Updating the tiles
Removing grout from tile is easy, clean and fast.
This task, which you may have dreaded for years, can even be done in a day, depending on the total tile area.
In most cases, repair work in showers, kitchens and other rooms with tiles consists of replacing or renewing the tile covering. After a certain time, the tile material loses its former appearance and is no longer what it was immediately after installation.
And to save money, you can simply update the seams on the tiles.
You can do it by hand, but buying a vibration tool will make the job much easier. But it doesn’t have to be an expensive purchase.
A multi-tool can remove 15 square feet of mortar from a 4-by-4-inch tile in about an hour.
Why do it?
- There are times when mold appears on the current grout that cannot be cleaned. In many cases, it is faster and easier to remove them than to clean the grout.
- I don’t like the old grout color anymore and want to change it. One way to change the grout color is to stain the existing grout. But a more effective way is to use a brand new color of grout.
- The grout is crumbling and falling off. Instead of patching, you can remove everything and apply a new pattern.
Tools and materials needed
Some tools for removing grout are common hand and power tools that have been reintroduced for this task. A special tool for removing grout, such as a trowel, is good, but not necessary.
A rotary tool or vibrating multi-tool can save you time, so it’s worth getting one, even if you won’t use it for anything else.
- Rotating tools, or oscillating multi-tools, or oscillating tool sets
- safety glasses
- utility knife with a blunt blade
- small flat screwdriver
- vacuum cleaner
But can the tool remove the tile?
One of the dangers of using a power tool to remove grout from tile is the possibility of scratching it.
The reason you can use a power tool is because grout is softer than tile.
This tool will tear the grout, but it will not break the tile. However, since everything has its limits, pushing hard enough can damage the tile.
Grouting joints with a power tool
Install a vibrating tool with a blade designed for tile. The heads of most tools indicate what material (metal, wood, tile, etc.) can be used.
Hold the tool horizontally (or vertically for vertical joints), turn on the power and lightly press the blade into the mortar.
Let the power tool do all the work; do not push it. The blade should easily chew through the mortar.
Holding the tool steady and having removed as much mortar as possible, carefully tilt the blade to remove more mortar.
Again, by working slowly and patiently, you will not damage the edges of the tiles.
One technique is to keep your hands in the toolbox so you don’t get tired during the process.
Scrape off the grout with a screwdriver
After removing as much grout as possible with a power tool, the next step is to use a small flathead screwdriver.
Its head will go into the joint and allow you to scrape away stubborn lumps of grout.
Don’t try to remove every last drop. This is the next step. Loosen the vibrating tool, but don’t remove it completely.
Use a universal knife that removes the mortar
Replace it with a blunt blade to find a piece of mortar that won’t come out.
A blunt blade is necessary for two reasons.
First, there’s no point in killing a good, sharp tile grout blade.
Second, you don’t want to risk hitting the sharp end of a utility knife. You won’t like it.
Continuous vacuum grout
Use a vacuum cleaner while removing the solution so you can see what you’re doing.
And, of course, you’ll want to use it again at the end to clean the work area.
In general, to keep the appearance aesthetic, change the seams every four to five years.