It is a holiday horror story. You go into a guest bathroom and, suddenly, you feel a tile move. You look into a guest shower and notice pieces of grout are crumbling or missing. Maybe you are stocking up for holiday food and suddenly notice large section of grout that is completely discolored, missing from the floor or a back splash in the kitchen. What do you do? Guests are coming and you need tiles to remain in place through the holiday rush.Here are 3 things you need to know about grout replacement.
1. There are several reasons for grout problems.
Your grout is old
There are several reasons why your grout may be showing wear and tear. The most common reason is age. Homes that are 15 years and older maybe needing some extra maintenance done, including grout repairs or grout replacement.
Your grout wasn’t mixed properly or expired
However, those with homes that are five years old and younger shouldn’t have any grout problems. If you are experiencing problems at this stage, it could be because the installer used a bad mix or wasn’t consistent in installing the tile and grout. A bad mix means the installer used too much water in mixing the grout. A base ingredient in grout is cement and an excessive amount of water prevents it from properly curing or even drying. The cement is what causes the grout to stabilize. Some inexperienced installers try to “refresh” the batter by adding water. This leads to a bad mix and problems in tiles for homeowners later.
You could get a bad mix because the grout product is bad. Grout that is too old may never do its job of locking tiles in place. The type of grout determines how long it can remain on a shelf before use. There are powdered grouts that expire after just a year. Sealed epoxy grouts have a much longer,almost indefinite, shelf life as long as they are not subjected to freezing temperatures. Grout replacement is critical in these situations.
Your grout was improperly sealed
Another reason for deteriorating grout is that it wasn’t sealed or properly sealed. All tile and grout should be sealed immediately after it installation. Failing to seal it or properly seal it will allow dirt and water to seep into the grout and tile, causing both to discolor and fall apart much more quickly than it should.
Bathrooms are the primary source of grout problems resulting from water seepage. Tile and grout are porous and will absorb water,especially if they are not sealed. This will not only cause crumbing tile and discoloration, but also cause mold and mildew that could need restoration later.
2. Grout can be replaced without replacing tile.
Homeowners can take heart in the fact that many of these problems can be resolved by grout repairing and grout replacement rather than ripping up and replacing tile. This is a cost effective way to resolve grout problems and loose tiles. It also saves time too. In fact, professional services like ours can save loose tiles without even removing them from the floor!
Grout can be repaired in a DIY project, but it is labor intensive and you will need special tools and some knowledge to carry it out. Some of the items required are tools like a utility knife, grout saw or an electric version of the tool. Also, experts say all grout between the tiles must be removed because new grout won’t adhere to old grout. Plus, grout just isn’t strong enough in thin layers over old layers. It will eventually flake off if you just put in new grout over old. The amount of labor, the equipment and knowledge required may mean the best solution is to hire a professional to do the job.
3. Repairing grout yourself can be complicated.
The first thing to do to replace grout is to remove all crumbling grout. This will require a hacksaw blade, a utility knife or a grout saw. It will be time consuming as you must be careful to avoid damaging the tiles and substrate surface while cleaning gaps all the way to the substrate.
Then, you will need a product to remove grout residue,called grout haze. Some crafty types can mix clean water with a cup of vinegar.Whatever you use, you must let the area dry fully before grout replacement.
Applying new grout can be troublesome because it isn’t just putting it in tile gaps. It must be smoothed out to form a perfectly even border around each tile and hide imperfections in the tile installation.
It is advised to apply grout at room temperatures falling between 65 and 75 degrees. You must use a grout trowel to apply the product into the joints.
When the grouting job is done, use a damp, thick sponge with round corners, called a grout sponge, to wipe grout residue from the tiles. You will need to remove lumps and smooth out the joints. You will also need to wipe the surface with a dry cheesecloth after it dries.Those who don’t want to go through the trouble of doing their own grout replacement have options. A professional can tell you what you need and give you a quote that will save you money over replacing tile and time in waiting on tile replacement contractors or doing the work yourself.