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Hard Grout on Tile: Can It Be Removed?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: If you’re listening on WYLL you’re in good company. Our next caller is Beverly from Illinois. What can we do for you?

    BEVERLY: I have this problem. I have some hardened grout on my tiles in the bathroom.


    TOM: OK.

    BEVERLY: And I don’t know how to get it off without (inaudible).

    LESLIE: What are the tiles?

    BEVERLY: Well, they’re ceramic tiles.

    LESLIE: So they’re polished, they’re sealed, they have a smooth coating?

    BEVERLY: No, they were never sealed. It was a new installation. I kind of like had to go someplace and left it for like a year and got back to it to try to finish up this remodeling project and it’s a mess.

    TOM: The ceramic tile. Is it a glazed tile?

    BEVERLY: I don’t really know that. All I know is it’s kind of like a rough looking kind of wall tile.

    TOM: Mm, OK.

    BEVERLY: This is my first experience with tile so I’m not very good at …

    TOM: Well, if it’s a glazed tile, you may have an opportunity to scrape off the grout. If it’s an unglazed tile …

    LESLIE: It might have sucked its way in.

    TOM: Yeah. They’re going to be very absorbent and that grout’s just going to suck its way in and you’re not ever going to be able to find a way to get it out.

    BEVERLY: Does this mean I’m going to just have to rip it all out and start all over again?

    TOM: If it’s that bad, yeah, potentially. If it’s glazed, you may be able to scrape it off. If it’s unglazed, you can’t. Because it’s basically hardened now so it’s – you know, it’s not something that you can dissolve or wipe away. I mean grout is permanent. If you have grout that’s in between the mortar joints and you’re trying to get it out, you can use like a Dremel or a grout saw and you can grind it out. But if it’s grout on the surface of the tile and you can’t scrape it off because it’s absorbed into it, basically that tile is now stained. And even if you got the material off, you would have a stain that was left behind. You follow me, Beverly?

    BEVERLY: Yeah, I got it.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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