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Repairing damaged grout.

I love the durability, scrubbability and beauty of tile. But a tiled surface has its weak points - the grout lines.

Grout may chip or crack for any number of reasons. The floor or wall supporting the tile may flex or move. A sharp blow, temperature changes or a lousy installation may also cause problems. Grout protects underlying surfaces - plywood, cement board, drywall - from harmful moisture, so it's important to fix cracked or broken grout before it snowballs into a fullblown, pull-it-all-out-and-replace-the-whole-floor-or-wall affair. (By the way, these are the steps to follow to repair shower walls or kitchen counters, too.)

Remove the loose grout from between the tiles (Photo 1), preferably the full depth of the tile, then sweep or vacuum the crack clean.

You may be lucky enough to find a partial bag of grout left from the original installation. Otherwise, get samples or a grout brochure from a tile store and match the color as closely as possible (two or more colors can be blended if necessary). Mix a small sample batch and let it dry for three days to see how the color compares to the existing grout.

Mix the powdered grout with latex additive instead of water to make it stronger and more flexible. Force the grout firmly into the space between the tiles (Photo 3). As the grout begins to set - usually in 10 to 20 minutes - use your finger or a sponge to shape the joint to match the surrounding grout lines. Clean the surrounding tiles with a sponge (Photo 4), then wipe clean with a dry cloth.

If the damaged area is near the threshold of an exterior door, caulk that gap rather than regrouting it. Caulk will absorb the impact from a slamming door better than grout will. Finally, protect and seal all the grout lines with a sealer. Latex sealers can be applied the next day; wait two to three weeks before applying silicone-base sealers.

COPYRIGHT 1992 Home Service Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:floor tile repair
Author:Carlsen, Spike
Publication:The Family Handyman
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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