How to Regrout Tile
LESLIE: Well, if the grout in your kitchen or your bathroom has never, ever looked as good as the day you installed it no matter what you do to clean it, it might be time to think about removing it and starting all over from scratch.
TOM: And doing that project is not as hard as you might think. To show you how, we welcome our friends, host Kevin O’Connor and general contractor Tom Silva, from TV’s This Old House.
Welcome, guys. So, where do we start?
KEVIN: Tom and Leslie, thanks for having us.
TOM SILVA: Great to be here.
KEVIN: And if the ceramic tile in your kitchen or bathroom is in good shape but it just seems tired or dingy, simply regrouting the tile can make a big difference.
TOM SILVA: That’s right. But the first step is to remove the grout and that could be hard. You can use a hand scraper; you can use a rotary tool or even a multi-tool. After you’ve cleaned out the grout, now you have to clean the surface of the tile. Use a vinegar-and-water solution and really wash off the tile well. Then you have to take clean water and remove the vinegar-and-water solution.
TOM SILVA: Now you’re ready for the grout. You want to mix it up. Now, if you have a grout line that is, let’s say, an eighth of an inch or less, you may want to use an unsanded grout. It’ll go into that joint easier. Sometimes I mix a latex additive, instead of water, to the grout when I’m mixing it. It makes it a little more flexible and more sticky.
KEVIN: Got it. So, once the tile is prepped and the grout is all mixed, what about some tips for applying the grout?
TOM SILVA: Well, I apply the grout with a rubber float holding about 45 degrees with the joint and then rub it across the tile, pushing it into place. The trick is to let it dry but don’t let it dry too much because it really becomes hard to get off. So you want to take a clean sponge with some water and continually wipe off the tile, but you want to be careful you don’t pull the grout out of the joint.
TOM: Tom, what do you think about grout sealer? Is that a good idea?
TOM SILVA: In some cases it’s a good idea. You don’t worry about wine spilling. Like a countertop; you definitely want to seal that. That grout can be porous.
TOM: Do you ever spill wine just to test your sealer?
TOM SILVA: No, I don’t spill any wine. (Tom and Kevin laugh)
TOM: Tom Silva, Kevin O’Connor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: Thank you, Tom. It’s good to be here.
LESLIE: That’s a great tip.
Hey, if you’re convinced now that this is a project you can do yourself, there is a step-by-step video to show you exactly how on ThisOldHouse.com. Now This Old House is sponsored by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.