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Old 06-30-2018, 11:12 AM   #1
KBoz
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Grout recommendations for shower walls - DIY and Newbie friendly

Hello, all! Long time lurker, first time poster.

We recently bought our first house and it is clear that the previous homeowners did not keep up on cleaning/sealing the grout in the shower. In addition, there are spots where the grout has cracked and small chunks are falling out or are missing. I have decided I'm fully capable and am planning to regrout the shower myself.

The tile is the old school 4"x4" white shiny ceramic in a grid pattern with 1/16" grout lines. The tiles go up the wall approx. 4ft around the perimeter of the bathroom and continue into the bath/shower combo to normal showering height (but not up to the ceiling). I would like to replace the grout only in the shower, since the rest of the grout is in fine condition.

This is the only shower in the house and gets moderately heavy use. I would like to use a white grout to "match" the rest of the grout as well as for the overall design I have in mind. As such, I am looking for something durable that stays white. Are there certain products that you all would recommend for my particular needs?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
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Old 06-30-2018, 11:32 AM   #2
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Hi Kristal, welcome. You can't just slap new grout over old grout and expect it to bond. You have to take out the old grout first. You need about 2/3's of the joint depth to get the new grout to bond and grab hold.

I would probably start by doing a real good cleaning and scrubbing with a strong tile cleaner. It's going to be a time consuming job to replace all the grout but it can be done. If you plan to remove all the grout, I would invest in a Dremmel with a 1/16 grout bit. You will need to be careful not to let it scratch the tiles.

You may have to tape plastic on the walls if you have open joints during the repair. That way you can use the shower.

Are there any loose tiles?
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Old 06-30-2018, 05:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Davy. I understand that I canít put new grout over the old and I have the Dremmel bit all ready to go. Iíve tried a few different cleaners, including one labeled ďheavy duty grout and tile cleanerĒ, although I cannot remember the brand.

I havenít noticed any loose tiles, thankfully. But I will keep an eye out. Are there certain grouts that you prefer to use in shower applications?
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Old 06-30-2018, 06:04 PM   #4
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Hi, Kristal.

There is no grout that stays white without routine cleaning. But wetting the grout with a high alkaline cleaner, allowing it to dwell for 5 minutes, then agitating the surface with a fine nylon brush, and wet vacuuming (or flooding the walls with water, for walls inside the shower) does a lot to clean dirty grout. Within the described technique, the biggest problems I see is not allowing dwell time for the cleaner to work and ending up with lack-luster results. I would advise trying this. But if youíve got a very old installation and the joints are yellowed, itís my experience that it doesnít wanna clean without more drastic measures. And the drastic measure I might try is not compatible with those soft, glossy tiles as it involves physical abrasion that would damage the tile finish.

As far as sealing: sealing of the grout does almost nothing on this front for your application. Sealing is meant as a 5 minute stain blocker, giving you time to clean a staining liquid on it before it dries. So, it doesnít do much for you in a shower.

As far as little bits of grout coming loose, that is an indication of movement. Hopefully, this is in areas outside the shower. Carefully inspect the tiles adjacent to the cracked/loose grout. Put a finger on the crack so that it touches two tiles at once and knock on each tile with the handle of a screwdriver (or wooden dowel or similar) to detect movement between the two. A picture or two of these areas might be helpful in us helping you.

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Old 06-30-2018, 06:37 PM   #5
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Kristal, if the cracks are in the corners then that is very common. You might want to use white silicone in the corner joints instead of grout.

Have you tried the Dremmel? How did that go?
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:00 PM   #6
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Iím not expecting some magical product that never needs cleaning, I was just hoping to find something that stays white with routine cleaning that can handle the soaps, etc used in a shower.

I tried knocking on the tile and I couldnít feel any movement between them. It also looks like grout was used in all the corners of the room, so Iím planning on correcting that as well. I havenít tried the Dremmel yet as I was hoping to get all my supplies together before starting to minimize the downtime.

Thanks so much for your help! Iím attaching some pics (hopefully) - maybe they can show you something that I canít explain very well. Note: I only have one pic of some missing grout. There are a few more spots but I couldnít get a picture without my big head blocking the light.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:38 PM   #7
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Flexcolor and Fusion will retain their color forever. They just need to be cleaned.
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for the recommendations! I've talked myself into and out of and back into most of the grouts I've been researching (SpectraLock, Fusion, FlexColor, Permacolor). I think I just need someone who has had good experiences to help narrow my choices.

Can you tell me anything about the longevity of either Fusion or FlexColor in showers? Is there one you would recommend over the over for ease of use for a DIYer?

Much thanks!
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Old 07-02-2018, 05:05 PM   #9
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They are equally excellent IMHO. Never need sealing
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:31 PM   #10
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You say you only want to replace the grout in the shower, that the rest of the bathroom grout looks fine. Your old grout is unsanded, the two grouts Paul mentioned are sanded. The texture won't match what you now have. Use unsanded grout if you want the new grout to match the old.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:33 AM   #11
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Ah, thanks Davy. I suspected what I had was unsanded based on the tile spacing, but it's nice to have it confirmed by someone who knows what they are talking about!
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:57 AM   #12
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Speaking for Flexcolor CQ - give us a try and follow the TDS. I'm completely confident you will have no problems with it. In the unlikely event that you do have a problem with the product, send me a message directly and I will make sure we get it straightened out for you.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:04 PM   #13
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Thanks for the link, Dan! My husband is really pushing to use a pre-mixed grout, since we don't have to worry about getting the correct consistency and I can go back over any low spots if need be. Flexcolor CQ seems to get mostly positive reviews and I'm not concerned with having to change my installation technique, since I don't have one!

One of my concerns regarding Flexcolor is what Davy mentioned - I'm not planning on redoing all of the grout in the bathroom (which is unsanded), just in the shower. I absolutely do not expect new grout to perfectly match grout installed over a decade ago, but will there be a noticeable texture difference? I don't mean on close inspection, but a very obvious line just outside my shower?
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:13 PM   #14
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I've used Flexcolor many times and I doubt you would have problems with it. The sand is finer than with some sanded grouts but it's still sanded and not as smooth as unsanded. If you don't mind the texture difference then go ahead and use it. Unsanded grout is much cheaper and if you can mix pancake batter then you can mix grout.
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Old 07-04-2018, 12:07 AM   #15
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Iíd use unsanded grout to match the existing texture. While pre-mixed grout has a place within the tiling trade, Davy is right...mixing is simple. Itís far, far harder and more time consuming to remove your old grout than it is to mix up batches of white, unsanded grout. Donít let mixing up grout fool you into thinking itís anything other than simple...especially white grout.

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