A Quick Guide to Grout Removal
Grout removal and replacement can make a bathroom or kitchen look much improved without someone having to spend an arm and a leg on a renovation. As grout gets older it darkens in color and can give the room a dirty look. Ceramic tiles usually continue to look bright and clean and do not need replacement.
No matter where you have tile--floors, countertops or walls, you can achieve a new look by simply replacing your grout. Grout is the filler between tiles or between the bathtub or shower and the floor or wall. The grout used to fill gaps around the tub is a little softer than floor or countertop grout.
It is important to fill these gaps with grout because without it, moisture would be able to seep under the tile and ruin it. The two places where tile and grout are used most, bathrooms and kitchens, are more humid than other rooms in the house.
Grout removal is not hard but it is messy and it does take some patience on your part. You will need to put together a pair of gloves, dust mask, goggles, and grout removal tools. Get some masking tape to cover the tiles where their edges touch the grout so that you don’t damage the tile. And, you will need some cleaner to get any last pieces of adhesive off the tiles.
When it comes to grout removal tools, you basically have three choices. The first is not the best method but it is the one that has been tested by time, the method most used by do-it-yourselfers who do not want to spend any money buying new tools for grout removal. This grout removal method is known as the screwdriver and hammer technique.
Just take a common hammer and screwdriver with a handle and a flat blade. Position the screwdriver at a 45-degree angle with the flat end touching the grout. Tap on the screwdriver gently and you will loosen bits of grout. Keep at it until all of the grout around all of the tiles has been. You can vacuum up the chips and dust or use a brush or broom to sweep the old grout into a dust pan.
If you have much tile in your house, you are going to make out better using a grout scraper. These are available in most hardware stores. Get a grout scraper with a carbide tip if possible. You can make a break with your hammer and then insert a corner of the scraper pushing downward into the line of grout.
Flatten your scraper and continue to free the grout until you are done. If you have a lot of grout removal or if you just like using new tools, you can get a power grinder. They have them at rental shops if you just want one for a grout removal weekend. There is also something called a grout grabber kit, which is a reciprocal saw with carbide blades that can do 200 feet on one blade.
Once the grout has been removed, go about cleaning the tile and the area around the tile where the grout had been set. Once the area is entirely dry, you can mix a new batch of grout and spread it across both the tile and the grout frame around the each tile. You should layer it thick enough to fill in the grout frame. Then wash the tile with soapy water or tile cleaner, being careful not to touch the new grout.
The better your keep tile and grout cleaned throughout the year, the less grout removal you will be forced to do. Many of today’s ceramic tiles are very beautiful, with all types of colors and designs. With proper care, you can go for many years without having to deal with grout removal.