Renovating can often be an expensive exercise. If you’re working on a kitchen or bathroom area, replacing wall or floor tiles can take a big chunk out of your budget. The good news is that there’s a solution! If you’re happy with the tiles, regrouting the joints can give the surface a new lease on life. Modern grouts are available in hundreds of colours, so you’ll be able to find an option that suits whatever aesthetic you’re envisioning. To help you with your next project, we’re going to go over how to regrout tiles and save money on your renovation.
Collect Your Tools
Regrouting old tiles is a simple job that takes more time than anything else. You’ll only need to gather a few materials to get the work done:
- Grout saw
- Oscillating multi-tool with grout saw blades
- Utility knife
- Canvas and plastic drop cloths
- Ear muffs
- Eye protection
- Dust mask
- New grout mix
- Grout float
When regrouting tiles, it's essential to have the right tools on hand. One important tool is a grout saw, which is specifically designed to remove old grout from between tiles. Another useful tool is an oscillating multi-tool with grout saw blades, which can make the removal process more efficient and effective. A utility knife can also come in handy for removing any remaining pieces of old grout. To protect your floors and surfaces, canvas and plastic drop cloths are necessary. To protect your ears from the noise of the tools, ear muffs are recommended, and eye protection and dust mask are also essential to protect your eyes and lungs from the dust created during the process. Additionally, you'll need a new grout mix, a grout float, a sponge and buckets to apply and clean up the new grout. With these tools, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any regrouting project.
It’s important to wear personal protective equipment when regrouting old tiles. Grout contains silica which can be harmful to breathe. A dust mask is enough to protect you, but it’s also a good idea to use a shop vacuum to suck up any excess dust before it has a chance to permeate the air.
Prepare Your Work Area
Digging out old grout is an incredibly dusty job. The dust will float through the air and create an abrasive film on any surface it settles on. To prevent this, cover any sensitive surfaces using a canvas drop cloth. It’s also worth hanging plastic drop cloths from the ceiling to prevent the dust from drifting into other rooms. The more preparatory work you do now, the less cleanup you’ll have to do later, so take your time and make sure everything is well protected.
How to Regrout Old Tiles
There are no secrets when it comes to regrouting. You simply have to get stuck in and get the work done. Hand tools like grout saws work well for small projects, but it’s strongly recommended to use a power tool to handle larger areas. For example, a kitchen splashback could be done by hand, but if you’re replacing all the floor tiles in your kitchen, investing in a power tool could save you days of hard work.
The actual process of digging out and replacing the old grout is simple:
- Cut out the old grout. Take your oscillating multi-tool and fit it with a grout saw. Grout saws are special diamond cutters designed to grind grout out of the narrow gaps between tiles. Holding the blade perpendicular to the tiles, carefully work the tool along each line of grout that you want to remove. Take your time and be careful not to crack or chip any tiles. The grout should crumble away fairly easily. If a patch of grout doesn’t want to budge, move on and come back to it later with hand tools.
- Clean up the grout lines. After you’ve removed the bulk of the grout, go back to the beginning and use your tools to remove any remaining grout. It’s helpful to hold your multi-tool at a slight angle to get closer to the tiles. You can also use a utility knife or a grout scraper to get rid of any remaining grout.
- Vacuum the debris. Once you’re satisfied that the grout lines are clear, use a shop vacuum to remove any dust and debris. Too much dust will prevent the new grout from adhering, so be thorough.
- Mix the new grout. With the area vacuumed, you can prepare your new grout for application. Grout often comes as a powder that needs to be mixed with water. Alternatively, you can buy premixed grouts that are ready to use. If you’re using powdered grout, slowly combine it with water to create a thick paste that is slightly pourable. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if the grout needs to be left to sit before use.
- Apply the new grout. Use your grout float to scoop up some grout and smear it into the joints. Holding your float at an angle, work diagonally back and forth across each joint, squeezing grout into each line until it’s filled.
- Clean the area. Using a damp sponge and a bucket of water, wipe away any excess grout from the surface of the tiles. Rinse the sponge off in the bucket of water as needed, and replace the water when it’s dirty. You don’t need to remove every little bit of grout, just take care of the obvious excess. Once the grout has dried properly you can come back with a cloth and buff away any grout haze that’s left behind.
In conclusion, renovating can be costly, especially when it comes to replacing wall or floor tiles in a kitchen or bathroom. However, a cost-effective solution to this problem is to regrout the tiles instead. With modern grouts available in a wide range of colors, it is easy to find an option that will fit your desired aesthetic. Regrouting tiles is an easy and budget-friendly way to give your surface a fresh new look.