How to Stain Tile Grout

Grout may begin to show stains and wear and tear over time.

Perhaps the tile grout on your flooring doesn't match the tile grout on your shower walls. Maybe you are just looking for a change but want to minimize the expense and labor involved in replacing existing grout joints. Here are some helpful tips for staining and sealing tile grout.

Look for grout colorants that come in a variety of colors that allow you to stain and seal all at the same time.

Purchase grout stains at local hardware stores, home improvement centers or directly from a tile store.

Pick your color. Darker colors do not show dirt and wear as much as a light color grout. You might choose a darker grout because you want to add contrast and dimension to the room. Choose a lighter color in the same color shade as your tile if you want a more subtle look.

Tile grout stain can be applied to both new and old grout, but it must have adequate time to fully cure. A newly tiled and grouted room should cure for a full 30 days before applying a stain.

Make sure your tile and grout are clean and dry before applying the new stain. Use a regular household cleaner and scrub brush to clean the grout lines, and let dry thoroughly before staining.

Purchase a grout stain applicator kit or buy the pieces separately. You will need a narrow, stiff bristled brush, a sponge and a nylon scrub pad.

Apply an even coat of the stain to the grout using the narrow brush. Use the damp sponge to wipe and clean the grout as you go along. The scrub pad can be used for removing any excess stain from textured tile.

Let the grout stain dry completely. Most water-based stains also act as a sealant to prevent the joints from stains, damage and wear. However, you may use another product specifically designed to seal and protect grout stained with an oil-based stain.

Tips

  • Grout stains are available in both water-based and oil-based options. Oil stains soak deeper into the cement-based grout than a water-based stain, but either can be used.
  • Ask for samples of the grout stain. Take these home and match to your tile to pick the best color for the look you want to achieve.
  • Read the instructions on the stain your purchase. These will give specifcs regarding cure timing.
  • Tiles with a glossy finish are easier to stain because any excess stain can be easily wiped off.
  • Purchase some disposable, fitted gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals color in the stain.

Warnings

  • You may only use a lighter stain on an already light shade of grout. You cannot lighten an already dark grout with a lighter color because the pigments penetrate the grout and the darker color will show through.
  • Use the right tools and brushes to apply the grout stain. Read the recommendations on the label of the manufactured brand you choose.