A Step-by-Step Guide to Removing and Replacing Grout in a Tile Shower
Frederick M Hueston StoneForensics.com
Removing and replacing grout in a tile shower is a necessary maintenance task that can refresh the appearance of your bathroom and prevent water damage and mold growth. Over time, grout can become discolored, cracked, or start to crumble, indicating that it’s time for a replacement. This guide will walk you through the steps to effectively remove old grout and replace it with new grout, ensuring a lasting, waterproof seal.
Tools and Materials Needed
Grout saw or oscillating tool with grout removal blade
Vacuum or dustpan and brush
Sponge and bucket of water
Pre-mixed grout or grout mix and grout mixer (if not pre-mixed)
Silicone sealant (for corners and edges)
Safety glasses and gloves
Step 1: Preparation
Before you start, clear the shower area of any toiletries, and remove shower curtains or doors if necessary. It’s crucial to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and gloves to protect your hands. Ensure the shower area is well-lit so you can see the work area clearly.
Step 2: Removing Old Grout
Using a grout saw or an oscillating tool with a grout removal blade, carefully begin to remove the old grout. Aim to remove the grout to a depth of at least 1/8 inch to ensure the new grout can bond properly. Work slowly to avoid damaging the tiles. After removing the grout, use a vacuum or a dustpan and brush to clean out the grout lines thoroughly. This step is critical to ensure that no loose debris remains that could prevent the new grout from adhering properly.
Step 3: Mixing New Grout
If you’re using pre-mixed grout, you can skip this step. However, if you’re using grout that requires mixing, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix the grout to the right consistency. It should be firm but spreadable, without being too runny or too thick.
Step 4: Applying New Grout
Using a grout float, apply the grout at a 45-degree angle to the grout lines, ensuring that the lines are completely filled. Press the grout into the lines to remove any air pockets. Work in small sections to maintain control over the application and ensure thorough coverage.
Step 5: Cleaning Excess Grout
After applying the grout, wait about 10 minutes (or according to the grout manufacturer’s instructions) before beginning to clean the excess grout from the tile surfaces. Use a damp sponge and clean water, wiping in a diagonal motion to avoid pulling grout out of the lines. Rinse the sponge frequently and change the water as needed to keep it clean.
Step 6: Curing and Sealing
Allow the grout to cure for the time recommended by the manufacturer, which is typically 24 to 48 hours. Avoid using the shower during this time. Once cured, consider applying a grout sealer to help protect the grout from moisture and staining. Additionally, apply a silicone sealant to the corners and edges where the tile meets, as these areas are not suitable for grout and require a flexible seal to accommodate any movement.
Replacing grout in a tile shower can dramatically improve the appearance of your bathroom and ensure a waterproof seal that protects your home from water damage. By following these steps and using the right tools and materials, you can achieve professional-looking results. Remember to maintain your new grout by cleaning it regularly and reapplying sealer as needed to keep your shower looking great for years to come.