How to Regrout Ceramic Tile

Regrouting ceramic tile is an important home improvement task that helps restore the look of your tile surfaces. Over time, grout can become discolored, cracked or just look generally grimy. Replacing the grout in ceramic tile is an affordable weekend project that can give tiled areas like kitchens, bathrooms and entryways a fresh, clean appearance.

With some preparation, the right materials and tools, and careful technique, DIYers can achieve professional-looking results when learning how to regrout ceramic tile. This article provides a step-by-step guide to successfully regrouting ceramic tiles throughout the home.

Why Regrout Ceramic Tiles?

There are a few reasons why you may need to regrout ceramic tile in your home:

  • Discolored or stained grout: Grout can become stained over time from mold, mildew, food spills or just general dirt buildup. Discolored grout makes the whole tile installation look old and dirty.
  • Cracked or crumbling grout: Grout can develop hairline cracks or start crumbling out of the joints, leaving gaps that allow water penetration behind the tile. This can cause damage over time.
  • Refreshing renovations: Sometimes tile is in good shape but the grout just looks tired. Regrouting provides an easy facelift when remodeling a space like a kitchen or bathroom.
  • Change of style: You may want to change the color of your existing grout to update the look or match a new design scheme. Regrouting allows you to alter the joint color.

No matter the reason, regrouting ceramic tile is often much more cost-effective than retiling an entire area. With some elbow grease, you can give new life to your old tile.

Tile Regrouting Materials Needed

Regrouting tile is a relatively simple DIY job. However, having the right materials on hand will ensure the project goes smoothly and you achieve the desired results. Materials needed include:


Choose new grout in the color you wish to replace the old grout. Typically unsanded grout is best for ceramic wall tiles with narrow grout lines less than 1/8 inch. Sanded grout is often used for floor tiles and wider grout joints. Make sure to buy enough grout for the entire area you’ll be regrouting based on the manufacturer’s coverage recommendations.

Grout sealant

Using a grout sealant after installation can protect the fresh grout from stains. It’s an optional step but highly recommended for kitchens, baths and other high-traffic areas.

Grout haze remover

This mild acidic cleaner helps remove cured grout residue or “haze” from the tile surface after regrouting. Using a haze remover ensures your tiles look clean and polished after the project.


Caulk is often used to fill corner joints and gaps between tile and fixtures like bathtubs. Make sure to have caulk in a color that matches your new grout.

Grout saw or rotary tool

To remove old grout, you’ll need a handheld grout saw, rotary tool like a Dremel or oscillating multi-tool. These make quick work of cutting out grout without damaging tile.

Grout float and rubber grout float

A grout float is used to spread new grout into the cleaned joints and a rubber grout float helps apply pressure and smooth the finished grout lines.

Grout rake

This handy little tool removes excess grout from the surface of the tile as you work in small sections.

Grout sponge

Use a grout sponge dedicated just to regrouting to smooth joints and wipe away excess grout slurry. Rinse frequently in clean water.

Bucket, sponges, towels

Have supplies like buckets, sponges and towels on hand to mix grout, wipe down tiles and clean up as you go.

Safety gear

Wear safety goggles, gloves and a mask when appropriate to protect yourself while cutting out old grout and working with chemicals.

How to Prepare for Regrouting

Completing prep work before you begin regrouting ceramic tiles will help ensure you achieve quality results. Follow these tips:

Clear the area

Remove everything from around the tile so there’s plenty of open space to work. Cover any adjacent surfaces like countertops with plastic sheeting or rosin paper.

Clean the tile

Use an alkaline tile cleaner to thoroughly wash the tile and let it dry completely. This allows fresh grout to adhere properly.

Seal natural stone

If regrouting natural stone like marble, travertine or granite, apply a stone sealer first according to the product instructions.

Inspect for damage

Check for any damaged, loose or missing tiles that need replacement before regrouting.

Allow new grout to fully cure

When regrouting a recently tiled area, make sure the grout has cured for the time recommended by the manufacturer, often 21-28 days.

How to Cut Out Old Grout

Removing the old grout completely is one of the most important steps in how to regrout ceramic tile. Here’s how to cut out grout properly:

Score grout lines

Use a sharp utility knife to score along the center of each grout line. This helps guide the rotary tool.

Cut out old grout

Run the rotary tool blade along each scored grout line to cut out the old grout down to the full depth. Cut out grout in small sections.

Clean out grout

Use a shop vacuum to remove all traces of loose grout once a section is cut out. Avoid scratching the tile surfaces.

Rinse with water

Use a sponge and bucket of clean water to wash away all grout debris. Change the rinse water frequently.

Check depth

Make sure you’ve cut down to the full depth of the existing grout for proper adhesion of new grout.

Inspect for damage

Examine the tile edges for any nicks or damage before moving onto the next section.

Continue in sections

Carefully work in small sections until all the old grout is cut out and the joints are clean and ready for regrouting.

Regrouting Tile Step-By-Step

Once the old grout has been fully removed, you can move on to the fun part – applying fresh new grout! Follow these steps for fool-proof results:

Mix the grout

Prepare grout by mixing powdered grout with water in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let it slake, or rest, for 10 minutes.

Apply grout release

Brush on grout release onto the surface of the tiles with a paintbrush if desired to make cleaning excess grout easier later.

Spread grout

Use a rubber grout float to force grout into the open joints, pressing down at a 45° angle and packing it tightly.

Work in sections

Only grout a small area of a few square feet at a time so the grout stays workable as you go.

Remove excess

Holding the grout float at a 90° angle, scrape it diagonally across the tiles to remove excess grout from the surface.

Clean with sponge

Use a damp grout sponge in a swirling motion to further smooth and clean off excess grout. Rinse the sponge frequently.

Final tooling

Once the grout haze has begun to set on the surface, use the grout float to tool the joints again at a 90° angle for a concave finish.

Check for voids

Carefully inspect for any voids or low spots and reapply grout as needed to fill completely.

Repeat steps

Complete the same process to grout the remaining sections until the entire installation is finished.

Cure grout

Allow the grout to cure according to manufacturer directions, usually 24-48 hours for foot traffic.

Apply sealer

Once fully cured, apply grout sealer to finished grout lines per product instructions to protect from stains.

Install caulk

Use caulk to fill any gaps along the edges, corners, and between tile and fixtures like bathtubs.

Voila! Your tile should now look freshly grouted with clean, uniform joints.

Cleaning and Polishing Regrouted Tile

You’re almost done with your tile regrouting project! Here are some finishing steps for a flawless final look:

Allow grout to cure

It’s critical to let the grout cure completely, often 48-72 hours, before attempting to polish and clean tiles.

Wash tiles

Use a tile cleaner safe for grout to wash the entire surface to begin removing any remaining film or residue.

Apply haze remover

Apply grout haze remover to freshly regrouted tiles following the product instructions to remove cured grout residue.

Scrub with brush/pad

Gently scrub tiles and grout with a stiff nylon brush or pad to fully remove grout haze and polish the surface.

Rinse thoroughly

Take your time rinsing the tiles well with clean water to remove all haze remover residue which can leave a film.

Dry and inspect

Allow tiles to fully dry. Carefully inspect for any remaining haze and use more remover if needed.

Seal grout

Once the tile and grout are clean and dry, seal the grout lines with a penetrating sealer for added protection.

Buff tiles

Use a soft cloth to buff tiles for a shining, polished finish.

With these last steps, your freshly regrouted tile should now look clean, uniform, and like new again!

Tips for Regrouting Tile Successfully

To help ensure your tile regrouting project goes smoothly, keep these handy tips in mind:

  • Work in small sections of just a few square feet at a time so grout stays workable.
  • Make sure all old grout is cut out completely so new grout adheres properly.
  • Change rinse water frequently to remove all debris between steps.
  • Wipe off excess grout thoroughly before it dries on the tile surface.
  • Don’t spread more grout than you can clean off within about 10 minutes.
  • Be patient and allow grout to cure fully before polishing and sealing tiles.
  • Use grout release or sealer on highly porous tiles to prevent staining.
  • Carefully inspect the joints for voids and reapply grout to any low spots.
  • Apply caulk, not grout, to fill any corner gaps or joints with uneven widths.

Frequently Asked Questions About Regrouting Tile

Many DIYers have questions about the process of regrouting ceramic and stone tile. Here are answers to some of the most common queries:

Should I use sanded or unsanded grout to regrout bathroom tile?

For most ceramic wall tiles, unsanded grout is the best choice for regrouting. The fine texture can fill narrow grout joints. Only use sanded grout for floor tiles with wider grout lines.

Does all the old grout need to be removed before regrouting?

You should cut out 100% of the old grout before applying new grout. Any grout left in the joints can prevent proper adhesion and lead to cracks or voids.

How long does grout need to cure before cleaning tile?

It’s important to allow 72 hours for grout to cure before attempting to scrub or polish recently regrouted tiles. This prevents damaging the fresh grout.

Can I use bleach to clean discolored grout?

No, avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals. Use an alkaline tile and grout cleaner specifically formulated to deep clean discolored or stained grout.

Is it OK to grout over existing cracked grout?

It’s best to cut out any cracked or crumbling grout completely before regrouting to prevent continued damage below the tile.

How soon can I get tile wet after regrouting?

Avoid water exposure for at least 72 hours to allow new grout to fully cure and seal. Then you can resume regular use and cleaning.


Regrouting ceramic and stone tiles can give tile installations throughout the home a like-new appearance again. While the process involves some intensive labor removing old grout and careful technique applying fresh grout, the dramatic results are well worth the effort.

With the right tools and materials and this step-by-step guide, even novice DIYers can achieve professional-looking results. Just focus on proper preparation, working in small sections, and cleaning & polishing for a flawless finish.

In a weekend, you can renew and revitalize the look of your tired, stained grout lines. Just be sure to allow adequate time for the fresh grout to fully cure before enjoying your refreshed new tile surfaces.