Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Thankless Job

Remember my post from a couple months back about the hack jobs the previous owners left behind in our house? As the end of the summer creeps closer and with it, our desired deadline for moving out of the basement and moving tenants in, some of these issues are becoming higher priority. Like this one:

The tile in the bathroom is in iffy shape, but at least the grout smeared all over them can be fixed. Right? Right?

Well. Right. Except that, after an hour of scrubbing away at these tiles last night, I stepped back to look over my handiwork and felt as if I had made no progress whatsoever. Yes, there was less grout, though I tired well before I could get it all -- that stuff is stubborn! But the grout lines were still yellow and the corners were still cracking. At 8:30, I threw down my scrubbing tools and gave up somewhat mournfully. We'll be painting the tile, but there was a small part of me that had hoped we could avoid it.

Guess not.

(Any suggestions from our knowledgeable readers would be much appreciated!)


  1. Have you tried soaking it in white vinager and water? Half and half with that should soften the grout and might even lighten it.

  2. I don't envy that project! I've scrubbed old grout off before with a nylon brush and a mix of hot water and vinegar ... I've also picked at it with finger nails or a flat head screw driver. You just have to be careful not to scratch the tiles in the process. Any way you cut it, it sounds like a tedious project ... good luck!

  3. Hi there! I just renovated my bathroom, and now I have a doctorate in grout.

    You could use a dremel tool to remove the grout between tiles and regrout it all. Sounds fun, I know. Another option is to use a grout saw, they come in hand held or power tool accessory versions.

    You could also wash the grout and tiles with something like this http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100085806/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    and then use Grout Renew in white (or whatever color you like). http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100133209/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    I did the second method, with gray Grout Renew, and the results are pretty good.

    Oh, and as far as remove grout off of the tiles themselves...I used a scraping tool and chiseled at it. Tedious.

  4. @pitofrepair

    Oh, my goodness. You might be my grout saver! In all my research, I was hoping, hoping for a product like that and I couldn't find anything. I think you've just handed me my big project for the weekend!