Over time, the grout between your bathroom tiles can discolour and erode. Not only does this look unsightly, but water can seep into the walls, causing damp and mould. The problem is often worse wherever water collects, so you’ll probably notice it first on the areas around the bottom of showers, sinks, baths and windowsills. Discover how to clean, remove, repair and re-grout your bathroom tiles in our guide.
How to prepare your bathroom tiles
Before you start re-grouting, you’ll need to prepare your bathroom tiles. This includes cleaning the tiles and grout to remove mould and mildew and removing old grout.
Clean dirty grout
Start by thoroughly cleaning the grout, as this step alone can transform grubby-looking grout. However, if the damage is too far gone and cleaning doesn’t make a difference, you’ll have to think about re-grouting. For example, if the grout has started to wear away and go lumpy, it’s time to dig it out and start again.
Can you re-grout over old grout?
If only a few small areas of the existing grout need repairing, it may be tempting to patch them up with new grout. However, to achieve a clean finish and long-lasting results, you should always remove old grout before re-grouting.
Step-by-step guide to re-grouting
Remove old grout
Removing grout can be time-consuming and messy, but it’s relatively straightforward, and the results are well worth the effort. A freshly re-grouted bathroom can look brand new when it’s done well.
Before you start, ensure you’re wearing old clothes, a pair of gloves and eye protection. It’s also a good idea to put a dust sheet on the floor to catch any dust or debris. These are our top tips for removing grout safely and effectively whilst protecting the finish of your tiles:
- Instead of reaching for an old screwdriver or spoon to scrape out the old grout, we recommend using a proper grout rake to avoid scratching the tiles
- Once you’ve got the correct tools, work in one direction, pushing the rake between tiles to dig out all the old grout
- Alternatively, you can buy an electric grout grinder to do the job for you but be extra careful not to scratch the tiles
Apply new grout
Once you’ve removed all the old grout, you can start applying new grout. Grout comes in various colours, from fresh white to contemporary grey and black, making this the perfect opportunity to transform your tiles. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and long-lasting application:
- If you’re using powdered grout, mix it up in a bucket according to the packet instructions. Opted for ready-mixed grout? You’re ready to start
- Use a small tiling trowel to apply the grout, saving time and helping you achieve a much neater finish
- Fill every grout line and corner without leaving any gaps. Don’t worry about being messy here, as you can always tidy it up afterwards
- Once the tiles are filled, use a damp cloth (or your finger) to smooth down the lines and compact the grout. If you notice any air pockets or holes, apply more grout and smooth it over until you’re happy with the finish
How to clean bathroom tiles and grout
To get your tiles sparkling after re-grouting, clean the area following these steps:
- Once you’re happy with the new grout lines, use a cold, wet sponge to clean the entire wall. Be gentle around the lines but scrub the tile surfaces well to remove any excess grout residue
- Wait for about half an hour, then repeat the process to ensure you’ve eliminated any surface haze on the tiles
- The drying time will vary for each type of grout, so read the product instructions to determine how long you need to keep the wall dry. If you’re re-grouting a shower or bath area, wait at least 24 hours before getting the surface wet
- When the wall is fully dry, you might notice a dusty residue on the tiles that can be polished off with a dry, soft cloth and a bathroom spray. If you notice any lumps of grout that have dried unevenly, gently smooth them with sandpaper before polishing them with a soft cloth
If you’re struggling to maintain the grout in your bathroom, why not consider using shower panels instead of tiles? PVC and acrylic panels are affordable, easy to clean, waterproof, quick to install and can be cut to any size, an excellent choice for many homes.