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Buying an older home is an adventure.
There always seems to be something to do. And, when you think you’re finished with one project, something else pops up. It’s kind of like the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” When you finish one project, it will make you realize you need to start on a new project.
Then another…and another.
Last week we replaced all the old caulk around our bathtub. It looked great…but, 10 times cleaner/newer than the old grout. So, we decided to paint the grout.
Surprisingly, the tiles themselves are in great shape. They may not be in “style” anymore, but we don’t have the budget right now to replace them. And, even if we did, I’m not sure I would replace them. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”…am I right?
What we do need to replace is the discolored, yellow grout between all those tiles.
I’ve read a ton of positive reviews from other DIYer’s who have painted their grout. I figured painting the grout would be worth it. And, if it doesn’t look good, we can always replace everything later on.
To Get Started, Here’s What You’ll Need:
Small toothbrush…one you won’t be using again. If you don’t have a toothbrush, a small paintbrush will work, too.
Polyblend Grout Renew. We went with the color Delorean Grey for our grout.
Paint scraper or razor blade (optional)
Before you start painting your grout, you’ll need to clean it. The paint won’t stick well to dirty and dusty grout.
A friend told me you could clean your tile and grout with a combination of vinegar and baking soda. It’s supposed to bring back the shine. I did this but honestly didn’t notice a big difference. Maybe it was user error. Maybe our tiles are just too far gone at this point.
If you don’t have vinegar and baking soda, hot water and soap will work fine.
You can use a sponge to clean everything. I like to use a large, hard-bristled brush to clean my grout. Once you’ve scrubbed everything, go back over the tiles with a dry towel. This will help soak up the excess water and speed up your drying time.
Once everything is dry, it’s time to start painting.
Make sure you shake the grout paint really well so that the color is evenly blended. The bottle doesn’t have a spout or brush tip on it. So, I poured a little into an old Tupperware container to make things easier.
Applying the Paint
Since this was my first time painting grout, I was a little nervous about how things would go. You may want to paint a small area of the grout first. That’s what I did. I figured if it looked horrible, it wouldn’t be that noticeable. Or, I could put something over it to hide my mess up.
To start, dip your toothbrush in the grout paint and lightly brush it on the grout. In the beginning, I was trying to be really careful about not getting too much on the tile. By the end, I was just slathering it on as best I could. But, try not to get too much on your tile.
The paint we used isn’t supposed to stain ceramic tile. Ours are in rough shape, and really old. I was nervous that they would just soak up the paint and be discolored forever. But, I haven’t seen any signs of staining on them yet. Just make sure you follow the directions on the bottle and wipe the paint off before it completely dries.
Polyblend suggests wiping off the excess paint while it is still wet. To do this, dampen your sponge and start wiping it off the tile. I used a scrubbing sponge, so I could scrub the stuck-on areas and then flip it, to wipe them off. If you don’t have a scrubbing sponge, a dry paper towel will work too.
I did a few things wrong the first time I did this step:
1. I didn’t let the paint dry long enough. There were several places along the grout where the color wiped off. I had to wait until the next day to touch up those spots.
2. I wet my sponge too much. You don’t want the sponge wet enough to leave water dripping down your tile. That’s exactly what I did. The water basically washed the paint away.
Ugh. You live, and you learn!
Luckily, I made all these mistakes on just a small portion of the wall. The next go ’round I made sure to paint on a larger area of the grout, and I waited at least 5 to 10 minutes before trying to wash it off. Some of the paint stuck to the tile, but it came off with a little scrubbing.
Once you’ve painted all your grout lines, let them dry for at least 3 days before doing any major scrubbing. You’ll also want to give them at least 24 hours of drying time before they get wet. So, keep this in mind if you’re painting the grout in your shower. You’ll have to wash up somewhere else while things dry.
I mentioned earlier how old our grout was. Well, I didn’t realize how uneven the lines were until after painting them. I used a small razor blade to scrape the paint off any areas that seemed a bit wider than the rest. I also made sure to scrape the discolored grout off too.
Overall, I’m really pleased with how this project turned out. The total cost for this project was less than $20, and it only took about 30 minutes to apply the paint to the grout. If you’re dealing with old, discolored grout, you should definitely give this easy DIY project a try!
Next up, countertops. Because, when you paint the old grout, you realize your countertops need to be updated too. (Just like the mouse and that cookie)
Check out the other bathroom renovations we’ve been working on:
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