JD NORRIS’ HOW DO I: Restore the original color of my tile grout?

  • Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6:45 p.m.

Over the years, you may have noticed that the original color of your tile grout has changed to a darker uneven color. This can be disappointing considering how carefully you chose the color you originally wanted. The reason for this is because most of the grout being used in tile work is the standard sanded grout.

Sanded grout is porous and absorbs moisture. This results in the dirty mop water wicking into the porous grout and bringing the dirty water into the grout every time you mop your floor. Sanded grout is used primarily, due to the cost of it. Sanded grout is much cheaper to install in tile work, and most consumers don’t realize that there are options.

Epoxy grout is waterproof and won’t allow water to penetrate; it is also permanently sealed so the color remains constant throughout its life; so if you spent a considerable amount of time or thought in choosing just the right color for your tile project, you can be confident in the fact that it will remain that color.

Epoxy grout cost considerably more than standard grout, but it is worth the investment. An additional benefit of epoxy grout is that it resists cracking and won’t crumble like standard grout commonly does. When standard grout is used, it is common to see small hairline cracks develop in the grout lines, especially in floor applications because of the movement caused by walking. Standard grout can’t resist any movement as it has no strength to resist stress and will crack or crumble depending on the amount of expansion and contraction that takes place.

But that doesn’t help those that, due to no fault of their own, live with standard grout in their homes and need, at the very least, to get it cleaned. There is a company in our area that offers a cleaning service specifically focused on cleaning grout. I believe the name is called Restore Floor LLC.

If you are doing this yourself, it can be a tedious job requiring a small scrub brush, a little larger than a toothbrush, a mixture of your favorite cleaning solution, some knee pads and a couple of hours of time, depending on the size of your floor.

Our tile floor was grouted with standard grout before I learned of the epoxy alternative so I have personal experience with this task. We used a bucket of warm water, general purpose cleaner and a small amount of bleach and a lot of scrubbing action to bring back the original color of the grout.

It’s times like these that cause you to think the price gap between epoxy grout and sanded grout isn’t so bad after all.

If you have a question or concern about a home improvement project, send your inquiries to jdn.dm@comcast.net.

JD Norris is the owner/operator of DreamMaker Bath&Kitchen and a certified S.C. Master Builder, certified “Aging in Place” Specialist and certified Green Professional.

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