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.
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. There 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.
Hi, twice we had our tile 400sq ft of tile color grouted. The last time the color leaves the grout line and smeared all over my tile which is not smooth. We are remodeling our kitchen. We do not want to get new flooring because there is radiant heat under all of it and the tile goes into different areas. So my question how can we remove the color and possibly the grout. We priced out the job and he wanted $5000! Thanks for your help
It depends on what you mean by having your tiles “color grouted”. Does that mean you had the grout recolored? I’m unsure what you’re actually asking here.
If you want a different color grout you can have it recolored, but it’s really not the best option and if not done correctly actually looks worse. I think that’s what has happened here, but I’m unsure.
If that is what happened, scraping the colorant off the tile, then scraping the existing grout lines down to at least 2/3 the depth of the tile, then regrouting is definitely an option. $5000 for that amount is actually fairly on-par pricing. It’s a long, specialized process to have it done correctly.
I am SOO glad I came across your site!
I’ve been living in my house now for about 8 years and I don’t think the woman before had ever sealed/paid attention to the kitchen floor grout and now, we’re having issues with small holes in the grout forming in the lines. Oh, she was sure to tell me that it was “VERY EXPENSIVE! From Italy!” but now we’re getting more and more wear as it’s a kitchen and, well, foot traffic. Other sites haven’t explained HOW actually to remove grout or which beverage to drink after cursing, but I find myself equipped to tackle this project this weekend. Now, I just have to make sure that no one breathes near the kitchen for 3 days (kitchen/dining room together). But SERIOUSLY?! who chooses a light tan tile with a dark brown grout and then uses white/light blue as a backsplash?? I should’ve know she was a madwoman!
Btw? I love your humor. It reminds me of all of the things that my friends and I say to one another. Thanks fo all that you do.
I’ve been on a two-month bender, your description of your color scheme makes me want to begin a new one!
Did you get your issue solved?
Can I re-grout just part of my shower stall floor, I noticed some cracks in the grout, it’s a very thin crack line about 4 inches long right along the edge of the tiles, and I want to fix it. You have to look real close to even see it. Can I just remove some of the shower grout and replace that part, or do I have to replace all the grout on the whole shower floor?
You can just do that part, you don’t have to do the entire floor. The color will be off (different shades likely) for a little while, but it will even out over time.
Thank you so much! only have done one shower; used large tile ? think I might have used smaller ? How often should I reseal my sanded grout in my shower?Again thank you for the info!
The only thing that wears down sealer (in a shower) is abrasion. If anything you can reseal the floor tile once a year where the water hits it. Nothing else needs to be resealed. Acids and acidic foods also wear down sealer, but that’s not normally in a shower. If you are cutting lemons on your shower tile you’ll need to reseal those areas as well…
The grout in my shower has cracked from the built in shelf and over another five tiles. The tiles are not displaced/bulging so I was wondering if this is simply superficial or something I need to fix? I am getting very mixed messages from the people at the local hardware store. Any advice would be appreciated.
The photo will not upload-it’s too large.
Additional info… While looking closer at the shower, I saw that the previous owner caulked over the two scuppers. One came out easy, one had a lot of caulk forced up into it but I was able to pull out enough to create a drain hole. A fair amount of water came out of the the easy one. It looked like the nasty stuff that you used find in the bottom of your toothbrush holder. Yuck. I sprayed some bleach water into both holes and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing
While lying on the floor, I noticed that the corner below the shelf is also cracking. Grrrrr.
What is your tile substrate? What is the tile bonded to? Is it drywall, or backerboard. If not properly built the installation WILL retain water, because water will ALWAYS get behind tile. It needs to have weep holes to enable it to drain correctly. If your substrate is drywall it is cracking because the drywall is swelling. If it is backer it is probably cracking because seams were not taped. I’ll need a bit more info to help you figure it out and fix it, though.
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 :/
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.
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?
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.
After regrouting a shower wall ,do i need to apply a sealer over the new grout.
If you want to. You should know the purpose of sealer, though. Read through this: Tile sealers explained
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!
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.
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?
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.
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!!
They should be able to go over it again to even out the color and fill those grout lines.
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?
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.
Thanks! I will be very careful!
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
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.
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?
You can go back over it with more grout.
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?
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.
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.
I would add a very important note to the end of your article:
Seal your grout with a good penetrating sealer before showering!
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!
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.
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!
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.