Grout can make or break the aesthetics of tile. Whether wall tile, bathroom floor tile or kitchen and even outdoor tile, the grout color and grout lines need to be carefully matched and coordinated with the look of the tile. Grout lines that are too small for the tile size can detract from the look of the tile, and conversely grout that is too thick or inconsistent grout lines can be incredibly unattractive.
In the worst case scenario, tiles are improperly spaced and set which means that that no matter what you do to the grout lines, they will always be uneven. Here are some of your options for updating old, uneven and dirty grout lines without having to rip up the tile and replace it.
Why does grout get so dirty?
Grout is a highly porous and rough, and it sits lower than the tile around it. Grout lines are literally little channels that can collect dirt, water, grim and be breeding grounds for bacteria, mold and mildew. And normal cleaning practices might make things worse for the look of grout in the long run. Dirty mop water, while able to clean the tile itself, is perhaps the number one cause of dirty grout lines.
In order to prevent and forestall your grout lines becoming sodden petri dishes that kill the look of our tile, you should regularly clean and reseal your grout lines and ensure you use clean mop water as much as possible.
Grout Colorant and Grout Paint
Sometimes, though, the grout stains are so well embedded that you are left with only the option of regrouting your tile or attempting to paint or add colorant to it. If you are looking to save money, tile painting is perhaps the best way to go. In some cases, depending on the color and placement of your grout, you can get away with spending very little to revitalize your grout. Take a look at how this white tile bathroom floor was transformed with a $2 bottle of acrylic paint. That was a special case of white tile on white grout. In some cases, you need a little more color to match you the palette of your tile. In that case, grout paints and colorants are the way to go. There are a number of great products on the market that can help you freshen your tile grout. Here is a great article on grout paint that can help get you oriented.
Another advantage of grout colorants is their ability to hide the uneven grout lines that a careless contractor left behind. Just find a color that blends with your tile and does not offer a stark contrast to the tile, leaving the edges between the tile and the grout less defined and so any imperfections less noticeable.
Sometimes neither cleaning nor painting will cut it. You many have to regrout the tile. Signs that you need to regrout or even replace your tiles include the following:
- Loose tiles. Loose tiles are a sure sign that something is going wrong. Something has failed. In this case it will likely be necessary to contact a professional about your options for tile replacement or tile resurfacing.
- Excessive mold and mildew. When tile are loose or the grout is cracked and the sealant worn, water can accumulate under the tile and grout and cause persistent mildew that does not respond to cleaning. If you suspect that your tile and grout has mold or mildew growing under it is time to regrout or replace.
- The grout has been there for awhile. Grout can last on average about 15 years before succumbing to degradation. If it has been awhile since your grout has been installed, it may be time for a regrouting job.
Tile Resurfacing as a solution to grout problems
After all this, you may be despondent, “I have crumbling, dirty grout lines besotted with mildew! What should I do?”
Well, you can replace your tile, which would mean that you have to remove all the old tile and grout and lay new tile, a hassle and dirty job, or you can resurface it.
Resurfacing materials like Semco’s Tile Remodel Without Removal system have advanced to the point where there is no need to remove the old tile to get a brand new, seamless, sealed and grout free decorative surface. The Semco system can be applied to wall tiles, shower tiles, kitchen tiles bathroom floor tiles, indoor and outdoor tile and more.
If you are tired of grappling with tile maintenance and dirty grout lines contact Semco Florida today to learn about tile resurfacing. Or check out our tile resurfacing FAQs.