Things To Know About Tile and Grout

With the holidays now behind us, many people have found themselves returned to our new normal of social-distancing, masking, and spending more than the usual amount of time at home—whether working, studying, or relaxing. Bathrooms have gotten more than the usual amount of use during COVID-19, and during the holidays, and with all the extra time at home, you might have had more than the usual amount of time to check in on the state of your bathroom.

If you don’t like the color, layout, or design, you’ve definitely had time to notice that by now. And if there is any damage to your fixtures—like chips, cracks, or rust in your tile, tub, or sink—you’ve certainly taken that in. One common problem you might have newly observed. If you’re wondering how to fix cracked grout in shower areas and other tiled spots in your bathroom, you aren’t alone—this can be the result of a few common problems.

How should you address the problem? Why is it happening in the first place? How can you clean those areas, and what should you do if your tile looks less than sparkling and new? This article is here to break down tile and grout problems and to let you know how The Tub Pros can help! 

 What exactly is grout?

Grout is a mix of materials—like cement, sand, lime, or other compounds—that is used to fill the gaps between tiles or stones when they’re laid to form a wall, floor, or other area. Grout serves an important purpose: it stops any debris or water from getting under your tile, strengthens the surface, and makes it look great, too.

The type of grout used might vary depending on what kind of stone or tile your surface is made of. Large gaps between surfaces might call for grout with sand mixed into it. Unsanded grout is used on surfaces with smaller gaps, and is sealed to protect it. Epoxy grout is harder to apply and more expensive, but is more resistant to water and bacteria. No matter the kind of grout or its color, it’s an important part of any tile or stone installation.

Why is my grout cracking?

When the dry materials that make up grout (like cement) are mixed with water or another material called a polymer additive, those proportions are very important. Too much liquid can weaken the grout—when it evaporates, it leaves small holes that crack easily. If too little adhesive is used when the tiles themselves are installed, that can also result in cracks.

Another factor? Age. Over time, houses settle, or shift a very small amount. If you live in an older house with a bathroom that hasn’t been updated or repaired for a long time, the slight shifting of the house might be responsible for those cracks.

Grout 101: All You Need To Know

Wondering how to fix cracked tile in shower floor or wall areas? The good news is that this problem doesn’t call for a full bathtub renovation or shower overhaul—the grout can be repaired without taking out the tile. A confident and experienced DIY-er can scrape out the old grout with special tools, vacuum up the dust, and apply caulk or new grout in the gaps between tiles.

But if you live in the Great Memphis Tennessee area and that sounds like a bit too much work and time on your part, the professionals at The Tub Pro’s just might be right for you—experience with mixing grout in the right amounts is essential to having the new grout hold up well over time.

What if my grout is stained?

Since grout is porous, or full of tiny holes, it often stains while the tile around it remains clean-looking and easy to maintain. There are a few approaches you can take to get it looking clean again. Water and a stiff-bristled brush can take care of most easy stains, and spraying on a mix of water and vinegar and letting it set for an hour or more can help if the stains are more difficult.

If that’s not helping, adding some baking soda and spraying it with vinegar might take care of the stain. Hydrogen peroxide, an oxygen bleach like Oxi-Clean, or a product sold specifically to clean grout might be the next approaches. If all else fails, try out chlorine bleach—just make sure that you don’t use any other products at the same time, keep your space well-ventilated, and use it sparingly.

My grout still looks old—or the surrounding tile is a dated color. What can I do?

If you have old grout in a dated peach, pink, or avocado bathroom, you might be considering whether a grout brush can help at all and may be considering whether you need bathroom remodel ideas more than cleaning suggestions. The great news for many homeowners is that a bathroom doesn’t need a full renovation to go from looking worn and outdated to clean and modern—reglazing, or refinishing, can update the color and make the surfaces look like new.

When tile is reglazed, the high-gloss surface is gently sanded down, and a new, high-gloss coating is applied to the tiles. This new coating is applied over the grout—so if impossibly stained grout is an eyesore in your bathroom, it will no longer show. You’re left with a bathroom that looks and feels like new.  

Where can I find tile refinishing and bathtub reglazing near me?

When it comes to bathtub refinishing, Memphis residents and those who live in the Greater Mid-South region know that they can trust The Tub Pros. Our factory-certified technicians know the best and safest ways to ventilate your home to keep your family safe during the process, and use the most environmentally safe products in the industry. Our written warranty can bring you peace of mind—we’ll get the job done right. Remember, bathroom and kitchen updates and upgrades give the most return on your dollar spent when you are selling your home. 

Ready to get started? Give us a call at (901) 871-8827 for a free quote, or use our online form. We’re here to help get your home looking and functioning great, and to help you keep your family safe and comfortable during these changing times.

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