by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 17, 2018)
Grout is the stuff that holds your ceramic tiles together and can be difficult to remove once it has hardened. Whether you have specks and flecks of leftover grout on your tile after completing a grouting job, or you want to remove all of the grout entirely because it's old and stained, you'll want to take it easy and not chip, scratch, or break the expensive tile. If you've completed a grout job and have cured, hardened specks and flecks of grout to remove from tile, follow these steps:
If the grout is less than one day old, you can soften the grout with water and then wipe it away with a wet sponge.
Grout cures in 24 hours, so if the grout has cured, you will need to scrape it away. Use a flat plastic putty knife, rigid plastic dish scraper, or an old credit card to scrape away beads of hardened grout.
If the plastic tools don't remove the grout, use metal tools, taking great care not to scratch the tile. Hold the tools as flat as possible while scraping until all of the grout is removed.
Some stubborn grout flecks may need to be softened with chemicals, such as muratic acid. Follow the directions on the label of the product to remove the grout from the tile.
Once you've removed the grout, thoroughly clean the area with clear water and then allow the area to dry.
Sometimes you may need to remove entire sections of grout so that you can re-tile the section. If so, then you may want to consider using grout removal tools, since they make the tedious job of grout removal less tiring. Rent or buy a grout tool with a carbide tip, and ask for instructions in using it. Make sure that you don't turn it on until all of the attachments are tightened, and then work one small area at a time. Or, rent or buy a grout grabber kit. The kit includes a reciprocating saw with carbide blades, capable of cutting through grout without touch the adjacent tile.
And then there is the old fashioned way to remove grout. Use a flat blade screwdriver to remove grout by placing the blade on the grout, angling the tool to 45(, and then tapping the head of the screwdriver with a hammer to chip away at the grout. Make sure that you don't tap too hard, as you may make the blade of the tool jump and then chip, scratch, or break the tile. Once you've loosened the grout, use a scraper brush to scrape the grout away.
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