Improving the Look of Old Tile With New Grout

by Leona Russell 12/13/2020


 Photo by James DeMers via Pixabay

That bathroom tile once looked terrific, so newly laid contrast between tile and grout. You were so proud to show it off to all your guests. 

But over time, grout becomes dull, stained and chipped. Tiles fade and look dated. When they do, it's time to refreshen or replace tile and grout. 

If you love the tile, keep it. Refresh the grout to make that tile job look sparkling and new. If not, replace the flooring too. Here's how to refresh or replace tile and grout.

What you'll need

  • Margin float
  • Sponge
  • Earplugs (if using power tools)
  • Safety glasses
  • Rotary tool (required for big re-grouting jobs)
  • Manual grout removal tool with a carbide blade (for smaller spaces)
  • Grout

If also replacing tiles, you'll need:

  • Tiles (measured and cut as required)
  • Chisel
  • Floor scraper
  • Drop sheet (for debris)
  • Hammer
  • Notched trowel
  • Thin-set mortar

And we're ready to do this!

Cut away the grout

First, put on your safety glasses. Now use your rotary tool or grout removal tool to loosen the grout between each tile. It should chip away and pull right out.

In either case, work slowly to avoid damaging your tiles. If at any point you feel you've taken on more than you can handle, contact a professional.

Mix & apply grout

Mix your grout in a bucket. Then apply it using your margin float. Let it set for 10 minutes. Then clean the tiles with your moist sponge. 

And you're done. Don't your re-grouted tiles look fantastic! It really is that simple. But what if you want to replace the tiles? You'll add some extra steps in front of mix and grout.

Remove your tiles

After removing grout as described above, use a hammer to break a tile to remove it. Be careful not to cut yourself. Now use the chisel to remove the remaining tiles. The floor scraper helps you crack and lift the adhesive underneath. 

Do a dry run

Here's a pro tip! Always place your tiles out dry to make sure they fit. Then make any adjustments. 

This seems like a waste of time. But unless you've tiled hundreds of bathroom floors, adjustments are almost a certainty. And once you lay mortar, you'll have a limited time to work.

Apply your mortar & place tiles

Apply a thin layer of your thin-set mortar to a small area using your trowel. Then lay each tile over it, evenly spaced. Press down gently but firmly. 

After laying tiles in a small area, repeat and lay more tiles until all tiles are laid. Wait 24 hours. Then mix and apply grout as described above.

Enjoy your new floor! And follow our blog for more home maintenance and repair tips.

About the Author
Author

Leona Russell

In addition to helping my clients achieve their real estate goals, I help them to understand the tax advantages, financing alternatives, and investment aspects of home ownership and why now is an incredible time to buy. As a licensed Realtor, I'm focused on helping my clients to achieve their real estate goals. Everyone deserves a home. And my goal is to help individuals and families achieve the American dream of homeownership. In addition to providing guidance and managing the transaction, I begin the relationship by getting to know my clients and providing education about the process. I have found that when people understand what is going on and what is expected of them, they are less stressed and enjoy the experience more. Specialties: Teaching/Training, Market Analysis, Loss Mitigation, Negotiation(Certified Distressed Property Expert), Excellent Customer Service, Staging, Relocations, Investments (Residential Finance Consultant)