How to regrout Tiles
When your tiling is a few years old and is starting to look a little tired and jaded, there is one sure-fire way to revitalize the entire tiling installation and that is a complete regrouting of your bathroom tiles. Standard cement based grout is not waterproof as is widely believed, it is in fact “water-resistant” which means that whilst water won’t affect its properties at all, it will not stop water from permeating through the grout. Obviously, over time this brings with it the conclusion that contaminated water will be in regular contact with the grout and soaking into it, little by little which will eventually leave the grout looking dirty and tired and affecting the overall look of the tiling. The best way to fix a dirty grout issue is to regrout totally, but this is not the easiest solution by far and there are risks involved as follows:
- Raking the grout from the joint can damage the tiles if your hand slips
- Grout (especially flexible grout) is very hard and is stubborn to remove from the joints
- If not enough grout is raked first, then the new grout will not stick to the existing
- Wall Tile grout is a lot easier to rake out than cement based floor grouts.
The traditional tool to use to rake out grout from the joint is commonly known as a “grout rake” which usually consists of a tungsten carbide tipped edge tool that you physically scrape through the joints whilst applying pressure to the tool, this will remove the grout by physically scraping it and turning it into fine powder, but is very labour intensive. These will work on cement based floor grouts also, but are aimed mostly at regrouting wall tiles.
You need to rake out approximately half the depth of the grout joint to give the new grout a good depth to key onto when you apply it, if you try to cap the grout off by only applying it to the existing grout then it will not stick and wash away when a shower is turned on or when it is washed. Go for at least a depth of 3mm raking out on both floors and walls which should give enough depth for the new grout to take.
If you are regrouting a floor or a large area and want some automated help with your regrout, then there are tools available to make the job just that little bit easier. be careful with rotary grinders and similar tools as they rotate and can be hard to control when you put the edge into your grout joint, leaving you with scratched tiles, but if you’re careful then you can buy special diamond grout rake attachments for some of these tools which will make the job significantly easier and on a floor regrout are almost a must have. A better tool to use would be an oscillating tool which vibrates very fast, instead of rotating and offers less risk of slipping and damaging the tiling.
Regrouting Bathroom Tiles – Choosing new grout
If you have raked out your existing grout and are ready to proceed, then your next choice is the type of grout to use to regrout with. If this is a white wall grout then choose a flexible anti mould grout which will inhibit the growth of black mould inside the grout and perform better with the flexible properties in a shower. If you have coloured grout in your walls, then check the suitability with your supplier as these have different specifications but do bear in mind that some dark colour pigmented grouts can continue to leach out pigment after grouting, especially in shower areas.
If you are regrouting the floor, you are more likely to be using a grey colour or a natural limestone or sandstone grout, choose a flexible grout which offers more strength and resistance to wetting. You can use floor grouts on the wall but not vice versa, but floor grouts have coarse sand in them and can easily scratch walls tiles or glass tiles if you’re not careful. If you need to have matching floor and wall tile grout, speak to your supplier about a suitable grout as there are many grouts now available that can be used on both the wall and floor but offer a smooth finish and are much easier to apply than a wide joint floor grout.
Alternative options to regrouting bathroom tiles
As regrouting tiles is labour intensive and carries some risks, it makes sense to consider other options also. If you have white wall grout it is possible to buy grout pens which you apply to your existing grout surface and basically paints it white. These are a good option in a small area that isn’t too dirty and just needs a lift, try a test area first and see if you like the results ands then carry it over to the full grouting.
The next option to consider are epoxy coating grout colourants which you can purchase now. These are liquid form epoxy coatings that come in various colours and you apply with a brush to the surface of the grout, leave for a while and then clean off the excess leaving behind a revitalized grout joint in the colour of your choice. This is a great option if you want to change the colour of your grout also which is a good way to give the tiling a lift, but it may need applying more than once depending on how the existing grout was finished originally and what colour you are replacing. These work fantastically though and are a tilers favourite weapon of choice to avoid a regrout.
Regrouting Bathroom Tiles – Conclusion
There will never be a better solution than regrouting bathroom tiles in the correct manner as stated above, this will give the best overall results when you are wanting to update your dirty or tired looking grout, but we hope we have given you some viable alternatives which give you some ideas.
One thing you can do once you have regrouted your wall or floor is to seal the grout joints. There are many sealers available that are easy to apply (usually with a little artist brush or similar) and they give an added level of protection by filling some of the little tiny pores on the surface of the grout and slowing down the dirt, contamination or water from permeating through the grout, keeping it looking good for longer. When using these sealers on the floor, they will need to be applied regularly and more often than the walls as the effect of walking on the sealer will wear it down fast. applying the sealer and having an active cleaning regime of your grout joints is the one best way to avoid regrouting bathroom tiles in the long run.
If you have any questions or comments in regards to regouting bathroom tiles, then please post in the comment section below.