Take the easy route to better grout
If the grout between your tiles is discolored, dirty or otherwise disgusting, it's time to clean it or replace it. Here's how to know which path to choose and how to do the job yourself.
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Glazed ceramic tile is one of the most durable building products ever produced. It's wear- and stain-resistant, easy to clean and impervious to water. When properly installed, a tiled surface can last for generations.
Yet tile has an Achilles' heel: The grout used to fill the joints between the individual tiles is porous, soft and easily stained. In most instances, grout can be restored to like-new condition with a good cleaning. But in more extreme cases, the only solution may be to regrout the tile.
Clean it up
If the grout is stained with dirt, mold, mildew or soap scum, start by scrubbing it with a stiff-bristle nylon brush dipped in scouring powder. Then rinse the surface with clean water.
If the stains remain, mix a 50-50 solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water and apply it to the grout with a sponge or a pump sprayer. (If using a sprayer, be sure it's rated for use with bleach. Bleach is too caustic for use in ordinary sprayers and plant misters.) Wait 10 minutes, then soak the grout with more bleach solution. After 10 more minutes, rinse the surface with clean water.
When grout is permanently stained, badly cracked or crumbling out of the joints, you have no choice but to regrout the tiles. The first step is to remove the existing grout from between the tiles. Depending on the amount of damaged grout and the width of the grout joints, there are a few different tools to consider.
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For smaller jobs with quarter-inch or narrower grout joints, you can get by with a grout rake, a small hand tool that has a steel blade covered with super-sharp carbide grit. Simply pull the tool along the joints to "rake" out the grout. In most cases, you don't have to remove every bit of grout. Removing about half of the grout is usually sufficient, as long as the remaining grout is in good condition.
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For larger jobs — say, more than about 30 square feet — or for grout joints wider than a quarter-inch, you need the speed and power of an electric tool. Several motorized tools are available for removing grout, including grinders, rotary tools and even reciprocating saws. However, the best tool for do-it-yourselfers is an oscillating multitool fitted with a carbide-grit grout-removal blade. Because the multitool blade oscillates and doesn't spin at high speeds, it's much easier to control than most other tools. Plus, multitools are lightweight and have compact, easy-grip handles.
Regardless of which tool you use to remove the grout, once the joints are cleaned out, you need to use a stiff-bristle nylon brush to scrub the joints of all dust, grit and other loose debris. Follow up with a wet/dry vacuum to ensure the joints are clean. Next, mix up a fresh batch of tile grout or buy a bucket of pre-mixed grout. Then, use a grout float to smear grout across the surface and deep into the joints.
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Wait about 20 minutes, then use a large grout sponge and clean water to wipe the surface clean of all grout residue. Read the label on the grout container to find out how long it takes for the grout to cure — usually 48 hours or longer. Once it's fully cured, apply a silicone-based sealer to the grout to increase its water and stain resistance.
Grout has always been really easy to do, so I was wondering how they were going to make it "easier" they didn't, it's the same as anybody else would do it. They probably could have gotten into the mixing of grout for those who don't know...that is actually the hardest part of the whole thing...mixing it right (consistancy).
On another note I am so tired of MSN not doing something about these websites being touted and taking up huge amounts of space on the message boards...guess I will start avoiding MSN threads I personally have reported and reported & REPORTED and nothing is done...like talking to the heavens, you get nothing back but a winking of the stars (thank you for reporting)
That was weird. I ead an entire ms(nbc) article without finding something blatently wrong in it. Hmmpf.
Anyway, the most important part of grouting is SEAL THE GROUT. Very few installers do it. They lay it, grout it, and go. They dont feel like coming back 2-3 days later and sealing it. So take for granted that they didn't, and you need to. Also make a point of resealing both your grout joints and any natural stone that you have (like granite). Most installers (from my experience) don't even jnow that you are supposed to seal granite. So, again, you need to.