much pressure to use. Start slowly. You do not want to chip the edge of the tile with the saw. This will take some time to get the hang of it so do not rush this process. Make sure to remove as much grout as possible—at least two-thirds—because you want to ensure that there is enough tile edge for the new grout to adhere to. When you’re finished removing the old grout, sweep or vacuum up any grout dust that remains.
Mix New Grout
Every grout product has its own mixing requirements, so read and follow the directions for the grout product you’re using. The amount needed for your specific tile will vary depending on the amount of tile to be grouted, the size of the grout lines, and the thickness of the tile. Follow the directions and mix the grout with a bucket of water.
Apply New Grout
You can use your hands or a grout float and scoop some grout out of the bucket and onto the tile and force the grout into the grout lines. If you are doing a wall, start at the bottom of the wall. If you are doing a floor, start at the corner farthest from the door so as to not stress about walking or crawling over your work.
Work in a small area at a time because you do not want the grout to dry before you have the desired finish you want. The grout should be almost flush with the top of the tile. Grout lines should be full but not over-filled. Use the float and run it along the grout lines at a 45-degree angle to smooth it out. “Squeegee” off any excess grout on the tile and return the excess to the bucket of grout. This will make the clean-up process easier.
Repeat this process until you see the first section of grout begin to set up. Grout becomes lighter as it sets. It will also be firm. At this point, you will want to start cleaning the section that is set up. Clean each section as it sets and then rout another section until all tile is grouted.
Wet the sponge and wring it out thoroughly. Too much water in the sponge can weaken the stability of the grout. It can also cause too much of the new grout to be washed out of the lines, and you could wash out the color as well.
Once you have wrung out the sponge, wipe all remaining grout off the tiles. This should be done without scrubbing as if you are cleaning a window or mirror. After you have cleaned off the tiles, wring out the sponge and wipe along the grout line to smooth it out. Now, do not touch your work. Be patient and let the grout set and dry completely.
Remove the Haze
After you grout dries, you will see a haze over the top of the tile. You will want to remove the haze immediately because if you wait a day or so, it will be much more difficult to remove.
Get a fresh bucket of water and a new sponge. Once again, be sure to wring out the sponge thoroughly and wipe down the tile to remove the haze. More than likely, you will have to wipe down the tile several times to remove all the haze completely. This can take some time, but you will want to make sure all the haze is gone. One tip for removing the haze is to use microfiber towels. They are inexpensive and can remove a large portion of the haze in one wipe-down.
Be sure to let the grout set for 24 to 48 hours before you take a shower or allow any water to come in contact with the area you just grouted.