How to Re-Grout Your Ceramic Tiles

The condition of the grout between your ceramic tiles can greatly change the overall appearance of your kitchen or bathroom.  Aging grout tends to crack, crumble, and discolor, giving the entire room an unsightly look. 

Re-grouting your ceramic tiles yourself is a great way to save money and revamp an entire room. With a little time and patience, you can have ceramic tiles that look as good as new!

 

A few things you’ll need: 

 

  • New grout – Chip off a piece of grout that you’re going to replace and bring it with you to the hardware store.  Using your sample, find a grout color that best matches the color of your existing grout.  Determining the type of grout to use is also a very important step.  For tiles with a space of 1/8 inch and wider, you’ll need to use sanded grout.  This grout is stronger than most and can hold up between bigger spaces.  For gaps that are smaller than 1/8 inch, un-sanded grout can be used.
  • A grout saw – You can buy a grout saw for fairly cheap at your local hardware store.  Without one, you will not be able to remove the existing grout.
  • Grout sealer – This is a crucial step in re-grouting your ceramic floors, so make sure you’ve purchased some before you begin!
  • A grout float
  • A rag
  • Grout cleaner 
  • Squeegee or grout sponge

 

1. Clean the Grout.

After you’ve chosen your new grout and before you can apply it, you need to thoroughly clean your tiles and remove anything that might affect the grout application.  Using the commercial grout cleaner, remove any soap residue or grime.  After it’s been cleaned, allow the grout to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

2. Remove the Grout.

Once it is dry, use the grout saw to grind out the old grout.  It is important that you remove all grout and loose pieces.  Any loose debris that is left behind will disturb the new grout when it sets. Once you have properly cleaned your tile floor and removed all grout, you can begin the application process.

3. Apply the Grout.

Wet the rag and dampen the crevices between tiles.  Don’t allow water to pool, but make sure there is moisture between the ceramic.  Grout needs the moisture in order to set and adhere to the tile surfaces.

Use the manufacturers directions to mix the grout.  Once the grout is the right consistency, use the grout float to evenly apply the mixture over all surfaces. Use your finger to smooth over the joints and push the grout into the gaps.  Sometimes, the grout float may not distribute enough mixture in one space.  If this happens, go over the area again with the grout float and use your finger to smooth it out once more. 

Once all of the spaces are filled, use a grout sponge or squeegee to remove any excess from the face of the tiles.  Be careful not to go over one area too many times, or you risk disturbing your freshly grouted tiles.  If you find you made a mistake, simply apply grout one more time to the area and smooth out the groove. 

The manufacturers should include information regarding drying times for the type of grout you used.  This could take a couple of days depending on the moisture level, but once it has dried you can move on to the next step.  Carefully check each groove to see that it was filled adequately.  Most times, grout will shrink slightly when drying and create tiny gaps between tiles.  This is a normal occurrence and an easy fix.  Repeating step 3 should be enough to correct the problem and prevent it from happening again.

4. Seal the Grout.

Once you’re happy with your project, you can seal the new grout.  Following the directions on the store-bought sealer, apply the product to completely dry grout.  After the sealer has dried, take a wet rag or sponge to remove any excess residue on the tile surface.  As you clean the tile, a haze should appear over the entire surface.  Let this dry, then wipe clean with a dry rag.  Underneath, your tile will look shiny and new with beautiful, clean grout.

Re-grouting your ceramic tiles adds new life to your bathroom or kitchen.  And, when done properly, your newly sealed grout will stay looking fresh for a long time.