fix grout job where unsanded grout-used with large grout lines [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-28-2015, 11:04 PM
I believe I will need to repair grout job done wrong. Please instruct. I had 2 very tiny baths recently tiled with 12x12'' rectified porcelain tiles in a rental property. I instructed the tiler to lay them close together w very small grout lines as they were rectified tiles. He agreed showed me how close he recommended and to use unsanded grout.
Tiler (who had done some jobs for me in the past) left a different person at my rental to do the job for him. The grout lines are much larger 1/3'' mostly but some variation larger. Otherwise the tile is laid flat and I saw that prep had been done properly. I was not around when tiling done.
Had I known I never would have given job to him. Could have done myself as this simple job is in my range but my time was short. I am not experienced with making repairs to jobs done wrong though.
I am aware that this is not the proper grout that should have been used for the spacing of the tiles. I am not pleased with the look either due to grout lines but is a great improvement over what was there before.
I need to fix the grouting issue in the rental as fear a shrinkage problem later. I am stuck fixing myself so need some instruction as to how far I will need to go to get by. It is a low end rental. If was my home I would pull the tile up and start over.
I want to fix as simply as possible.
1. The best way to go about this at this point is exactly how?
2. How much of the old grout must be removed before can replace with same color sanded grout? I need to know just how far I have to go to do a reasonable fix.
3. Any tips would be appreciated. But remember not expecting perfection at this point due both to situation and the type of property.
Perfection not possible w/o pulling up tile. Tiles been down a while and I did remove one tile to check mortar under and on back.There do not seem to be any hollow spots.
And yes I will never trust this tiler again as he left someone else to do what he has done appropriately in the past and he has not fixed the mess made himself.
He tiled 2 other units perfectly for me so I felt I could trust him.
So after this will be taking time to tile the kitchen in this unit myself to avoid another issue. More about that later. Thanks in advance!

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07-29-2015, 08:16 AM
Welcome, Mike. :)

I'm guessing this is a floor installation?

I would expect that unsanded grout to have started showing some cracking already with joints approaching 3/8ths" in width. Not a good situation.

You'll want to remove the existing grout to a depth of at least 2/3rds the depth of your tiles before re-grouting with a more appropriate product.

I think I'd recommend one of the newer single-component grouts that are generally rated for joint widths up to 1/2" and have excellent color consistency and stain resistance.

My opinion; worth price charged.

08-21-2015, 10:00 PM
Yeah a floor.As I first started removing some grout,I saw that due to the curvature on edges of tile grout had spread out over the edges some. Grout lines are actually narrower than I thought. Still not done correctly. The grout spread out due to the curving on the tile edge. So what would be the commendation here?

08-21-2015, 11:43 PM
If it's been more than just a few days since it was grouted, you'll need an abrasive tool of some type to remove the grout. There are a couple available that I recently started using, they both require power tools to use.

One is used in a reciprocating saw:


The other is used with a multi-tool, such as a Fein, but there are many other brands of the same tool:


Another one that would be much more work is made to attach to a Dremel tool, or something similar. I normally wouldn't recommend it on a larger job, but you said the bathrooms are small:


If you really want a workout, you could try this one. It's made for cutting cement board, but does work at removing grout fairly well. You just have to be careful not to scratch the tile, but that goes for all these tools.


All of these are available at Lowe's, and probably online.

Steve in Denver
08-22-2015, 09:53 PM
For what it's worth, my personal choice would be the multi-tool - I think it gives the most control. I'd be scared to put that first blade into my super sawz-all...In my hands it isn't a delicate instrument at all. :)