Home bathroom and sanitaryMending tile joints - Tips for renovation

Mending tile joints - Tips for renovation

Fresh tile joints

No matter how well and thoroughly the bathroom is cleaned. Over time, the tile joints become brittle, cracked and unsightly. At a certain point, even with the best home remedies, no visual improvement can be achieved. We will show you here in a tutorial how to thoroughly rehabilitate the tile joints. Colored, moldy or damaged tile joints can only be repaired to a certain degree of contamination. If this is exceeded, the complete joint compound should be renewed. To rehabilitate the joints, however, the grout must first be removed. This tedious task can be greatly simplified with the appropriate tool. It is important not to damage the glaze of the tiles in this work, so you must work carefully and prudently. We show you here in detail the tips and tricks that are available for this in the manual.

You need this for the renovation of tile joints:

  • Painting fleece / old towels
  • masking tape
  • foil
  • screwdriver
  • Mini circular saw or angle grinder
  • rubber lip
  • spatula
  • bucket
  • Agitator on drill
  • Sponge big
  • brush
  • rubber gloves
  • caulking gun
  • puller
  • stepladder
  • vinegar
  • dish soap
  • Cement remover
  • Joint mortar / colored grout
  • silicone

Tip: If you only want to repair part of the tiled wall, you can artificially age a new bright grout with some ash. Even with very little black tinting you achieve a similar result. A dark grout should be bleached with a dab of white.

Repair and refurbish tile joints - step by step

If you want to repair or replace the tile joints in a complete room, it does work, but the result is overwhelming. However, if you only want to rehabilitate a part of the tile joints, you should work from wall to wall, so that the differences in color of the different old tile joints are less noticeable.

1. protect bathroom ceramics

Empty the room as completely as possible. All fittings, such as toilet, sink or shower tray must be covered as well as built-in cabinets and shelves safely. In many cases, it is sufficient for a film that is attached with Malerkrepp. But since it can happen that a tool or a complete tile falls down, you should protect the sensitive surfaces first with old towels, blankets or bubble wrap. If available, a painter's fleece is of course the most professional and safest solution. When covering do not forget the ground!

Painting fleece protects against dirt. Tip: it does not have to be an expensive 300g / m² tile.

2. Remove or cover silicone

If you want to renew the tile joints over a large area, you should first remove all adjacent silicone joints. This often works better with an old potato peeling knife than with a cutter that breaks and slips very easily if the blade is not set well.

Make sure that the cutter is always sharp.

3. Check joints

First, you should scratch the joints with an old flat-head screwdriver. This will tell you whether the old material is actually still stuck in the joint. With a little luck, the old grout almost bursts out of joint at this step. Especially if some grout has already burst in some places, it may be that you can clean the complete joints in this way. But always make sure not to damage the glaze of the tiles with the screwdriver.

4. Scrape out the joint

With a small angle grinder and the corresponding diamond wheel, joints can be cleaned quite well. But that requires a secure hand and is very tiring for large areas. The probability of error is great because you can easily hit the tiles with the rotating disk. In addition, tiles may fall off the wall due to the slight vibrations.

Many do-it-yourselfers find the handling of the mini portable circular saw simpler. This has become increasingly popular in recent years and is used for many purposes. The purchase is worthwhile for an ambitious handyman so in most cases. The small circular saw stays better in the track and moves because of their guide actuator more precisely over the surfaces without knocking.

Tip: Work from top to bottom to see where there is still grout stuck. Otherwise, the dust of the old grout would obscure the view.

An oscillating saw, also known as a dither saw or vibration saw, can also be used to repair the joints. However, with these models, the blades are blunted very quickly. This can be a cost factor when renovating a fully tiled room, because in addition these sheets are expensive. Even here, the trembling may cause tiles to fall off the wall if they are not completely stuck.

Tip: The old method of sticking out the grout with a hammer and a chisel has now become obsolete thanks to the various good electrical appliances. The tiles would later look like gnawed edges.

5. Clean and check

With a vacuum cleaner you can pull the loose grout and the dust out of the joints. Even a dry brush is a good solution. In addition, wipe with a damp cloth over the surface you want to renovate.

In the bathroom, it is usually not necessary to degrease the joints before refurbishing, but in the kitchen you should definitely clean with vinegar and a brush the joints. Any adhering grease from cooking can prevent the bonding of the grout to the tiles. Do not put too much moisture behind the tiles when doing this cleaning.

When working with pure undiluted vinegar you should wear rubber gloves as vinegar can particularly irritate the skin.

As already described above, some old tiled walls no longer necessarily have absolutely tight tiles. Now, when the joints are removed, sometimes the tiles lose their last hold. To prevent this from happening when you finish mending, use a narrow spatula to test across the wall on some tiles, to see if they really have enough holding power to stay in place even after they have been repaired or mended stay.

6. Grout tile joints

Stir the grout with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Follow the instructions as closely as possible, also with regard to the setting time. Most products must rest for a few minutes after mixing, this time is usually noted as maturity on the pack. Thereafter, the mass should be opened well again. Apply the grout mass from top to bottom over a large area. The mass should then be worked with the wide rubber lip always diagonally to the joint direction criss-cross.

Take your time and push joint grout into the joints again and again until no bubbles are visible and all joints are completely filled with tile mortar. When applying a cementitious grout you should wear gloves as cement will severely damage the skin.

Tip: It does not have to be the same color in grout used for years. Bring some color into the bathroom or kitchen with the many new shades that are now available in the grout. You can spice up some very boring tiles.

Colored joints - create contrasts in the kitchen and bathroom.

7. Remove excess

Depending on the manufacturer, different periods are specified when the excess grout can be wiped off the tiles again. In many cases, this should be done immediately after grouting. Take a big sponge and moisten it slightly when you first remove the coarse excess. Work from top to bottom and wipe the grout from the tiles. However, you must not wipe directly in the direction of the joint, otherwise you would wipe the grout out of the joint again.

Only when the coarse dirt is removed, the sponge should be made moister. Always wipe the tiles with clean water and a well-washed sponge over and over again until there are really no residues left on the tiles.

8. Clean unglazed stoneware

Slate and unglazed natural stones take the grout differently than a glazed tile. Especially if you are using a cement-based grout you should use a cement scum remover as your final cleaning step. Otherwise, it may be that you always find after drying an ugly gray haze on your stones. Once dried, it can not be removed. For these products you should definitely wear appropriate protective gloves, as the cleaner can be corrosive.

Slate tiles - nice but expensive.

9. Replace silicone

The wall connections of tub, sink and Co. should be made with silicone again. But before that, the grout must dry completely. Again read the instructions of the respective manufacturer. You may be able to continue working after three days. To do this, cut off the tip diagonally on the silicone cartridge. Careful, do not cut too far, then comes out too wide a silicone sausage. The silicone cartridge is inserted into a suitable pistol, with which you can fill up the joint well. For large spaces and long joints, there are now also electric pistols that do not go so heavily on the arms and hands.

Tip: White silicone does not necessarily match white bathroom ceramics. Especially the color white can be very different. Clear colorless silicone is also problematic, because mold or bumps are noticeable in this material. A silver-gray silicone is therefore often better suited and looks nobler.

Always try to fill each section in one go. The approaches may otherwise be visible later. For example, you should grout a shower tray from the corner, each in a corridor. The silicone joint should be removed immediately. Do not allow the silicone to dry. With a puller that has different angles, the joint can be removed perfectly. In between, clean the puller again and again with a little lukewarm water into which you have added a few drops of washing-up liquid. If you can pull off the silicone better with your finger, do not let it unsettle you, which usually works just as well.

Tip: Silicone joints should never just be repaired. Always remove the complete joint and clean it before grouting. As hard as it seems, you should also renew in a bathroom always just about all silicone joints, as the differences in color and condition otherwise stand out unpleasant.

Renovate tile joints - Tips for quick readers:

  • Remove grout and silicone clean
  • Empty the room completely and cover the fixtures
  • Clean and degrease tile joints
  • Mix grout until smooth
  • Incorporate grout with rubber lip
  • Maintain dry time for grout
  • Renew silicone joints
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