grout being spread across a floor with a grout float filling in the grout lines.

Grout

Originally contributed by • last updated 3/17/2021

Mapei Home
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Mapei Home

Tiling can be both a difficult and rewarding home improvement challenge. After all, a beautifully finished tile backsplash or bathtub surround can be the crowning achievement of any home renovation project. But getting every detail perfect, right down to the selection of the tile grout, can have major implications on the final outcome. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and do some prep work before you get started.

Definition

The term grout refers to an adhesive bonding material, typically made from a mixture of water, cement, sand, and other agents, and is used to fill tile joints (the gaps between groups of tiles). This bonding material is typically applied using a grout float, but a finger or special pen tool may be used in smaller applications. It is available from numerous manufacturers, with each product being slightly different in composition and make-up. It also comes in multiple varieties for different applications, with the main differences in texture being sanded (gritty) and unsanded (smooth). This wonderful material not only holds the tiles together, it also creates a structural bond that is often water resistant to help protect the walls from moisture damage.

What’s The Best Way To Clean Grout?

Tiles are a great way to add style and strength to any area that sees a lot of moisture and traffic. However, the porous nature of certain types of tile grout leaves most homeowners wondering how to clean it without harsh chemicals. Thankfully, there are a bunch of easy DIY fixes and some store bought solutions that offer “green” clean without breaking the bank:

  • With just a bit of elbow grease and some common household items, you’ll have your grout clean in no time. Just scrub some baking soda mixed with a bit of warm water into the joints and little spray it with white vinegar. Wait and scrub!
  • If you’ve still got stubborn stains in your grout, it may be time to look deeper into how to remove them. It may be necessary to remove and replace the adhesive bond and replace it with new material. A simple grout remover tool will allow you to remove it yourself. Then you can fill back in with fresh stuff. But you may want a professional for bigger projects.