If you are unable to clean your grout discoloration or staining to your satisfaction, the next thing to do is re-grout your tile. Don’t panic! Re-grouting your tile is not as difficult as you may think, although it does require some work.Grout Saw

The first thing you have to do is remove all the old grout. While this can be done with a number of tools, the easiest way would be to head on down to Home Depot or the like, and pick up a grout saw like the one to the right. While you’re there you may as well pick up grout, a grout float, and a sponge or two. If you’re using sanded grout, get some rubber gloves as well.

Provided you own a bucket and a source of water, these will be all the items you need to re-grout your tile. All these items should run about $25. Please don’t decide you won’t need the $7 grout saw. You will cost yourself about 300-400 dollars worth of work and stress trying to do it with something else. The most expensive thing you’ll buy is the grout.

Now comes the most difficult part, you have to “saw” the old grout out of the tile. The small blade on the saw has a carbide edge. By placing the saw into the grout line and slowly sawing back and forth, the old grout will turn to powder and fall out of the grout line. Sound easy enough? It is. It is not a difficult thing to do, it’s just time consuming.

Start slowly! I cannot emphasize this enough. Until you get used to how much pressure to use and how to move the saw in such a way as to not chip the tile edge, you need to get a feel for it. While it’s fairly simple in the straight lines, between the two tile corners, you need to be careful of the corners. It is possible to chip the tile edges and corners when you do this. Mostly this is caused by not keeping the blade straight in the grout line, not keeping it parallel.

It should only take you a few minutes to get used to it. If you have sanded grout, such as in larger format tile or on a floor, there is sometimes an additional blade included that looks more like a saw, use that one. You can use either for any type of grout, just use the one that works better for you.

You will need to remove as much of the old grout as you can. Ideally all of it should be removed but you must remove at least 2/3 of it. This is to ensure that the new grout has enough of the tile edge on which to adhere. Take your time, this is the thing that will take the most time. When you’re all done, just vacuum up the grout dust. Take a break and have yourself an adult beverage a Coke.

Now you need to mix up your new grout. Every brand of grout has different mixing requirements. Follow the directions. No, really, follow the directions. The amount you’ll have to mix up varies according to the amount of tile, size of your grout lines, even the thickness of the tile.  Grout FloatThere is really no set amount so it is difficult for me to be able to tell you exactly how much.

A typical shower surround with 6 X 6 tiles will probably use about 1/2 gallon of grout. But I can’t see your shower from here so it may take more.  Read the box or bag and just make sure you are buying enough for the amount of tile you have.

Mix all that up and while it is slaking (you read the directions, right?) get yourself a bucket of water with a sponge in it and your grout float ready. Now remix your grout.

Time to grout! Scoop some grout out of your bucket and toss it on the tile. Starting at the bottom of the wall if you’re grouting a shower or in a corner somewhere, force the grout into the grout lines. Again, take your time until you get use to it.

Push the grout down into the lines enough to ensure that the space between the tiles is full. After doing a small area take your float at a 45 degree angle to the tile and run it down along the grout line to smooth it out. Your trying to get the basic look that you want when it’s done. You’ll want the grout lines full but not over-full. The grout should be about flush with the top of the tile. This doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, but you’ll want to “squeegee” off as much access grout as you can. This makes cleaning easier.

Keep on going with this until the first section of grout you did is set up a bit. It should be firm but it should not be changing colors yet. (Grout gets lighter as it sets.)(Umm, except white, it gets darker.) When it gets to that point you want to start cleaning it.

Wring out your sponge very well. If you have too much water in your sponge it will lead to several problems. You will weaken the stability of the grout, you can wash too much of the grout out of the lines, you can even wash the color out of the grout – really. So wring out your sponge very well.

Now just wipe all the excess grout off the tiles. You should not need to scrub it, just wipe it like your cleaning a window. After you get the excess grout off the tile, wring out your sponge and wipe it down along the grout line to smooth it out. Now leave it alone. Really, leave it alone – be patient. Go change your bucket of water with some fresh stuff.

After the initial wipe-down dries you will probably see a grout haze over the top of the tile. Don’t panic, it’s completely normal. Now wipe it down again the same way. Don’t worry, it should be much easier this time.  This time, though, you’re more concerned with getting that haze off your tile.

The grout lines should be just fine, you shouldn’t need to do anything else with them. Your main concern is getting the haze to go away. You want to do this now. A day or two later when the grout sets, it will be significantly more difficult to remove. Depending upon the type of tile and the color of your grout, you may need to do this two or three more times. I know, it sucks. Just sing tv show theme songs in your head while you do it, that should keep you amused. I like the Brady Bunch song myself.

The easiest way to get the haze off is to get some microfiber towels. If you use that for your second wipe-down it should take about 90% of that haze off with one wipe-down. That’s worth three bucks for me.

When you’re done stand back and admire your excellent work! Doesn’t that look better? And you even lived through it. Let the grout set for 24 – 48 hours before you take a shower or spill a bucket of water on it. Great job! Go have yourself another adult beverage Coke.

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  • Shannon

    Hello,

    My home was a flipped home we bought 3 years ago – the grout lines are very shallow and dirt gets stuck in there easily. Can I re grout over the old lines since they’re so shallow? I just had 2 tiles replaced and the guy re grouted around those two and now I have bright white full grout lines and the rest of the house is shallow, dingy grout lines :/
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Shannon,

      If the grout is more shallow than 2/3 the depth of the grout line then yes, you can grout over it. If not it needs to be removed to at least that depth.

      Reply
  • terri

    I have a very old house(1936)been in it 16 years.I’m recaulking the tub and some of the gaps are huge. Should I put grout behind the caulk in those areas? Also I noticed some tiny holes the grouting – other than that the grout looks good – can I fill in the holes or do I have to completely regrout?

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Terri,

      No grout behind caulk! Get some backer rod (it’s just cylindrical foam) and stuff it in there, then caulk over it. Yes, you can fill those tiny holes.

      Reply
  • Kevin

    Hi there,
    After regrouting a shower wall ,do i need to apply a sealer over the new grout.

    Reply
  • Ines

    Hello. I found a product called glitter grout and am curious to know what your thoughts are on re grouting on top of old ground. We am not planning to take out old grout as there is nothing wrong with it, all we want to do it spruce it up with some white glitter grout for aesthetics only. Can we grout on top of existing grout in the shower? Any feedback and comments re welcome!

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Ines,

      If you go over the existing grout the new grout will begin to flake off in about a month or so. If you want to spruce it up you’ll need to either use a grout colorant or dig out the existing grout to install new.

      Reply
  • Gloria Miller

    Hi. I have to replace my tub & I need to remove the bottom row of existing 12″x12″ tiles. I used regular mortar on backer board with waterproofing on it. The grout is an alternative substance that I’ll say is acrylic. Is it possible to remove the tiles intact? I really don’t know how to get the grout out. I’m asking because the tiles have been discontinued. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Gloria,

      Try a heat gun or hair dryer to soften the grout, then dig it out with a chisel or similar tool. Acrylics and epoxies will soften with heat. You will likely NOT get the tile out intact.

      Reply
  • Margie

    Just had ceramic tile installed on my floor about a week ago. Some of the grout looks great (dark brown) but in other areas it looks lighter, like dusty. When i mop it with a damp mop it looks better but as soon as it dries, it looks lighter. Can the installer add more grout now, or will they have to remove the old. Plus, i think i need to add more grout so that it is flush with the tiles. Because dirt and debris gets trapped in the grout. Please Help!!

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Margie,

      They should be able to go over it again to even out the color and fill those grout lines.

      Reply
  • Jo Cush

    John I’m wanting to replace the grout in a 40 year old bathroom. It has subway tiles & they are so close together that I wonder if there is actual grout in there. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Jo,

      I would run a razor blade down the grout lines. If the grout is brittle enough that’ll take it right out. Just be careful, it is a razor blade. :D

      Reply
      • Jo Cush

        Thanks! I will be very careful!

        Reply
  • John

    Shower floor small glasssqares in mesh placed and grouted.feels sandy.discoluring now 1year.could I remove grout,replace and then seal the grout.are products available in south africa

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi John,

      Yes, you can, but it will still likely feel sandy (if it’s sanded grout) and water will still make it’s way beneath the tiles – sealer will not prevent that. I’m assuming that’s where the discoloration is coming from.

      Reply
  • Twyla

    Just put down new tile floor. Now I just grouted the floor the grout looked good, but this morning the grout shrunk and has a few tiny holes in some of it. Can I just put more grout on top of the new grout? Haven’t sealed it yet. Or will I have to remove the new tile that I just did?

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Twyla,

      You can go back over it with more grout.

      Reply
  • Linda

    Can you re-grout acrylic grout. We have LVT tile – luxury vinyl tile and want to know if it is possible to re grout the tile. If so, what is the process to do this?

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Linda,

      Yes you can. with acrylic grouts (with regular tile, anyway) you can go over the existing with new grout. Provided you aren’t changing the color you may be able to do that. Contact the manufacturer, they will be able to tell you your options.

      Reply
  • Margarita Garnica

    Ok

    Reply
  • Peggy

    I used Mapei brand grout colorant and sealant on the grout on my kitchen counters. Looked great for quite awhile but is wearing off in the more used areas and I have decided I want to just remove it completely. I have not been able to find a successful way to do so. I’ve scrubbed and scraped and tried every product I could find. Isn’t there anything that will dissolve this stuff? Or am I going to have to replace the grout completely ? I would appreciate any advice you might have.

    Reply
  • Ron Levy

    I would add a very important note to the end of your article:

    Seal your grout with a good penetrating sealer before showering!

    Reply
  • Patrick A

    What a great site! Our master BR was redone 6 months ago and I’m noticing grout cracks where the walls meet and where the floor meets the wall. 12×12 travertine on the walls and 4×4 tumbled travertine on the floor. I’m good with removing cracked grout. What should I use for replacement – more sanded grout like was used originally (hopefully doesn’t do the same thing) or I’ve heard of a type of “grout” that comes in a tube like caulk? House shifting? Crappy original job? Bad luck? All of the above? Will be drinking an adult beverage awaiting help! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Patrick,

      It needs to be replaced with silicone (or caulk). Silicone would be better. Any change of plane needs a flexible sealant in it, not grout.

      Reply
  • Terry

    Roger..I think this will be a new one for you but I would appreciate your expertise. A few years ago I took out all the grout between my bathroom tiles and used bathroom caulking instead …it came out really good BUT I should have used more caulk…can I put more caulk over the old…? My husband doesn’t think I should and I haven’t ever heard of tiling a bathroom floor with caulk but I did it!

    Reply
    • Roger

      Hi Terry,

      It’s not that you should have used more caulk, it’s that you shouldn’t have used caulk. Caulk will lose it’s elasticity over time and begin to shrink, eventually not only will it shrink down in the grout lines, it will eventually become debonded from the tile. New caulk will bond to the old, but it will create more problems because the old caulk will continue to shrink under the new.

      Reply