Make Your Tile Great Again

Tile is a prime choice for flooring in your bathroom, kitchen, or entryway. It also makes for attractive showers, kitchen backsplashes, and even countertops. Not only is tile pleasing to the eye, but it is also durable, easy to clean, and reasonably affordable.

One of the key components of a tiled area is the grout. The grout is the bond between tiles that fills the voids and strengthens the entire area. Grout can change the whole look of your bathroom or kitchen depending on the type and color of grout you choose.

Unfortunately, grout doesn’t last forever. Depending on the type of grout and how it was installed, grout can last up to 15 to 20 years. But, grout will eventually start to crack, chip, and discolor.

A tiled area with dingy, old grout can be an eyesore. Luckily, this can be fixed without having to re-tile. You can remove the old grout and prepare for new in as little as a day or two. The process is relatively simple and inexpensive.

Patience, a steady hand, and a few tools are all you need to give your kitchen or bathroom a fresh look. Keep reading to find out all you need to know to make your tile look great again.

Tools

First, let’s discuss the tools you will need to complete your grout removal and new application.

1. Safety Glasses– Whenever undergoing a project involving power tools, it is crucial to properly protect your eyes. It may be easy to talk yourself out of this, thinking you will be extra careful. But, even the most careful of people can’t predict where flying particles will go.

As you are undergoing the grout removal process, you will be extracting small amounts of cement using a power tool. Small cement particles could flip into your eye without warning, causing injury or even permanent damage.

Don’t take the chance. Protect your eyes right from the start of the project. Safety first.

2. Oscillating Multi-Tool or Rotary– An oscillating multi-tool is a power tool with various attachments, allowing it to do various jobs. This type of tool produces tens of thousands of oscillations (back and forth movements) per minute.

A rotary is a power tool with a fast-moving motor tip that spins around like a drill. Rotary tools have a large assortment of attachments as well. Special attachments make it possible for you to work perpendicular to the grout you are removing.

3. Flat-Head Screwdriver- This may seem like an interesting tool to use in grout removal, but you won’t be using it in the traditional way. A thin flat-head screwdriver will help scrape out any leftover chunks of tile that your power tool couldn’t get out.

4. Dull Utility Knife– This is another tool request that might seem interesting. But an old, dull utility knife is ideal for helping remove the last tiny bits of grout debris.

5. Vacuum– A shop vacuum or any vacuum with a hose attachment is essential in grout removal. Keep it close by to use throughout your project to vacuum up the grout dust and debris. The air will be easier to breathe and the cleanup at the end will be much quicker.

Removal Process

Once you have all of your tools and supplies gathered, it’s time to get started. You will be ready for fresh, new grout with just a few simple steps.

1. Step One- Power Tools

Before powering up the multi-tool, take note that you need to be patient and not rush the process. Slow and steady is the way to go. The power tool is effective in removing grout, but it can also damage your tile if you’re not careful.

Also, while using the multi-tool, it is a good idea to rest your arm on something sturdy. This will help keep your arm from getting too tired and slipping off course, which could mess up your whole project or even cause an injury.

Let’s get started! With the proper attachment in place, hold your multi-tool at a 90-degree angle, perpendicular to the grout line. Slowly begin running your multi-tool along the grout line, taking care to keep it straight. This will break up most of the grout.

Next, you will want to slightly angle your multi-tool and slowly go through the grout line again. This will help cut through some of the grout that lies underneath the tile.

*Be sure to regularly run the vacuum over your work area to help minimize dust and clear the loose grout from between the tiles. This will give you a clearer view of any remaining grout, so you will know which areas need another pass with the multi-tool.

2. Step Two- Hand Tools

Next, use the flat head screwdriver to chisel out any stubborn pieces of grout that the multi-tool couldn’t get to. Then, use the dull utility knife for the final precision work of scraping any grout still clinging to the tile.

That’s it. Once you have completed these simple steps, your tile is ready to be cleaned and receive new grout. It may seem too simple to be true, but it really is that easy. The hardest part is remembering to go slow, which can get tedious and be more time-consuming than you’d like. The payoff will be your gorgeous, like-new tile.

If you’d like the professionals to handle your grout removal/re-grouting, contact our Austin kitchen and bath remodeling experts. We’re ready to help with all of your remodeling needs.