Grout is everyone's least favorite part of tile, and with good reason. Many people have had bad experiences with stained, dirty, mildewy grout in floors or showers, and would like to avoid those headaches with their new installations.
Fortunately, we're here to help make grout selection, cleaning, and maintenance easy and stress-free.
If you're installing cementitious grout with a tile that doesn't require sealing (a glossy glass mosaic set with a glazed porcelain tile, for example), you'll need to apply a sealer to your grout. Wait three days after you install your cement-based grout, and then seal it! Properly sealing your cement-based grout is the key to keeping it clean. A high quality, penetrating sealer will sink deep into the grout, coating the pores and adding a layer of protection from stains, dirt, and bacteria.
If you are using cementitious grout with a natural stone, a glazed ceramic wall tile, or a polished porcelain, preseal your tiles to prevent the grout pigments from staining your tiles and to allow for easier clean-up after the grout is installed.
Work in small sections (no more than 10 square feet at a time) to reduce the risk of grout haze. Change your water bucket at least every 100 square feet to reduce the spread of residue, and make sure to wring out your sponge well so that you don't saturate your grout with water.
If you notice haze after your installation and initial clean up, we recommend using Blaze urethane grout haze remover within 24-48 hours of your installation to clean up any residue.
Following installation, wipe up the grout residue with a damp sponge and clean water.
If you return the next day and notice grout haze, try lightly buffing the haze with a clean, dry cloth to remove it. If there is still some stubborn grout residue left over, it can be removed with any pH-neutral cleaner. We recommend Tile & Stone Cleaner.
Begin clean up within the manufacturer's recommended time frame with clean, cool water and a non-abrasive scrub pad. Depending upon the epoxy brand, you have between 12 and 24 hours to thoroughly clean up any haze or residue before it dries to a stubborn, rubbery residue.
If you've followed the basic cleaning instructions and still have haze or residue, we recommend using Miracle Finish Sealer Stripper.
Wipe up most of the residue with a damp sponge and clean water just after the grout is installed. Don't worry about getting all of the residue at this step, as you may over-clean your grout and remove the pigments. Add a little liquid dish soap to your water during clean up for best results.
After a few hours, the grout residue will have dried to a dusty state that is easily wiped off with a dry cloth. Any solid pieces or thicker residue can be scrubbed off with water and a non-abrasive nylon scrub pad. For particularly stubborn residue, we recommend Miracle Tile & Stone Cleaner.
We recommend starting with Tile & Stone Cleaner. This powerful cleaner is specifically designed to remove grease, food stains, soap scum, hard water deposits, dirt, and soil from grout without damaging your tile or natural stone.
You will need to reseal your grout and stone after using this product. Visit our Sealer page for a list of recommended sealers.
If your grout is permanently discolored but in good physical shape (no cracks or pitting), consider recoloring it with a Miracle Grout Pen, available in white, gray, and buff.
You most likely have a mold or mildew problem that is coming from behind your grout and/or caulking. There are several possible causes: the grout did not have enough time to cure before it was sealed, the shower was wet when the caulking went in (sealing the moisture in), or there is a leak in the shower and mildew is growing in the materials behind your tile.
If the mildew can not be killed through topical methods, you may need to remove your grout and some tiles to investigate the source of the mildew. If there is moisture in the framework of your house, this could lead to serious mold growth and structural damage.
For grout with mold, we recommend a solution of baking soda and water, applied with a narrow scrub brush or toothbrush. Allow this paste to sit for 5-10 minutes, agitating every two minutes. Rinse, and repeat as necessary.
You will need to reseal your cement grout and natural stone after a deep clean. This will help to prevent future mold and mildew growth. Visit our Sealer page for a list of recommended sealers.
You can remove your old grout and regrout; or, if your grout is in good condition, you can use a grout colorant system. This process cleans and seals your grout in addition to permanently changing the color. Read more about grout colorants.
The Miracle Grout Pen is another way to spruce up the color of grout that's not cracked or physically damaged, just discolored. Available in three colors: white, buff, and gray.
Grout cracks either because it was installed improperly or because it was not the correct material to use in your specific installation. See the examples below to find the cause and solution to your specific problem.
If your grout is sagging into the joint or if sunken holes appear, not enough grout was packed into the joints when it was first installed. Make sure the grout is clean and dry, then apply more grout to the sunken areas. NOTE: Cement-based grout's color can vary based upon the water-to-powder ratio, minerals in the water, humidity, and temperature. The grout patch may be slightly different in color than the original grout, even when grouted less than 24 hours apart. This is not an issue with color-consistent grouts (premixed grout, or higher-grade cement grouts).
If your grout is cracking only on inside corners such as where a wall meets a bathtub, wall meets wall, or where a backsplash meets a countertop, then you need to remove it and replace it with color-matching caulking (siliconized latex caulk for dry areas like backsplashes, 100% silicone caulk for wet areas such as showers or tub surrounds). Grout is too stiff to go in corners where flex and movement may occur.
If non-sanded cement-based grout is installed in a grout joint exceeding 1/8" in width, it could shrink upon curing, separating itself from the tile and cracking. If this is your situation, remove your grout and replace it either with sanded cement-based grout or with a more flexible grout, such as urethane or acrylic premixed grouts.
If your grout is separating from your tiles in several different areas, you could have a too much movement in your installation. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) an unstable underlayment or contraction/expansion of the tiles (more common in outdoor applications). Remove what grout remains and replace it with a more flexible grout, (urethane or acrylic premixed grouts).
NOTE: if the problem is structural (e.g.: mold underneath the tile, the tile was improperly set, etc.), then no amount of re-grouting will fix it. You will have to remove the tile and fix the underlying problems, or risk more permanent structural damage.
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