My 70s bathroom has these holes between the tiles.

by Louise
I think they need to be filled with grout so I bought a small amount. I also need to clean the tiles. Some have lots of soap film on them. Should I clean them first and then use the grout or vice versa or does it make any difference?
  13 answers
  • Gary Stenzel Gary Stenzel on Jun 07, 2015
    I think I would clean first and regrout later. Because the cleaning might expose the other gaps that were going to show up soon. I would rather fix it once instead of twice.
  • Gill Moreton Gill Moreton on Jun 07, 2015
    Hi, I agree with Gary, clean thoroughly first, get out any loose old grout then fill. A firm bristled nail brush works well on grout lines.
  • Dee Dee on Jun 07, 2015
    If you are wanting to clean the tiles, mix white vinegar, blue dawn and water in equal parts. Heat the vinegar before mixing with the dawn then add water. Spray on tiles let sit for several hours. Overnight is good. Scrub with a brush or use a razor blade to take off the soap scum. To fix the grout, you may have to use a grout removal tool. or you can squish some grout in the holes. You need to fix the grout because water is getting behind your tiles which will cause all sorts of problems from bugs, to rotted wood. When finished, use some car wax on the tiles, they will shine for about 8 months with very little effort. Just spray them down with the vinegar mixture and rinse. Oh the spray is great on toilets too. Gets rid of hard water stains and keeps the bowl shining.
  • Linda Santo Linda Santo on Jun 07, 2015
    Get a grout scraper tool. It's a little hand tool with a bent blade with a point. Scrape the tool down the joints and it will take out all the loose stuff. Don't press TOO hard because it will take out all the grout which you don't need to do. Maybe a couple of dollars but makes the job easy.
  • Karen Karen on Jun 07, 2015
    Definitely clean first, but try to be conservative with water, so you don't risk water getting behind the backer board ... it "should" be water-proof, especially with the mastic that keeps the tiles stuck to the wall ... but if he house is old, there's no telling what shape it's all in.
  • Glenda W Glenda W on Jun 08, 2015
  • Jane Jane on Jun 08, 2015
    Before you "fix" the grout, you may want to check for mold or water damage behind those tiles first. You really don't want to just cover up a bigger problem.
    • Terry Terry on Jun 12, 2015
      @Jane Absolutely true...I had the same sort of thing and am now redoing both of my 70's bathrooms which leaked and ruined the ceiling in the hall and living room. Also,those old tubs don't have a lip on them and when you step into the tub it can form a gap which grout will not fix...and this is why I have to replace part of the wall in my bedroom...get someone out and rip the bathroom out and replace it...or you may end up like me and replace it later while fixing the damage it caused...costly damage I might add.
  • Omniman Omniman on Jun 08, 2015
    Cant check mold unless holes are big enough or remove a tilt...SOOOO...on all grout repairs, cleaning is a must...but we have done it only in the areas necessary. don't let the grout dry too long...hard to remove. We put it on and not even 4-5 min, its off. ON small jobs just as this....(It looks White) a little white silicone and a delicate finger rub does fine. just put what u need with the smallest hole possible. There ya go
  • Jonah Jonah on Jun 08, 2015
    Since the grout has start showing discoloration and deterioration started a while back, and the surface has become impervious, moisture has been building up. Good chance of Mildew or Fungus. While making these repairs by removing the grout, Use 3% hydrogen peroxide to fight the sight and odor of bathroom mildew. Use at full strength – directly pouring the peroxide on mildewed tiles or spraying a bit in the cracked area. Wipe clean.
    • See 1 previous
    • Jonah Jonah on Jun 09, 2015
      @Louise That's great, as a precautionary step, spray it if you can sparingly, or dampen a Q-Tip and swirl in the affected area.
  • Wendy Wendy on Jun 08, 2015
    Give the tiles a good clean with out wetting them too much. Buy a grout removing tool from the hardware store. They are very cheap. You'll need to remove a decent amount of grout to get a good bond. I did my hole bathroom recently. It's a good way to give it a fresh new feel. I used 'Bright White' grout. It's quite easy. Follow the instructions.
  • Vivian Vivian on Jun 09, 2015
    I have to agree with Jane from Phoenix AZ. Although the areas are small it may be showing you signs of a bigger problem lurking behind the tiles, which may require you to check it out before you cover it up. Fixing it now might also be moneywise rather than allowing it to get worse and create a bigger problem later. Thanks,just my opinion.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 20, 2015
    This is the grout tool I bought at Lowe's. When I was there, no one I could find seemed to have much knowledge about this. I don't think this is going to work because the blade seems thicker than my grout areas. I haven't removed it from the package, but eyeballing it is telling me this isn't going to work. Is this even the correct tool? They had one with a small triangular shape on the end, and I saw a much smaller version of this -- without the long handle -- in a video. Can I just use an old knife? OR, are these black blades, which seem much thinner, what I need to use with this tool?
  • Judy Judy on Oct 25, 2016
    If you're going to do any renovations to your bathroom you must have 2-3 days of no use to ensure it stays dry. When I redid the caulking in both my tubs(one at a time) it took two weeks to scrape old out, bleach the bagebberz out of it, dry dry dry , then caulk and reddy.. g luck