Fixing Grout around Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tile countertops, floors and sidewalls look old and shabby when you have cracked, stained grout. Fixing grout around ceramic tile is a simple, low-cost home renovation project that can bestow a fresh new look to your tile.

You'll need the following tools and materials for this job, so make a list and head to the local hardware store:

    Grout saw, Squeegee or grout sponge, Grout Float, Cotton cloth or Cheesecloth, Dry towel, Grout , One-to-one vinegar and water solution , Grout sealant

Fixing grout around ceramic tile is not complex, but matching grout colors can be a challenge. Get a sample chart from the hardware store and find the nearest color match. If the color of the old grout is lighter than the closest sample on the chart, you can always brighten the new grout color by mixing in more water when you prepare it. Conversely, when the original grout color is darker than the sample, use less water.

Replacement Grout Types

As for the type of grout you need, grout comes in four kinds: sanded, unsanded, latex or epoxy. Choose the proper type of grout based on the width of your tile joints and where the repair is being done. We recommend you stay away from epoxy grout if you are new at fixing grout, because it is difficult to apply, being thicker and harder to apply than the other types.

To find out the type you need, you just measure the space between your tiles. For spacing larger than 1/8", use sanded grout. If the width is 1/8" or less, use unsanded, acrylic latex, or epoxy grout. For ceramic tile countertops, look for repair grout that's stain and mildew resistant.

Are you ready? Okay, lets get to work.

First, clean the broken grout area with a mixture of vinegar and water mixture in one to one ratio. An abrasive grout saw can be used to remove the loose or damaged grout, but slowly- take care to not chip the tile.

Vacuum clean away any debris and dust from the joints and then dampen them with water, using paper towels to blot up any moisture that collects in the grooves.

Now mix the grout according to the manufacturer's directions. If you are fixing grout for the first time, try mixing it in two or three batches as you go along with the work, rather than all at once. You won't feel so rushed by the quickly drying bucketfull of grout.

Use your rubber grout float, or grout trowel, to spread the grout, filling the joints completely. Hold it at a 45 degree angle to the joints and spread grout diaganolly. Squash the grout into joints to fill all gaps, going over the entire area 2-3 times. After all joints are full, hold the grout float at 90-degree angle and smooth off the area.

Get rid of the excess grout with the rubber squeegee or dampened grout sponge, periodically rinsing the squeegee or sponge, then wipe the area once with a rag.

Now you need to allow grout to cure; follow the manufacturer's instructions. If fixing grout around ceramic tile in a bathroom, you want to seal the grout with a grout sealant after the grout completely dries. Watch out, never allow excess grout to set on the tile surface, or it will have a lot of trouble removing it, and most likely wreck your grout work in the process.

Clean the tile with a damp cotton cloth or cheesecloth, and let it dry until a cloudy haze becomes visible on the tile. Buff up the tile with a dry towel to get rid of the haze.

If your ceramic tile grout keeps on chipping or cracking, there may be a deeper problem. Your tile underlayment may be penetrated with moisture or may be warped. To fix this will involve getting a professional to check out the tile underlayment and repair it if it's needed.