Help, I Need to Remove Grout


The removal of grout within a residence is a common homeowner chore, that can be accomplished with a minimal amount of inherent skill, and can eliminate the costs of having the removal performed by the professionals. Grout is normally located between any ceramic tile or other tiled surfaces. In most instances, the term mortar is used to identify the joint filler used on stone or brickwork. The removal of mortar will be discussed on another webpage within this tab identified as What Now.


The removal of existing grout that occurs between tiles is normally required, if the existing grout is compromised, falling out of the joints, or has simply vanished from the joints, creating holes and voids between the tiles. Removal is sometimes required to change the color of the grout or due to extremely dirty or moldy grout that cannot be cleaned with any of the household cleaning substances. There are also several professional products that have been specifically designed to either bleach the grout back to its original color or stain the grout into a uniform color.

Quick solutions for removal

1.) Grout is normally an easy material to remove from the joints, due to its brittle character. Once the grout is broken it will deteriorate or crumble and fall out of the joints.

2.) Use a special tool that is sold in the local builders supply store or simply use the tip of an old fashioned can opener. The use of this can opener will allow you to quickly remove the grout without the expense of special tools, shaped exactly like the old fashioned can opener.

3.) Carefully run the point of the grout removal tool along the grout lines of the tiles. Be careful not to press too hard and to slip and scratch the face of the actual tile.

4.) Slow and easy is recommended to carefully remove the grout and not mare the tiles.

5.) Total removal of all of the existing grout is normally not required, the existing grout should be removed to a depth consistent throughout the field of tile. This removal can allow the deeper base portion of the existing grout to remain.

6.) Do not dig the grout out, nor hammer the tiles in anyway due to their brittleness and tendency to easily crack.

Future considerations

1.) I recommend the use of a synthetic grout when reapplying the new layer of grout. The new grouts are formulated to be more waterproof and durable than the older masonry types of grouts.

2.) Care should be taken in the selection of cleaners that are used on the newly grouted surfaces. The incorrect solvent or cleaner can produce a staining of the grout or a discoloration.

3.) Do not overly scrub the new grout and be extremely careful not to gouge out any of the joints in your cleaning efforts.

Professional suggestions

1.) If the project entails, replacement tiles or full tile replacement, I would recommend the use of a professional tile contractor. In many cases, the amateurs ability to blend the various grout colors and textures, will not result in a professional final product.

2.) If the solution to the issue is a simple removal of the existing grout and a reapplication of a new grout, then this can be accomplished quite easily by the homeowner. However, any further tile work, unless you are becoming a handyman, should be professionally performed.

The removal of an existing grout is normally not a large inconvenience and can be easily done by the average homeowner.

It is important to accept, that failure to solve any of these “Now What” conditions, may require the introduction of a professional local consultant, or contractor that is experienced in solving this specific “Now What” issue. Remember you are not alone when it comes to these very common problems and concerns!

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