Repair for Cracked Grout
LESLIE: Fatma is on the line from Michigan with a grout question. What is going on at your money pit?
FATMA: I have a – my house is about 22 years old. I think it was built in ‘94. I have a family room that is – the floors are ceramic. And I noticed that the grout is breaking and so the – some of the ceramic tile is kind of lifting up. And similar thing now just happened in the bathroom and the laundry room. So, I was just wondering, what is the best and most cost-effective way to fix that problem?
TOM: Fatma, what kind of floor is the tile on? Is it on a wood floor? Do you have a basement underneath this or what?
FATMA: OK, it’s – the house is two floors. We do have a basement underneath and part of it is finished and part of it is not. And I have – the problem was noticed a while ago in the upper floor bathroom – in the master bathroom. The master bathroom is above the garage and I saw that that may be because the garage is cold and maybe the difference in the temperature. So that was just one crack.
Now that the family room is having the same – the grout is breaking and the other half-bathrooms – those and the laundry room – all on the main floor.
TOM: Because what I am concerned about is that the base of the tile, however the floor was prepared for the tile to go on, wasn’t stiff enough. So if there’s any flexibility in that floor, then this would mean that the tile would move and the grout would start to crack and you could get tile that pops up.
In this situation, it’s hard to do a partial repair. Certainly, you can – there’s tools that can be used to grind out the grout. It could all be replaced, regrouted but that’s not to say that it won’t continue to move. Loose tiles can be lifted up and reglued to the floor and then regrouted but it might not be the end of it. If it turns out that the base, the way the tile was installed initially, wasn’t done very well, then that’s why you’re continuing to have movement and looseness and cracking.
And so, in that case, the best thing to do is to take all the tile up and then to redo it, really, from the bottom on up or to choose a different type of flooring material. You don’t have to use tile. If you wanted to leave the tile in place and put another flooring on top of that, you could do that, as well. And a laminate floor works very well for that. It’s a fairly new flooring material. It’s extremely durable and it can look like tile or stone or hardwood floor. And it kind of snaps together and then it floats on top of the floor that’s underneath it. You could put that right over the old tile. It’s just that the floor would be a little higher as a result.
FATMA: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much.