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Fixing Grout

Most tile surfaces have grout. Grout that is not cared for deteriorates over time and looks awful. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to fix. These directions pertain mainly to fixing small patches of grout. However, it is possible to remove all of the grout in a tub surround, for instance, and re-grout it. Here's a list of things you'll need.

Step 1:

Identify the grout lines (Fig. 1) that need to be repaired. Sometimes they will look crumbly, other times the grout will become permanently stained.

Step 2:

Working on one section at a time, take the grout saw and, with a sawing motion, remove the stained grout (Fig. 2). Remove at least the top-most layers of grout. Ensure that you remove any and all damaged grout. If the grout lines are too tight for the grout saw, use a utility knife (be careful not to cut yourself). Clean the grout lines with a sponge or a small disposable brush (Fig. 3).

Step 3:

I usually let the exposed grout dry an hour or so. Give the exposed grout a final brushing and then fill in the joints with pre-mixed grout. I normally wet my finger and use it to force the grout into the joint (Fig. 4). Use as much grout as necessary to bring the grout to the level of the existing grout (Fig. 5). Make sure the joint is smooth and has no gaps in the grout.

Step 4:

Whenever the excess grout begins to form a whitish haze on the tile (usually an hour or so) you need to clean it up. Take a damp sponge and gently wipe away the excess. Take care not to disturb the grout in the joint. It is not hard yet and if you wipe across it, you will wipe it onto the tile. You may have to take a soft cloth and polish away the excess grout.

Step 5:

Let the grout dry for 48 hours (check the package for details) before exposing the grout to moisture. It is normally a good idea to seal the grout with a silicone grout sealer but some pre-mixed formulas have a sealer in them. Check the package.

Copyright 2000,

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5


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