Easy step-by-step guide to reviving grout
Grout in bathrooms and kitchens often becomes discoloured and unsightly, no matter how hard you scrub. This is usually caused by unsealed cementitious grout that is porous and can stain easily. Regular cleaning with a soapy substance can leave a sticky film that attracts dirt and, over time, the dirt is absorbed into the grout and causes discolouration.
Apart from discolouration, moisture and humidity in bathrooms and kitchens creates an environment conducive to mould and mildew. It is difficult to remove these stains, as they are rooted deep in the grout. Often the best solution is to re-grout and seal the area. TAL offers a useful step-by-step guide to removing and replacing grout in a shower.
YOU WILL NEED:
Goggles and dusk mask (if mould is present)
Knee pads (when working on floor tiles)
Small chisel and hammer
Mixing bucket and mechanical mixer
Sponge- with rounded edges
Cloths for cleaning
GOOD TO KNOW:
You may also want to have a vacuum cleaner on hand to clean up the mess.
It may not be possible to find an exact match to your existing grout and if this is the case it is advisable to re-grout the entire area. It is also important to allow sufficient time to complete this project. Over and above the preparation time, allow for at least 24 to 48 hours for the products to cure sufficiently.
1. Remove grout with a grout rake available at your local Builders or tiling retailer. Rub the toothed edge of the blade back and forth in the middle of the grout joint until it is worn all the way to the substrate. Clean up the edges of the tiles by chipping out any remaining grout, using a small chisel and hammer.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Take extra care not to damage or chip the edges of the adjacent tiles.
2. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust left in the grout joints before moving on to the next step.
3. Follow the instructions on the grout packaging for the correct mix ratio. It is important to use the correct amount of liquid in the grout mix. Too much water in the mix causes colour variations and also affects the integrity of the grout, resulting in a soft and powdery product. Add the grout to the stipulated amount of clean, cool water while mixing.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Due to the fact that a wet area is being grouted, the water in the mix should be replaced with TAL Bond – a latex additive that improves the water resistance, flexibility and bond strength of the grout.
4. The grout mixture should be a creamy, lump-free consistency. Let the mixture stand for three minutes, then mix again. Use the mix within an hour, and never add more liquid to a grout mixture that has been left standing for too long, as this will affect its integrity and performance.
5. Apply the grout mixture with a grout squeegee, working one square metre at a time and filling the joints entirely to avoid air-pockets or voids. Wipe off excess grout before it dries. This is particularly important in this application, where a latex additive has been used. Smooth the surface of the grout with the squeegee, and allow it to harden for approximately two to six hours thereafter, to prevent accidental removal from the joints. Work gently on highly polished tiles to prevent scratching.
6. Wipe away any excess grout as you work with a damp (not wet) sponge. This is particularly important when a latex additive has been used. The sponge must be frequently rinsed in clean water, and should have rounded corners to avoid gouging out the grout.
7. Allow the grout to cure for 24 hours and then polish the tiles with a clean dry cloth. Be sure to clean your tools before the grout hardens.
8. Seal the grout joints with TAL Grout Sealer. This product is specially designed to seal grout joints, both in the green and cured states. It is important to ensure that there is no residual dirt or dust on the grout joints. The residual film dries clear and does not discolour the grout or tiles.
GOOD TO KNOW:
To ensure that the grout is fully-set and dried, it is advisable to wait 48 hours before using the shower or subjecting the newly applied grout to wet washing or other cleaning procedures. Tiles should be cleaned with a pH-neutral to mild alkaline cleaner and, in heavy usage areas, joints should be sealed twice a year.