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Why Is Floor Tile Grout Crumbling?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Helen in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you with your tiling project?

    HELEN: I just basically have a question about what I should do with tile. The grout is actually falling apart and I’ve been told that it was – actually, the wrong materials were used by the contractor. And so, now I have a floor that I need – basically need to redo it.

    TOM: OK. So the grout does have to come off and there’s a number of ways to do that. If it’s a lot of floor, you’re probably going to want to have a contractor do this. They can grind out that grout. There’s a variety of tools that can do that job. And then once it’s ground out, basically, you can just re-install the grout. Pretty straightforward project.

    Are the tiles solid? Are the tiles moving at all or is it really just the grout that’s falling out?

    HELEN: No. The tiles are moving. And I think that’s part of the problem.

    TOM: Oh, wait. The tiles are moving?

    HELEN: Yes.

    TOM: If the tiles are moving, your problem is not the grout; your problem is the tile. So, the grout might just be evidence that the tiles are moving. But if the tiles were not adhered well and they’re shifting, that’s going to break off little pieces of grout as a matter of that action – of that movement.

    So in that case, yes, you may need to pull the whole floor out and re-install it.  If it’s just not installed well, you really can’t do anything about that if you want tile. If you want to do something besides tile, you could install laminate flooring – which, by the way, is beautiful these days and it can actually look a lot like tile – on top of the old tile, if that’s something that interests you. But generally speaking, if the tile is not adhered well and it’s coming up and getting loose, that’s more and more likely what’s causing the grout to fall out.

    HELEN: Alright. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Helen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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