Nothing short of a full rip-out and replacement will offer a more dramatic transformation of your ceramic floor than regrouting. Grout is the mortar that sits in the lines between the tiles, spanning that gap and helping seal off the underlayment below. Grout is more fragile than tile, and can crack, crumble or discolour over time, giving a grungy look to the whole floor. Regrouting isn't complicated---you just dig out the old grout and apply new grout---but the grout removal takes some muscle power and patience.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Grout saw (unpowered carbide blade on a handle)
- Grout powder
- Wide putty knife
- Grout float (rubber trowel)
Dig out the existing grout with your grout saw. Scrape the saw forward and back over the grout lines, breaking up the surface and working your way down. Work gradually, in short, steady strokes with firm downward pressure. Use caution not to scratch the tile.
Vacuum the debris and dust out of the lines.
Pour an inch of water into the bottom of your bucket. Add enough grout powder to cover it. Mix well with your putty knife. Continue adding water and grout, alternately, until you have about a gallon of it, and it's the consistency of thick mud.
Let the grout sit in the bucket for 10 minutes. This process---``slaking''---will allow the ingredients to meld.
Re-stir the grout and scoop it out of the bucket with your grout trowel. Press it directly to the lines between the tiles, spreading it across the lines at a slight angle while squeezing it off the tile face.
Working in sections of about 4 to 6 square feet, apply the grout, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe off the excess residue with a damp sponge. While the grout is sitting and awaiting the sponge in one area, you can apply the grout to the next. Do the whole floor.
Re-wipe the whole floor with the sponge after an hour. Wipe it again as needed over the next 24 hours. Let the grout cure for two or three days before resuming full use of the floor.
Tips and warnings
- Wear eye protection when scraping out the grout.
- Wear a dust mask when mixing and applying your grout.
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