Grout plays an important role in tile installation. It evens out inconsistencies in between tile sizes and minimises damage due to floors flexing or settling. Grout is best known for being used in the bathroom to seal gaps between the tiles and prevent water from seeping underneath them. This helps preserves the condition of the substrate and keep your bathroom leak-free.
Unfortunately, water can wear out grout and contribute to mould and mildew growth. If neglected, grout may eventually crack and cause a number of issues like broken tiles and uneven bathroom floors. Knowing when to regrout bathroom tiles is crucial if you wish to keep your bathroom floors in good shape.
Grout is usually hard-wearing and will last for a very long time, provided that it’s been applied properly and is not subjected to floor movement. There’s no specific schedule on when to replace grout so you’ll have to do a thorough inspection and look for signs of damage.
Take a close look at the grout and check for cracks, gaps, and peeling in between the tiles. Damaged grout should be addressed immediately to prevent water damage from compromising the wall or subfloor behind the tile.
Keep in mind that discoloured grout due to water stains or dye absorption is absolutely normal. Unless you want to completely enhance the look of your bathroom, there’s no reason to regrout your bathroom tiles if its just for aesthetic purposes. Discoloured grout can easily be cleaned with the use of hot water and vinegar solution. This helps break down tough stains which can then be removed with a tough-bristled brush.
Mould/mildew growth on grout
The one thing you should look out for is the presence of mould/mildew. If you notice mould or mildew growth in between your bathroom tiles, you may want to consider regrouting them. Since grout is a porous material, mould and mildew spores can invade the tiny holes and make it their home. This can compromise the integrity of the grout and lead to premature cracking or peeling. Before regrouting your bathroom tiles, you should first eliminate the mould/mildew by using a lemon and vinegar solution. This kills the majority of the spores and prevent such issues from occurring after you’ve regrouted the tiles.
How to regrout bathroom tiles
Now that you know when to regrout bathroom tiles, it’s time to actually regrout them. Follow these steps for a successful regrouting:
Step 1: Remove the old grout
To remove the previous grout, you’ll need a dedicated grout saw. Some grout saws use abrasive coatings on the blade to remove grout while others have teeth that hack grout away. Whichever one you use, make sure to go through the grout carefully so as to not damage your tile.
It’s important that you wear goggles and a half-mask respirator to protect your eyes and avoid inhaling grout dust. Once all of the old grout has been removed, use a vacuum to collect the dust, paying close attention to the crevices and gaps left by the old grout. Use bleach to get rid of mould/mildew and let the surface dry before regrouting the bathroom tiles.
Step 2: Applying the new grout
We recommend using premixed grout for most home projects to make the process simple and easy. Mix the appropriate amount by adding water to the powder in a mixing container until the desired consistency is achieved. The grout should be stiff enough to the point that it doesn’t pour out the container easily. Let it sit for 10 minutes and from there you can proceed to applying the new grout.
Use a rubber float (grout trowel) and apply the grout diagonally across the bathroom tile. Once an event coat is applied, press the grout into the gaps using the grout trowel. Go over the gaps at least three times and remove any excess by wiping the grout trowel at a 90-degree angle. For that flush finish, use a damp sponge to clear any remaining vestiges of grout.
Step 3: Sealing the grout
Once the grout has cured for 48-72 hours, it’s time to seal it. Again, we favour convenience on most home projects and thus recommend aerosol spray-on sealers. Apply the sealer evenly on the grout from top to bottom. Once you’re finished with the first coat, let it dry for about an hour and apply a second coat, but this time spray the sealer lightly. If you want, you can apply a third and final coat for added protection. Sealing grout helps protect it from bacteria, stains, and mould/mildew growth.
Knowing when to regrout your tiles is key to maintaining the integrity of your bathroom floors. Hopefully with this information, you’ll be able to regrout your bathroom tiles and preserve its condition for years to come.
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