How to Change Grout Color

Grout serves an important purpose in tiled surfaces by filling the spaces between tiles to create a water-tight seal. Over time, grout can become discolored due to mold, mildew, dirt, and regular wear and tear. Many homeowners opt to change the color of their existing grout as a way to update the look of their tiled surfaces without undergoing a full tile replacement. With some time and effort, you can change your grout color and give your tiles and floors a fresh new look.

Why Change Your Grout Color

There are several reasons why you may want to change the color of your existing grout:

  • Update the look: Changing your grout color is an easy and affordable way to update the look of your tiled kitchen, bathroom or flooring. Going from white to gray, beige to black or any other color change can give your tiles an entirely new aesthetic.
  • Cover up unsightly stains: Over time, grout can become stained from mold, mildew and routine use. Changing the grout color is an effective way to cover up these unsightly stains.
  • Uniformity: If your grout lines have varying colors due to staining or repairs, a fresh coat of new colored grout can bring uniformity back to the area.
  • Personal preference: You may simply prefer a different grout color than what was originally installed. The great thing about changing grout color is that it can be done easily without disturbing the existing tiles.

Things to Consider Before Changing Grout Color

There are a few things to take into account before embarking on a grout coloring project:

  • Type of existing grout: Make sure to identify whether you have cementitious or epoxy grout. Cementitious grout can be colored but epoxy cannot.
  • Color choice: Select a color that complements your tiles. Go with a darker shade for a more modern look or match the new grout color to your tiles for a monochromatic appearance.
  • Sealing: Make sure existing grout is fully cleaned and sealed prior to applying new color for best results.
  • Time and labor: The process can take several hours to multiple days depending on the size of your project. Be prepared to put in some time and elbow grease.

Choosing a New Grout Color

When selecting a new grout color, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Tile color: Choose a grout color that matches or contrasts nicely with your existing tiles. For example, use a dark grout with light tiles for contrast or match grout color to tile for a seamless look.
  • Aesthetic goals: Do you want to complement your tiles, make them pop, or give the whole space a new unified color palette? Decide what overall effect you’re hoping to achieve.
  • Room purpose: Go with a darker grout color in low-traffic areas like a master bath versus a lighter color for high-traffic spaces like a kitchen.
  • Personal preference: At the end of the day, pick a color you love since you’ll be looking at it every day. Just be sure it goes with your tiles.

Once you decide on a new grout color, purchase a grout colorant kit or dye specifically designed for grout. Do not use a wood or fabric dye on your grout.

How to Change Grout Color Step-by-Step

Changing grout color is a multi-step process but certainly doable as a DIY project. Follow these steps:

Supplies Needed

Before getting started, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:

  • Grout colorant kit or dye
  • Cleaning solution
  • Grout sealer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Foam brushes, toothbrushes, and rags
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Bucket of water
  • Safety gear like gloves and goggles

Step 1: Clean the Grout

Thoroughly clean the existing grout lines to remove all dirt, grime, oils, waxes and sealers. You want the grout to be as pristine as possible to achieve the best coloring results. Use a specially formulated tile and grout cleaner or make your own natural solution with vinegar and water. Scrub with a toothbrush or cleaning pad.

Step 2: Rinse and Dry Grout

Once grout lines are cleaned, rinse thoroughly with water. Use rags, paper towels or a wet/dry vacuum to soak up all excess moisture. Grout lines must be completely dry before applying colorant. Allow 1-2 days drying time if needed.

Step 3: Tape and Protect Surfaces

Use painter’s tape to mask off any surfaces you don’t want to color, like countertops, cabinets and baseboards adjacent to the tiled area. Cover floors with a plastic drop cloth to protect from spills and drips.

Step 4: Apply Grout Sealer

Sealing the grout first will help the color adhere evenly for best results. Apply your chosen grout sealer per the manufacturer’s instructions and allow time to cure completely.

Step 5: Test Grout Dye in Inconspicuous Area

Before applying grout colorant to the entire area, do a test spot in an inconspicuous corner or small section to confirm the color provides desired results.

Step 6: Apply Grout Colorant

Once confirmed, apply grout colorant methodically with a foam brush for all grout lines following the product instructions. Use a toothbrush to work the dye into the grout crevices and remove any excess sitting on the tile.

Step 7: Allow Drying Time

Let the newly colored grout dry completely according to manufacturer recommendations, usually 24-48 hours. Drying times vary by product.

Step 8: Remove Tape and Clean Tiles

Once fully dry, carefully remove all painter’s tape and plastic. Use a tile cleaning solution to remove any colorant residue from the tile surfaces. Rinse thoroughly.

Step 9: Seal and Protect Grout

Apply a grout sealer to lock in color and provide stain protection. Allow sealer to cure fully before using the area.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Fresh New Grout!

Your grout makeover is complete! Enjoy your updated tiled space. Be sure to implement grout cleaning routines to keep your new grout color looking fresh.

Cleaning and Caring for Colored Grout

Proper maintenance is key to keeping newly colored grout looking its best:

  • Use soap and water for routine grout cleaning. Avoid harsh cleaners.
  • Re-seal grout lines every 1-2 years for maximum protection.
  • Spot clean spills quickly to prevent staining.
  • Consider grout touch-up color kits for minor repairs over time.
  • Check for hazy or inconsistent areas. Recolor if needed.
  • Routinely remove dirt buildup in grout crevices.

Following good care practices will help colored grout maintain its vibrancy and keep your tiled surfaces looking great.

Grout Color FAQs

Many homeowners have questions when taking on a grout color change project. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

How long does colored grout last?

With proper maintenance and sealing, colored grout can last 3-5 years or longer before needing reapplication. Lighter colors may show dirt and wear sooner than darker colors.

Does all grout have to be the same color?

Uniform grout color looks best, but it is possible to have grout lines different colors. Just keep in mind an inconsistent look is harder to maintain over time.

Can I apply new grout color over existing discolored grout?

In most cases, yes. Thoroughly clean and seal old grout first to provide the most uniform base layer for fresh grout color.

How do I know if I have cement or epoxy grout?

Cement grout is soft, porous and scratches easily with a knife. Epoxy grout is hard, glossy, and impervious to scratches. Only cement grout can be colored.

Is recoloring grout better than regrouting?

Recoloring is far less labor intensive and won’t require disrupting intact tiles. Regrouting entails removing old grout and replacing.

How do I pick a color that goes with my tiles?

Choosing a tinted shade of your current grout is easiest. Otherwise, select a color in the same color family that complements your tiles.

Can I use grout dye on sanded caulk lines?

No, grout dyes and colorants are formulated for cementitious grout only. Do not use them on caulk.

Professional Grout Coloring Services

If you don’t want to tackle a DIY grout coloring project, consider hiring a professional tile and grout cleaning company. Experts can provide services including:

  • Consultation on best grout color options for your space
  • Pro-grade cleaning, sealing and preparation
  • Skilled application for long-lasting, quality results
  • Ability to match existing grout colors
  • Additional tile and grout repair services

Pros have specialized tools, experience and techniques that allow them to color grout efficiently with less mess and hassle. Their work will also likely last longer compared to DIY.

Hiring a professional grout coloring service costs approximately $1-$5 per square foot depending on local rates and project size. Larger commercial jobs are more cost-effective to outsource than smaller residential bathrooms.

Give Your Tiles a Facelift with New Grout Color

Changing the color of your grout is an inexpensive way to update the look of any tiled surface in your home. With some cleaning, sealing, masking and concentrated coloring, you can switch up your grout color to give your tiles and floors a fresh new facade. Pay attention to prep work, allow adequate drying time and properly seal and maintain your newly colored grout. In a weekend or less, you can enjoy a revitalized kitchen backsplash, bathroom or foyer that looks like you installed brand new tile.