The author is a part-time home handyman and has used this technique to make several tired looking tile floors look new again.
Are Your Tile Floor's Grout Lines Looking Ugly?
Tile floors can last for decades, however, the grout lines in between the tiles may become so stained that it's impossible to make them look clean. Luckily, there's a solution to this problem in the form of grout paint.
Products such as GroutRenew, which we've used in our own project, can be found at most home improvement stores in the tile section. This product is durable and includes a built-in grout sealer, along with Microban anti-mildew additive.
My wife and I have used grout paint on ceramic, travertine, and terracotta tile with great success. There are many colors available to choose from.
Just a fair warning though, painting grout lines is a fairly laborious project that can take up to several days to complete, depending on the size of the room—but once it's done, the difference is amazing.
Helpful Tip: If you can't find the color of tile grout paint that you're looking for, you can try blending colors. In the floor shown in this article, we've combined GroutRenew #380 Haystack color with #380 Bone to create a color in between the two.
Here's how we repainted our own grout lines and gave our bathroom floor a fresh new look.
Step 1: Clean and Tape Off Grout Lines
- scrub brush
- AquaMix grout haze remover
- painter's tape
- knee pads (having a pair of knee pads to wear will make both the cleaning and painting jobs much easier on your body)
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- The first step is to use a scrub brush and AquaMix grout haze remover to scrub the grout lines clean. Starting with a clean floor will help GroutRenew and other products adhere better.
- Next, tape off the sides of the grout lines as seen in the photo above. Some tiles have uneven edges, and using shorter pieces of tape may make this task easier. (You don't need wide painters tape, narrow tape works just fine and is cheaper.)
- If you're very neat, you can do without taping off the tile and just wipe up any excess using a cloth.
- Let the floor dry completely. A fan may be used to accelerate this process.
Step 2: Paint the Grout Lines
- small tray or plastic container
- GroutRenew grout paint
- small paintbrush (makeup brushes and soft bristled toothbrushes work nicely for painting grout lines)
- damp microfiber cloth
- Put on a set of knee pads. If you don't have any, get some, you'll be glad you did!
- Make sure your grout paint is mixed by shaking the bottle for a minute or so.
- Pour about a tablespoon into a small plastic container and mix until the puddle of paint is even in color using a stick or brush.
- Start with painting a short section of grout and practice your technique before moving on.
- Work in small areas, allowing them to dry completely before moving on, careful not to kneel or walk on fresh paint.
- Immediately remove any paint on tiles using a damp cloth. Microfiber cloths work great for this.
- After the first coat has dried, repeat the process. Some porous kinds of grout can take up to three coats to paint.
- If paint is not sticking, you may have floor wax buildup in the grout joint. In this case, you'll need to go back to step one. You may need to use sandpaper and a stripping agent such as acetone to remove heavy floor wax buildup, as this can't be painted over.
Step 3: Remove Tape and Excess Paint
The final step is to remove the painter's tape and scrape off any excess grout paint on the tiles using a razor knife. Hopefully you've removed most using your damp microfiber cloth, as this type of paint is not easy to remove.
Check to see if the brand of grout paint you've chosen includes a sealer. If it doesn't, the final step will be to seal the grout lines using sealer, which you can also find in your local home improvement store's tile section.
Allow the paint to cure for several hours before walking on it, and enjoy the look of your "new" tile floor!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Nolen Hart