Are the tiles in your kitchen or bathroom not looking their best? If you’ve tried clean grout in between your tiles but not achieved good results, you may decide to improve their appearance by re-grouting them.
The first step when you re-grout tiles is to remove the worn, stained grout already in place. You’ll need an electric grout remover or a grout rake. An electric tool is easiest to use if you need to work on a large area, but a grout rake is a useful alternative if you are new to grout removal and prefer to work at a slower pace to gage results.
Grout rakes are designed to fit easily between tiles to displace the grout. The old grout is hard, and dense material can fly out during removal so make sure you wear protective goggles, such as the type you can buy from a DIY store.
Additionally, the re-grouting process will cause dust to rise in the air, so ensure you open windows for adequate ventilation. If you’re working in a place with no windows, wear a breathing mask so you don’t inhale dust particles and tiny chips of grout.
Cover the floor and surrounding areas where the job is to be carried out; cleaning up will be simple later since you can gather the edges of the dust sheet when you want to take it out the room. If you’re working close to a sink, remember to put in the plug to prevent old grout bunging up the plug hole.
Removing old grout with a grout rake
Hold the tool with a firm grip, aiming it in the middle of lines of old grout. The teeth of the grout rake will dislodge material as you apply pressure. Just move the tool along the line one stroke at a time in the same direction. The job will take a while, but you can see exactly what you’re doing.
Dislodging grout with an electric tool
Electric grout removal tools are fast and a great help when you want to cover a large area. However, you need a steady hand and confidence to use them without scratching or chipping anything other than the grout. The chances of causing damage will lessen if you begin removing grout in the middle of each groove rather than at the edge.
Also, you are less likely to miss grout you need to remove if you work horizontally across grooves first and then vertically or vice versa. When you’ve finished, use a damp cloth to wipe over the tile’s surface to get rid of loose material before re-grouting.
How to choose fresh grout
There are several types of grout from which to choose. Some are anti-mold, and others are waterproof or made for dry areas. You can buy colored grout, sanded grout, or non-sanded grout too, so select the right kind to suit your needs. Bear in mind whether the tiles are likely to come into contact with water and the material of the tiles. Shiny stone or glass tiles will get scratched if you use sanded grout, but it is perfect for regular ceramic tiles and filling wide grooves.
How to re-grout
You’ll need a grout float, a bucket of water, a sponge, and a bucket in which to mix powdered grout. Alternatively, you may use grout paste, which is ready to apply. If you are mixing powdered grout, be careful not to add too much water, as it will make the grout sloppy and difficult to apply. Also, only mix the amount you will use in a half-hour period; it sets fast and any more will be wasted.
Use the float to apply fresh grout to the grooves between tiles. Don’t be afraid to get the material over the whole of the tiles as you can remove excess grout and clean the area. Apply pressure as you press the grout in place, and then lightly scrape tile surfaces with the float, or a grout spreader, to pick up the extra grout.
Next, dip your sponge into clean water and wring it out so it’s damp, but not too wet. Wipe the sponge across the tiles at an angle, using one side and then the other only once before re-washing it and wringing it out ready to repeat the process.
Work on a small patch of tiles rather than the entire area–a few feet is enough–and then continue until the job is done. After about twenty minutes, use a grout finisher tool to smooth grouting. Drag the tool gently along the grooves. When the grout is completely dry clean the tiles with a solution of water and vinegar made from equal parts for a shiny finish.
Re-grouting isn’t a quick job but can make tiles look fresh and new and is worth the effort. Remember to work on one small patch of tiles at a time, filling the grooves and then wiping the tiles clean, and the outcome will be successful.
Does it sound like too much work? If you would rather hire a professional try searching our directory for one in your area.