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Replacing Grout

What You Will Need
To remove and replace grout, you'll need:

  • Goggles
  • Portable vacuum or whisk broom
  • A hammer
  • A chisel
  • Grout
  • Small mixing bucket
  • A rubber grout float
  • A large clean sponge

The most difficult aspect of this task is chipping out the old grout, especially without banging up your tile, so prepare to go slowly and take your time. If the grouted section you're restoring is large, you might want to do only small sections at a time. Always wear goggles for this chore, because grout can and will find its way straight into your eyes.

Angle the chisel between your tiles and, using controlled, quick strikes, tap your hammer, cracking and driving out the old grout. Again, be careful and don't use a chisel too large for the job, or you'll be replacing tiles in addition to the grout. Cover small areas at a time until the section you're addressing is complete. Clear away the old grout with a portable shop vac or stiff whiskbroom and a dustpan. Wipe tiles with a clean dry towel.

How To Mix Grout
In a small bucket or plastic container, mix enough grout to cover either the entire area or a few square feet, which ever is smaller. You don't want to mix a huge bucket of grout, because it will begin to harden before you can complete the job. Mix according to the instructions on the bag or box. If the instructions don't do a breakdown for small areas, simply mix it to the consistency of peanut butter: thick enough to spread, but not so thick that it is pasty. If the tile you're re-grouting is porous, you may need to mix a non-stick additive into the grout so it won't quickly adhere to the tiles, making it difficult to remove the excess. If you don't have additive (or don't want to deal with it), place masking tape around the perimeter of each tile to prevent grout from sticking to tile surfaces.

How To Apply Grout

1. Beginning at the corner farthest from the room's entrance, pour or slather new grout over clean tiles. Use a rubber grout float to push grout between tiles.
2. Go over the tiles until the grout has been forced into all spaces, clearing excess grout off your float with each pass. Use your float to scrape the grout off your tile surfaces as you go.
3. Use a damp sponge to finish your grout. Using diagonal movements, run your sponge across grouted joints, covering about two square feet at a time. Don't wipe the same area more than once unless needed, as each pass will remove more grout. Clean your sponge after each wipe, wringing out excess water so that the sponge is always damp, not wet. Carefully wipe any grout off tile surfaces. Let the grout dry according to the instructions (usually about 4-6 hours) and wipe the tile clean with a soft dry cloth.
4. If needed, remove and replace any caulking around the floor perimeter.
Hammer Need some more help with replacing grout? Visit our Floors and Stairs forum and post questions concerning grout!