How to Repair Old Grout

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When grout gets old, it often begins to chip, crack or become discolored. This can make the entire tiled surface look unappealing. Furthermore, when grout begins to chip and crack, it can leave an opening for moisture to seep behind the tiles. Old grout needs to be removed and regrouted. Repair old grout sooner rather than later to preserve the tile and keep the surface looking neat and clean.

Things You'll Need

  • Grout saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Rags
  • Small bucket
  • Grout
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Rubber grout float
  • Sponge
  • Remove the old grout with a grout saw. Run the saw back and forth over the grout line until all of the old grout is broken up. Use a hammer and chisel to lightly tap out any remaining grout along the edges.

  • Vacuum out the tile joints to remove all of the dust and broken-up grout. Wipe out the joint with a dry towel to remove any remaining debris.

  • Mix the grout in a small bucket according to the package instructions. Only mix a small batch of grout at one time so it doesn't harden before you can use it. Ideally, the grout should be the consistency of peanut butter when spreading it.

  • Dip a plastic putty knife into the bucket to scoop out the grout. Force the grout down into the grout joint.

  • Run a rubber grout float back and forth over the joint. Apply pressure to ensure the grout gets packed into the joints. Scrape excess grout from the tile with the grout float.

  • Run a damp sponge diagonally over the grout lines to smooth out the grout. Only make one pass over each section with the sponge. Rinse and wring out the sponge after each pass.

  • Wipe excess grout off the tiled surface with the damp sponge, then a dry rag. Do this carefully so you don't disturb the grout lines.

  • Allow the grout to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. This generally takes four to six hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work in small sections when applying grout. The instructions listed above are for grouting a 2-square foot section or smaller. Working in larger sections may cause the grout to harden before it can be properly applied.
  • You can buy a grout saw for less than $10 at most home improvement and hardware stores. Use caution with the grout saw, hammer and chisel so you don't damage the surrounding tile.
  • You can repair only a section of old grout if the rest of the grout is in good shape. Take a chipped off piece of the old grout to a store where grout is sold and they can help you match the appropriate color.

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References

  • Photo Credit Boden image by Milosz Bartoszczuk from Fotolia.com
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