Making Grout Great Again

Hi Lorna,

I saw your recent article on getting tiles back to looking brand new and I thought it was fantastic. I tried tons of your tips and they worked like a dream. However now I have a real problem with my grouting. It’s stained pretty badly even though it’s only been a few years since the floor was put down.

I don’t think it was sealed properly by the tiler and that may be the reason it has stained so badly. Is there anything I can do in this situation? Please help me Lorna. Thanks!

-Darla

Hi Darla,

This is a very common problem indeed. You see, grout by its very nature is porous and that really spells disaster for keeping it clean. Especially in a bathroom or kitchen where things spill all the time. Now grout and tiles are supposed to be sealed after they are laid, which is supposed to prevent spills turning into stains, but after a long enough period of time anything gets dirty when its being trod on all day long.

If you really don’t fancy doing it yourself then of course you can always get a professional cleaning services. There’s one in Dublin called Home Concierge and they are excellent.

A great piece of advice I received from a tiler friend of mine, is never to use white grout, but instead use grey grout. t still looks very nice but it doesn’t show dirt or stains over time.

However in your particular situation you are in luck, because there is actually a fairly new way to get your grout looking like brand new again.

The solution is called colourant for grout!

There are many different types on the market and each has its own method of applying the colouring. There are pen types, brush, rollers, sponges and markers.

Obviously some are easier to apply than others. If you don’t have a steady hand then the roller and sponge are not going to be very good for you.

I personally like to use the marker type as it’s easy to apply and also easy to clean up should you accidentally get some on a tile by mistake!

I wont go into details about all the different types as I’d be here all day, but you should follow the instructions on the back of the box very carefully.

A few things to bear in mind are that your tiles may be made from an equally porous material and thus will absorb the colourant very easily. So you’ll need to be extra careful.

Also afterwards to help keep the grout clean you should really seal it. Some of the more expensive colourants do include their own sealer though, which I would recommend as you are killing two birds with one stone.

This is definitely a job that will take you a long time, that’s for sure. But it’s really going to be worth it. And once done it won’t have to be done again for very many years.

Of course it has to be said that if products like grout colourants exist and are seemingly selling very well then maybe tiles have a fatal flaw. Maybe there needs to be new type of grout (http://www.bobvila.com/articles/cleaning-grout/) or maybe we need to move away from tiles altogether.

I don’t actually have any floor tiles in my house anymore, our open plan kitchen and sitting room area has polished concrete instead. It’s easy to clean, never stains or changes colour. It looks incredible and shiny all the time and it’s unique as very few homes have it.

Maybe in years to come we’ll look back and laugh at why we ever though grout was such a good idea in the first place! Just some food for thought.

-Lorna