Fix Cracked and Missing Tile Grout

Amanda C, Hometalk Team
by Amanda C, Hometalk Team
4 Materials
1 Hour
I have been living in my apartment for years now, and there is a huge chunk of missing grout between my kitchen tiles. I've noticed it for years, but I never did anything about it. It's gotten so bad (spreading to several tiles) that I finally had enough and decided to actually fix it! Grout is known for being daunting and hard to deal with, so I was nervous doing this project, but it turned out to be really easy! Once I got the tools together, it only took me a couple of minutes! And now those cracks aren't filling up with crumbs anymore. This project was definitely worthwhile.

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-Grout Saw (I got this great one on Amazon.)
-Grout (in the color you need... you can buy pre-mixed or powder)

STEP 1: Clean out the cracked grout
Find every area you want to fix (you don't want to accidentally miss one), and clean it thoroughly. This meant getting out tons of tiny crumbs, but I was able to do it with some vinegar, water, and a toothbrush.

STEP 2: Use your grout saw to remove all cracked and busted up grout.
When I think of saws, I think of big hefty tools, but this   tiny thing is a grout saw, and it's not nearly as scary as a big saw. It's all you need to dig out those cracked pieces of grout.

STEP 3: Clean away the dust and dirt
Dried grout creates dust, a lot of it. Grab a wet sponge, like this one, and clean away any dust off your tiles and in the cracks.

STEP 4: Make your grout
There are tow types of grout I know: one that you need to mix on your own, and one that comes pre-made. I had to mix mine, but if you're a beginner grouter, I would say buy the pre-mixed stuff. It'll save you the headache worrying about the correct peanut-butter consistency. Don't worry about the color; mine looked much darker than the grout that was on the floor when it was wet, but it ended up drying the same color.

STEP 5: Grout your floors
Take a heap of grout, place it on your grout float, and press it into the crack. Smooth the surface with the float by removing any excess grout that doesn't fit.

Then take a wet finger and run it over the grout. This helps smooth it into place.

STEP 6: Clean up the area
Use a damp sponge to wipe away any grout from the tile, trust me when I say you don't want to leave extra grout drying on your tile.

Once it has dried, run a wet sponge over the tile once more to remove any haze.

*Don't forget to seal it with grout sealer once it has dried. It will help it from getting stained and keep it from cracking.

Voila! See how quick and easy that was? My kitchen floor has a new life! The spot I showed wasn't too bad, but I had several tiles that were missing significant amounts and are now good to go!

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 12 questions
  • Debra Ridley Hurst Debra Ridley Hurst on Jul 19, 2018

    You did a great job but why didn't you have the apartment manager get it fixed?

  • Alanna Alanna on Jul 30, 2018

    When you say you painted the grout I believe you mean that you purchased actual grout paint?

  • Jan Jan on Aug 07, 2018

    How long has it been since doing this? I did this too and found that after a while the new grout started breaking up as all the moisture in the new grout seeped into the old/ existing grou and came out. I was told that the old grout needs to be really saturated with water before putting in the new to really make the new grout adhere as it dries

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3 of 37 comments
  • Stevie Johnson Stevie Johnson on Aug 24, 2018

    3 tips for beginners.

    Tip 1 -the other 2 are not as long. NEVER smooth grout w/ your fingers. Most, if not all, has lime in it. BTW, cement does, too. Makes them stick better. I am going into detail. This is important. Before embalming, lime often dumped in graves, esp during an epedemic, to make those bodies decompose faster. You will remember this hint, I'm thinking & I hope you do:) Puttering along, smoothing grout w/ your fingers, you will suddenly notice they hurt. And they have little red circles on the tips where you see the upper layer of skin is gone. Deeper than a blister. It gets worse. They stay sore for several days. Getting them wet stings bad. Super Glue to cover the wound is a construction worker's go-to. It only burns like fire for a few seconds & then water doesn't hurt. But. You can bev ome skkergic yo it-not supposed to get it on your skin snyway. Snd, allergic, the itching will drive you crazy. Best read on. If you are very unlucky, you will get what they call "cement poisoning" which is an infection the doc who treats you will call blood poisoning because it travels through your bloodstream. It can be dangerous to the point of being life threatening if not treated. i have had it once, for no apparent reason. 2nd time from taping sheetrock. Painting exterior trim all mornimg. Heavy wooden ladder & first noticed my arm felt sore when I went to lunch. Like a muscle soreness. The huge heavy ladder, I thought. Washing my hands, I saw red streaks on my skin from my fingers to just past my wrist. I joked it must be blood poisoning. Mom said no wounds, surely not. Didn't eat much. Realized I felt feverish & a little nauseous. Streaks over halfway to elbow. Showed Mom. Call the doc, Mom said. He was on his way to deliver a baby who was getting close to being born. He turned around & came back to our town to treat me first. Antibiotics by injection, more to swallow & an order that if it got into the bend of my elbow he wanted to know it immediately as it could not be allowed to get any closer to my heart, lungs & brain & would be admitted to the hosp. What he would do, there, I didn't ask. I was young & scared enough. Every heart beat caused severe pain in my arm, my fever was high, nausea worse & I wanted to go home & lay down. I did ask why could it happen w/ no wound & was told any break in the skin, even so small we can't see it, can let infection in. Most times our body fights it off & we never know it, but this was one the body didn't beat. It did not get into my elbow, just sat below it for two more days & nights & then faded away. I was pretty well out of it w/ the fever. I remember the pain, but little else. The second time I had it I was using joint compound & perlited plaster to tape & patch plaster in an old house. Never knew compound to have lime, so expect it was that plaster. A blob fell down into my boots & rubbed a sore spot on my instep so I did have a wound. As soon as I felt the ouch, I cles ned up & chsnged sicks, but already too late. I learned to dress to keep grout, cement, etc off your body. Long pants outside your boots, not tucked in. If you feel anything inside your clothes, shoes, gloves, get it off & your skin cleaned & change anything that might have cement, cement products, grout & perlited plaster in it. Thousands of people work w/ it all the time w/o problems so I wouldn't spend any time worrying about it. But I would still be quick to get it off my skin. That second round was as bad as the first though 20 yrs later.

    Tip 2. After grout has been applied, running your sponge diagonally across the joints to clean the excess off will not remove the grout from the joints as much as running in the same direction as the joints. if you get good at it, you won't remove any at all.

    Tip 3 DO NOT stop cleaning until the haze is gone completely. Never wait gir the next day. Give the grout 15 min or so to set up some if it's a small area you covered quickly. If it's a large area or you are slow, you need to grout some, then clean some as you go. You can see when the haze begins to dry & you don't want it to dry. Do the wiping on the diagonal & use a light touch. if you ate losing too much grout in the joints, give the grout a little more set time & try it again. Wring out rags & sponges so they are damp, but no dripping to wash the grout in the joints away. And truly, a sponge works best for the cleaning. Soft clean rags are best to buff. .Waiting until the next day, at best, will mean a lot of time & extra scrubbing & rubbing to get the haze gone & often buying a special cleaner to help get it off. Worse case, it can mean ruined tile you have to replace because leaving that smeary haze on-which is grout w/ lime in it-has actually eaten into the tile & ruined the finish. Go over the entire area. Change water, rinsing bucket well, rinse sponge, change buffing rags often so the grit doesn't scratch the tile &/or not clean well, buff dry as you go. Then go over the whole thing again using clean water, rags & sponges you didn't use the first time. If you do a good job, you may not even need a touch up.

    • Mary H 586-662-3104 Mary H 586-662-3104 on Jun 30, 2019

      So I’m going to assume that wearing rubber gloves would be Very important and beneficial to my skin?!

  • Gerald Davis Gerald Davis on Aug 30, 2018

    Thank you for all your information. I will definitely keep all this in mind should I ever have to work with lime.