Has your tiled floor lost its luster? Is it beginning to look dingy and dull?
Before you splurge on new tile, take a look at the grout. Old grout can make tile that is still in good condition appear much older than it is.
The good news is that regrouting your tile floor will give it new life without breaking the bank. All you’ll need is some elbow grease!
Step 1: Get Ready
Regrouting your tile involves two main steps: removing the old grout and installing the new grout. Removing old grout can create a lot of dust, so consider hanging up plastic sheeting around your work area.
You’ll also want a dust mask to wear during this project, and make sure that you have a shop vacuum to eliminate the debris as you go.
Note that it usually takes around two hours to remove the grout on a four-foot by four-foot section of flooring (16 square feet). Then, add another hour to this estimate to account for the time it will take to apply new grout.
If you have smaller tiles, you’ll have more grout lines to deal with, and it’ll likely take longer than if you’re working with larger tiles.
Ideally, you’ll want to have an oscillating tool with a blade specifically meant for grout removal. This will move the process along much more quickly. However, you can remove the grout manually with a grout removal tool or grout saw as well.
Step 2: Remove the Old Grout
You can remove the old grout manually or with an oscillating tool. Bear in mind that manual removal will take much longer.
The First Pass
If you have an oscillating tool, fit it with a blade meant for grout removal. Turn it on, hold the blade perpendicular to the tile’s surface, and move the oscillating tool’s blade along the grout joints.
Be careful not to chip your tile.
At this time, all you’re trying to do is remove the majority of the grout. Don’t worry about small bits that are left behind. Remember to use your shop vacuum to suck up debris as you go.
The Second Pass
After completing your first pass with the oscillating tool, go in once more, slightly angling the blade, to clean up the grout lines. Avoid lingering around the edges; this will damage your tile.
If there are any areas where the grout doesn’t crumble and grind out easily, leave them alone for now. You’ll remove them manually later on.
Just like your first pass, pause and vacuum as you go.
The Third Pass
Next, use your grout removal tool and a utility knife to manually remove any last bits of grout on your third pass.
Step 3: Clean the Area
Before you install new grout, you’ll need to thoroughly clean the area. Use your shop vacuum to remove any debris and dust in the grout lines.
Step 4: Mix the Grout
You can purchase grout premixed or as a dry powder that you’ll need to mix with water. Select sanded grout for grout lines wider than a quarter of an inch or unsanded grout for narrower grout lines.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly as you mix your grout. Once mixed, the grout should have a smooth consistency similar to paste.
Step 5: Apply the Grout
Use a rubber grout float to pick up some grout and smear it onto the surface of the tile. Hold it at a 60-degree angle as you spread the grout over the tile joints. Be sure to press the grout firmly into the spaces between tiles and work in alternating directions to fill the joints completely.
Reload the tile with grout as needed and repeat the process until you’ve filled all of the joints with new grout.
Step 6: Remove Excess Grout
Lightly moisten a sponge and move it across the tile surface to remove any excess grout. Be sure not to press too hard, as this will pull the freshly-applied grout out of the seams.
Rinse out the sponge frequently, changing the water as needed, and continue to repeat the process until you’ve removed all of the excess grout.
Step 7: Eliminate Grout Haze
Wait for the grout to completely dry, referring to the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how long you’ll need to wait. Once it’s totally dry, you’ll be able to see a light haze on the tile’s surface.
Use a soft cloth or a haze-removing product to gently buff and polish the tiles until the haze is gone.
Step 8: Seal the Grout
If you used standard (not premixed) grout, then be sure to apply a sealer for stain resistance once the grout has dried and cured.
Most kinds of premixed grout don’t require sealer, but always refer to the manufacturer's instructions to determine whether or not you’ll need to add it.
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