If you think your shower tile is starting to look old and dingy, think again. More than likely, it's actually the grout between the tiles that is keeping your surfaces from looking their best. Before you invest the time and money into a replacement, try giving your tile a facelift by regrouting instead. This simple home improvement task can save you hundreds of dollars.
Invest in the Right Tools
Use a grout saw to remove the old grout. While you may also use a sander, screwdriver, nail or even a can opener to remove grout, these methods are time consuming and difficult to use. Grout saws are inexpensive and make your work fast and easy. Purchase the grout saw and several replacement blades as they wear out quickly.
Whenever possible, work vertically while removing old grout. Of course, you must move horizontally as well, but keep these motions to a minimum because they quickly tire your arms.
Remove Grout Thoroughly
Remove at least two-thirds of the old grout to make plenty of room for the new grout. If you remove less, the new grout will not maintain a strong enough base and may become damaged quickly. Thoroughly remove the grout to keep this from happening.
Keep It Clean
Vacuum each crevice with a portable vacuum cleaner. The grout adheres best if there are no dust, dirt or sand particles inside the cracks between the tile. If you try to apply new grout to an area that is not well-cleaned, the grout is likely to chip and flake off once it has hardened.
Work in areas about 5-feet square to give you plenty of time to work the grout into the tiles without worrying that the grout will harden before you are ready. Move from top to bottom to help keep your work looking smooth.
Keep It Dry
Keep the area as dry as possible. Try shutting off the water source to the shower to prevent accidental drips. Water prevents the grout from drying properly and may cause long-term damage. If you're using a sponge to smooth the grout, squeeze as much water as possible from the sponge first.
Use a Caulk Gun
Buy grout in a caulk-type gun if you can find it. It'll cut down on the time you spend and help keep the tile from getting messy. Fill any cracks surrounding the shower or bathtub with caulk, not grout.