When tiles and grout are properly installed, it should allow normal expansion and contraction of tile flooring. However, the grout may start to crack and crumble when minor earthquake tremors occur, especially for those who are living in the Bay Area. When the grout cracks for any reason, it is time that you fix it before it causes damage to the surrounding tiles.
There can be several reasons why grout may crack, such wear and tear and an uneven or weak subfloor. If you need to repair grout many times on one floor, maybe it’s also best that you ask an engineer to know the underlying cause of why it happens a lot.
If you are dealing with damaged grout, there are some easy steps that you can try so you can fix it yourself. All you need are a few simple tools and quick training. If you need help, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you tips for fixing grout.
Know What Type of Grout to Use in Repairing
In one of our posts, we discussed the different types of grout. Those types are categorized into two major formats, which are sanded and unsanded. The type of grout you need is based on the width of the tile joints and where the repairs are needed. Before you start, it is important to measure first the space between the tiles. If space is larger than 1/8 of an inch, sanded grout should be used. However, if space is smaller than 1/8 of an inch, you need unsanded grout.
Also, keep in mind that you should not use sanded grout with glass, metal, or marble tiles because it can cause scratches and damage the tiles. For these tiles, acrylic latex grout is a good alternative. However, it needs to be sealed. If you want grout that can resist stains, you can use epoxy grout, but it is a bit difficult to apply.
Repair Cracks with Caulk
The most common cause of damaged grout is cracking. As people walk on tile floors, the grout becomes weaker and can sooner or later start showing unpleasant cracks. You can solve this problem by using caulk to fill in the cracks and restore the good look of the grout. Caulk is a waterproof filler and sealant which is commonly used to seal joints or seams against leakage in different structures.
To repair cracked grout with caulk, you first need to remove all the loose and cracked grout using a Dremel tool or a grout saw. After that, apply the caulk lightly to the cracks and smooth it down using a plastic spoon. You also have the option to wet your fingers and smooth the caulk by hand.
After applying the caulk, ensure that you allow it to fully cure for 48 hours before walking on the tiles. Also, try to avoid placing heavy furniture on the repaired tiles until it’s fully cured. You can find different types of caulk in the market. Some are even made in different colors. Therefore, try to search for one that will match the existing grout color of your tiles as closely as possible.
Repairing Damaged Grout with Grout
You also have the option to fill in the damaged grout with a new layer of grout to create a uniform and clean look. Grout is porous, and it crumbles over time with normal wear. When you grout to fill in cracks, your floor will be restored beautifully. This way, you can also make spot repairs as needed.
Here are the steps you can follow to repair damaged grout that is cracking using new grout:
Remove any cracked and damaged grout.
By using a bamboo skewer, loosen any cracked and damaged grout by dragging it along the grout line. After that, use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to clean out the excess loosened grout.
Create the grout mixture.
In a small container, mix the new grout with water. You can use a small cup or bowl. Before mixing, make sure that you are following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Spread the grout over the damaged grout lines.
After creating the mixture, spread the new grout evenly on the damaged grout lines. You can use a grout float to make sure that the application is even. Drag it across the grout lines slowly in several directions to pack the new grout into the cracks and prevent air bubbles from forming.
Remove excess grout.
After spreading the grout evenly on the damaged grout lines, scrape the excess grout from the tiles using the edge of the grout float.
Leave the grout on for five minutes.
After applying the grout, leave it on for about five minutes. Once it is semi-dry, wipe the tiles using a sponge dampened with tap water. After wiping and a hazy layer appears on the tiles, buff them using a dry microfiber cloth or rag.
Reapplying Damaged Grout
Another option is to remove the old and damaged grout completely and reapply it. This option yields great results, among others. If you choose this option, then you need to use a special grout saw to remove the damaged grout effectively while preventing your tiles from being damaged.
When using a grout saw, ensure that you use it carefully with gentle motions. Aim it directly into the grout lines and avoid using it on the tile itself. When removing the old grout, use even and steady motions to push the saw directly into the grout. It is also important to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
After removing the old and damaged grout, you can follow the steps we shared above on reapplying the new grout. However, compared to repairing existing grout, you will need to use more grout if you are reapplying it completely. Also, when you use the sponge, ensure that you wring it out completely to prevent putting too much water on the grout. After applying the grout, ensure that you follow the drying time recommended by the manufacturer to let the grout cure completely.
When the grout has completely cured, you can also apply a grout sealant and let it dry. This will keep the grout safe from further damageand protect it from absorbing dirt and stains. After applying the sealant, you may notice a haze on your tiles. You just need to buff it with a soft cloth until it is gone. You can also re-seal your grout once every six months to keep it beautiful.
These are some of the best tips we can give for fixing grout. We hope these tips would help you in fixing your damaged grout at home.