They say everything that’s beautiful has to come with a catch. Yes, nobody says that but it is a kind of superstition that most of us have, that if something’s awesome, there has to be a downside to it. This is the case with household tiles. At their best, they’re shiny and gorgeous, which is one of the reasons why they’re used in so many homes today.
But as time goes by, you can start to notice the once-beautiful tiles don’t look like what they used to. This can be difficult to see at first but over time it becomes visible especially if you have pictures of what the tiles looked like before. It’s kind of like noticing hair loss in the mirror; when you notice it, you’ve already lost a lot of hair.
Apart from cleaning the tiles themselves, the more challenging part comes when it’s time to clean and repair grout. Grout is a dense fluid generally made up of sand, cement, and water. Its primary use is for reinforcing and filling in the gaps of a structure. In this context, it’s what fills in the gaps of your kitchen tiles. And like the tiles themselves, after a while, it needs cleaning.
Sometimes tile grout is beyond cleaning and requires repair or restoration. Hence, the next time you decide to clean the kitchen tiles or any other tiles for that matter, you may want to start taking a look at the grout there too. But how does one clean grout? Here are some of the most efficient ways to clean and repair grout.
Cleaning Tile Grout
Cleaning grout can be accomplished with different tools and procedures. In general, try to make sure you have a stiff brush at hand (if you don’t have one, buy it). Also, you may attempt several of the options listed below, which is alright but just remember to get rid of any chemicals and materials left behind from your previous attempts because if some of these materials interact, it can have ugly consequences.
Warm Water & Nothing Else
The most basic way of going around this task would be to spray warm water and scrub the grout with it. Don’t worry; there are more complicated solutions on the way, but sometimes the easy way is the best. If you need heavier artillery, use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water with the same process. Just let it stay there for a few minutes and then start scrubbing.
Apply Hydrogen Peroxide
This chemical is utilized for multiple purposes, hence it’s available for purchase in drugstores. Using it on stained grouts can be the way to go sometimes.
Use Oxygen Bleach
You should save oxygen bleach for when the stains are putting up a fight. If the stains are hard to get rid of, apply oxygen bleach for about 15 minutes. After that, rinse with clean water.
Purchase the Solution
Like many other problems, you can buy the solution at a store. Grout stain cleaners are available on the market mostly. Remember to read the instructions ((instructions including safety precautions accompanying them) since not all of these commercial products are applied the same way; some have to be scrubbed while others can just be sprayed.
Cleaning and repairing grout can sometimes be two parts of the same task. In the end, it may just be best to restore the grout for the sake of time and money. To regrout tiles, one has to first know the types of grout and the steps to be taken when repairing them. Remember, if this part appears complicated or too much of a fuss, some professionals can do all this for you.
If the grout you’re dealing with hasn’t been cleaned, this is the first step you need to take. Luckily, by now, you know about the best ways to do just that.
Removing Old Grout
To make space for the new grout you’ve bought, you have to take care of the old grout left. You’ll need some tools for this part, namely a grout saw or a Dremel tool. To avoid unnecessary damage, you have to make sure the blade you’re using fits the width between your tiles. Just move the blade slowly back and forth.
After you’re done breaking the old grout completely, you need to get it out of that gap. For this purpose, one needs a good old vacuum. By the way, use a hose attachment making sure nothing is left behind.
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for; applying the new grout. To do this, it’s best to use a grout float; if you don’t have one, they’re sold in places like Home Depot. With the grout float, you can scoop the grout from a bucket and apply it to the tiles. Leave the excess grout on the tiles; you’ll clean it after you’re done; yes, there is a lot of cleaning involved!
Patience Makes Perfect
Now that you’ve applied the grout comes the waiting. Wait for about 15-30 minutes, and then remove any excess grout on the tiles. One way to tell if enough time has passed is to see if a haze has developed on the tiles. Congratulations, you’ve just restored your grout tiles.
Tips to Remember
Cleaning and repairing grout is a task that requires skill, and you’ll get better at it the more you do it. Now, since restoring grout isn’t a thing most people do, if you haven’t hired a professional for help, here are some tips you can use to make up for the lack of experience.
One classic rookie mistake when purchasing grout and applying it is accidentally choosing the wrong color. Needless to say, it’s not a good look on the kitchen tiles. By mixing more water before applying, you can make the grout look lighter in tone.
Know Your Grout
There are different types of grout. It’s not just about choosing the right color. The main types of grout are sanded and unsanded. What you choose depends on the tiles’ width and the surface material that may be in touch with it.
For example, it is advised to use unsanded grout when working with metal or glass or when the width between tiles is less than ⅛ inch.
Sealing Acrylic Latex Grout
There are other types of grout, such as acrylic latex grout and epoxy grout. As far as acrylic latex grout, you have to apply a sealant after letting it dry.
It’s important to remember that grout can break into small pieces entering your eye, or you may breathe the dust that results from the process. Make sure to wear eye protection and an efficient dusk mask for your own safety.
Another safety measure to consider is to make sure the area is well-ventilated. This can be especially important when using certain chemicals like oxygen bleach for cleaning grout.
Like plumbing, cleaning and repairing grout is something one can learn to perform on their own or outsource to a third party with more experience. In any case, there are safety measures, steps, and tips that you can use to make sure the result is something you’re satisfied with. Feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have.