Old, discolored grout can make even the most beautiful tiles look unappealing. Improving the look of tiled floors and walls is sometimes as simple as removing old grout and replacing it. Although the task requires that you get down and dirty, it is not as difficult as most people think. Even if you have never done it before, it is possible to take on this task as a weekend project. Here are tips on how to remove grout before you begin a regrouting tile project:
How to Remove Old Grout
1. Check if the grout has been sealed
Sealants cannot be removed by water. You might need a chemical stripper for the job. Clean the joints with water and a brush, then apply the stripper to soften the bond. Use a hard-bristled brush to remove the grout residue.
2. Choose the right tools to remove grout
There are a number of tools you can use to remove old grout and you can choose which one to use depending on your skills and what you have available. Some of these tools include:
- A screwdriver or chisel and a hammer
- A grout scraper
- An electric grinder
- A grout grabber
3. Prepare the working area
Work with the walls first, then the floor. Before working on the walls, protect the floor with a cloth to prevent hard pieces of grout from scratching or damaging it. It is also a good idea to protect tile edges with some masking tape in order to prevent nicks and scratches. Lastly, put on a face mask and protective goggles.
4. Remove grouting material
If you work with a chisel or screwdriver and a hammer, work carefully so as not to damage the surrounding tiles. A good tool to use to make the first groove to work on is a rotary tool or grout saw. Either one provides enough force to break the surface of the grout with little effort on your part. Test a small area in the corner first. If grout is porous, it will give with just a few strokes; if it is hard, you might have to put in a few more passes. Hold the tools firmly in your hand to make smooth, even cuts.
Repeat the process for each grout line: cut a groove, expand the grout line and remove as much grout as you can using a combination of available tools. Remove any debris that may be left to prepare the joints for regrouting.