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Question DetailsAsked on 10/5/2011

When grout is crumbling and disappearing between porcelain tile laid on concrete, how can a homeowner successfully make the repair?

Sixteen-inch porcelain tile was laid 5 years ago by a professional, is now out of warranty. Large areas of grout are now missing; indentations and little craters are becoming numerous over the entire 600 square feet of tile. TEC brand grout was used, and tile was laid with appropriate adhesive. I have a partially used bag of grout, TEC brand, with the color printed on the bag. Can the deteriorating tile be chipped out with a chisel? Is an electric rotating wire brush a better choice? How far into "good" grout should I grind or chip, and should the edges of old grout be chipped at a particular angle to get a good joint? What can a professional do that I cannot do on my own? Specialty tools? I have successfully made numerous home repairs over a 30 year period, such as installing crown molding, laying tile on new concrete, installing carpet with a stretcher, re-hanging kitchen cabinet doors -- I have many tools and am no stranger to renovation.- but this has me stumped!

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1 Answer


I had this same question myself, due to the same problem. I went to the local "big box" home improvement store and asked these questions. (My tile is not laid on concrete, so your results may be different.) There are 2 special tools for this job that will take the old grout out without damaging the tile. I wouldn't use a chisel. One of the tools is called a "grout saw." The work is labor intensive, as I was told that the grout must be completely removed from between the tiles, i.e. you can't put new grout over old grout--it won't adhere. There is an electric tool that will do the job; it's an attachment for a tool that I wasn't sure that we have, so I didn't look real closely at it. I apologize that I can't give you more information about the tool. What I learned was that it appeared that a homeowner could do the job, but it's labor intensive. (which is probably why it costs quite a bit for a professional to do it.) Another thing that I was told regarding chipping/deteriorating grout is that it shouldn't be doing this after only about 5 years, and that the cause is probably a "bad mix"; that the installer probably wasn't careful in the mixing or consistency during installation. Also keep in mind that if you only do part of the floor, the new grout may be slightly different in color (even the same shade) due to age, wear, foot traffic, and consistency in the mix (even sealed grout) Best of luck to you.

Answered 8 years ago by Tergiversada

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