How to Remove Old Grout

Often times, the grout between your tile wears out before the tile does.

Grout removal takes patience.Grout removal takes patience.
Luckily, you can remove the old grout and replace it without pulling up the tiles. You simply need to chip away the grout with the right tools. But be prepared to spend a significant amount of time on this project. If you move too quickly, you can scratch or chip the adjacent tile as you try to remove the grout. However, with a bit of precision, you'll be ready to install the new grout.

Lay a tarp underneath the tile if you are removing it from the wall.

Apply two or more layers of masking tape to the rows of tile directly adjacent to the strip of tile you are removing. This will protect the tile from surface scratches in case your tool slips.

Use the grout scraper to scrape away the grout. Ideally, you want to scrape until you expose the edge of the tile. But you need at least 3mm of depth in which to apply new grout. Brush away the accumulated debris occasionally to accurately gauge how deep you've gone.

Remove the tape.

Repeat Steps 1 through 3 until all of the grout is removed.

Clean the tile. Brush away and vacuum up the residual dust and debris. Then use a spray cleaner to clean the tile and scrub away any residual adhesive before applying new grout.

Things You Will Need

  • Grout scraper
  • Spray cleaner
  • Vacuum
  • Broom

Tips

  • Carbide tipped grout-scraping tools can be found nearly anywhere they sell tile and grout. If you cannot find this inexpensive tool, you can chip away at the grout with a thin-tipped flathead screwdriver and hammer. Hold the screwdriver at a 45-degree angle to the grout to avoid chipping the tile. Remove a half-inch section. Then, as you move down the row, chisel toward the area you just cleared to avoid chipping the tile. Chisel just deeply enough to expose the sides of the tile.
  • Power tools can be handy for big grout-removal jobs if you are willing to make the investment. Power grinders like the Dremel Tool or RotoZip will scrape away the grout in no time.

About the Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.