Changing the grout color on your existing backsplash can completely transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. With some effort and the right materials, you can change grout colors fairly easily and affordably. Here’s what you need to know about changing grout color on a backsplash.
Reasons to Change Grout Color
There are several reasons you may want to change the grout color on your existing backsplash tile:
- Update the look – Changing the grout color is an easy way to update the overall aesthetic of your backsplash and kitchen or bathroom. Lighter grout can make the space feel more open and airy, while darker grout adds contrast and drama.
- Freshen up old grout – Over time, grout can get dingy and stained. Changing the color is an easy way to make it look clean and new again.
- Match new décor – If you update other elements in the room like paint, countertops, or cabinetry, choosing a new grout color is an inexpensive way to make your backsplash coordinate.
- Fix discolored grout – In some cases, grout can turn yellow, orange, or brown over time due to moisture, sun exposure, or improper cleaning. Changing the color can disguise the discoloration.
- Personal preference – You may simply want a different look or color scheme than what was originally installed. Changing grout allows you to customize your space.
How to Change Grout Color
Changing grout color involves removing the old grout and replacing it with new grout in the desired shade. Here is the basic process:
Clean the Grout
Before applying new grout, it’s important to thoroughly clean the old grout to remove any dirt, grease, or grime that could prevent proper adhesion. Sweep away any loose debris, then use a combination of scrubbing with a grout brush and cleaning agents like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tile cleaner, or an oxygen bleach. Rinse well with clean water and allow the tiles to fully dry before moving on.
Remove the Old Grout
There are several options for removing existing grout:
- By hand – Use a carbide-tipped grout saw, rotary tool, or special grout removal tool to gently rake out the old grout. Take care not to scratch the tile surfaces. This works well for small jobs.
- With an oscillating multi-tool – These tools use a rapid oscillating motion to quickly scrape out grout without damaging tile. They come with different head attachments just for grout removal.
- Using a grout removal bit on a drill – Special grout removal drill bits can remove old grout quickly. Be cautious as they can damage tile if not used carefully.
- Chemical grout removers – Applying a solvent like B-I-N Grout Sealer loosens grout so it can be more easily scraped away by hand. Helpful for large jobs.
Remove all old grout between tiles until you expose about 2/3 of the depth of the grout line. Take care not to widen grout lines or crack tiles in the process. Thoroughly rinse the area with water once done.
Apply New Grout
Once the old grout is removed, it’s time to apply fresh grout in the new color. You have two main choices:
- Sanded grout – For grout lines wider than 1/8″, use a sanded floor and wall grout product that contains fine sand particles. The sand helps fill in joints and prevents cracking.
- Unsanded grout – For narrow grout lines 1/8″ or less, an unsanded grout is the best choice. The lack of sand allows it to easily flow into thin joints.
Make sure to choose a grout color specifically formulated for walls, not flooring. Apply the grout according to package directions using a rubber grout float or squeegee. Completely pack joints leaving no gaps or holes. Let the grout cure fully, usually 24-72 hours.
Seal and Finish
Once cured, use a damp sponge to gently buff away any grout haze left on the tile surface. Allow tiles to fully dry. Apply a penetrating grout sealer to protect the fresh grout from stains and discoloration. Caulk any joints between the backsplash and countertops or fixtures. Finally, enjoy your updated backsplash!
Tips for Changing Grout Color
Follow these tips for the best results when taking on a grout color change project:
- Choose a grout color that complements your tile color and design. Stick with a lighter shade for bold, dark tiles and vice versa.
- Test grout colors on a spare tile before doing the entire backsplash. Colors look different wet vs. dry.
- Take care in the grout removal process to avoid damaging tiles or gouging out too much depth.
- Make sure edges and corners are packed tightly with grout to prevent cracks or washing out.
- Apply grout sealer 1-2 times per year to protect grout from stains and enhance the color.
- Consider using epoxy grout for a super durable and stain-resistant option in kitchens. It’s more difficult to work with but worth the effort.
- Change grout color gradually over a couple days for very large jobs to prevent the grout from drying too quickly.
- Keep the room well-ventilated and fans running during application to allow proper curing of the grout.
Common Questions about Changing Grout Color
Many homeowners have additional questions when considering a grout color change. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Does New Grout Need to Match the Existing Thickness?
For the best appearance, the new grout should match the same depth or thickness of the old grout as closely as possible. Don’t try to significantly widen or narrow existing grout lines with the new application. Matching the thickness helps ensure grout lines look uniform and maintain the original joint design.
How Soon Can I Get the Area Wet After Grouting?
It’s best to wait at least 72 hours before getting the grouted area wet to allow proper curing time. Premature wetting can wash out grout, cause discoloration, and weaken joints. Avoid cleaning, showering, or exposing the area to moisture during the curing timeframe the manufacturer recommends.
Do I Need to Regrout the Entire Backsplash?
In most cases, you don’t necessarily need to regrout the entire backsplash when changing grout colors. It’s common to focus only on visible areas like the lower and middle sections of wall. Upper areas, edges, corners, and vertical grout lines can often stay if the old grout is still in good shape. Completely regrouting ensures uniformity but isn’t always mandatory.
Can I Use Grout Colorant Instead?
Grout colorant products provide an alternate, less labor-intensive way to change grout color. These penetrate into existing grout and stain it a new shade. Colorant doesn’t last as long as new grout and won’t fix damaged or missing grout. But for a quick DIY refresh, it can be a good temporary solution. Always test colorant in an inconspicuous spot first.
How Do I Know if I Have Sanded or Unsanded Grout?
You can tell sanded from unsanded grout by looking closely at the texture. Sanded grout has visible fine sand particles in it, giving it a slightly gritty and uneven texture. Unsanded grout is smooth without any abrasive sand. If your existing grout has a rough texture, chances are it is sanded. When in doubt, sanded grout is the safer choice for any application.
Hiring a Professional vs. DIY
Changing grout color is certainly a DIY-friendly project for many homeowners. But it does involve some challenging manual labor. For massive backsplash projects, intricate tile designs, or if you simply don’t want the hassle, consider hiring a professional installer.
Benefits of Hiring a Pro:
- No manual removal work required
- Significantly faster grout removal techniques
- Ability to fully re-grout all joints for most uniform finish
- Perfect grout lines and corners using professional tools
- Expertise with different grout types and protocols
- Access to professional-grade epoxy or urethane grout
- Tile repair or replacement if any damage during regrouting
- Potential warranty on completed work
Benefits of DIY:
- Much lower cost than hiring a contractor
- Möglichkeit, im eigenen Tempo zu arbeiten
- Wählen Sie Ihre eigene Farbe, Marke und Textur des Fugenmörtels
- Entscheiden Sie selbst, wie viele Fliesenfugen abgefräst werden müssen
- Vermeiden Sie die Terminkoordinierung und Anwesenheit während der Arbeiten
- Projekt kann über mehrere Tage andauern
Whether you take a DIY or pro approach, changing the grout color on your backsplash is a relatively straightforward project that can give your space a fresh new look. With some time and care, you can successfully change existing grout to any new color you desire. Just be sure to use the proper materials and techniques for the job.
Frequently Asked Questions about Changing Grout Color on Backsplash
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about changing grout color on a backsplash:
Can I change the grout color on my ceramic tile backsplash?
Yes, the grout color on any type of backsplash, including ceramic, porcelain, glass, stone, or other types of tile can be changed. Just follow the proper grout removal and application techniques.
What color grout is best for a backsplash?
Lighter grout colors like white, bone, almond, and light gray work well for most backsplashes as they don’t overpower the tile itself. Bright white provides the most clean, sanitary look. Warm grays or browns can offer a nice contrast on plain white tile. Go with black, charcoal, or dark gray for dramatic effect.
Is it better to use sanded or unsanded grout on a backsplash?
For most standard backsplashes, unsanded grout is the preferred choice as joints are often quite narrow. Use sanded for wider grout lines up to 1/8 inch. Make sure to use grout formulated for walls, not floors.
Can I change the grout without removing the tiles?
In most cases, yes. As long as the tiles are firmly adhered in place, the grout color can be changed by scraping out the old grout and applying new without disturbing the tiles. Removing tiles definitely makes regrouting easier but is often not mandatory.
Should I use an epoxy grout on my kitchen backsplash?
Epoxy grout provides an incredibly hard, durable finish resistant to water, stains, and microbes. The challenge is that is can be more difficult for DIYers to install correctly. Often best left to pros for kitchen backsplash projects where maximum performance is needed.
Can I just paint my existing grout a new color?
Grout paints and colorants exist that apply a new color right over top of old grout. This offers only a temporary fix though as paint can chip, wear away, and rub off over time. For a permanent color change, always replace old grout instead of just painting over it.
How long does changing grout color take?
For a standard 8 foot x 4 foot backsplash, expect the DIY grout color change process to take 2-3 hours for removal, 1-2 hours for regrouting, and 24-72 hours for proper curing time before finishing. Hiring a pro can cut the time in half.
Should I seal my grout after changing the color?
Yes, be sure to apply a penetrating grout sealer to the fresh grout once fully cured. This adds protection against moisture and staining and will lock in the new color. Reapply yearly. Use a tile and stone sealer on the tiles themselves if needed.
Changing grout color on your backsplash can make a dramatic difference in the look and feel of the space. With some careful prep work and patience during application and curing, selecting a new grout color is an easy and affordable way to give your backsplash and kitchen a brand new look.
Changing the grout color on a backsplash can completely transform the appearance of a kitchen or bathroom. With some basic DIY skills and the right materials, the process of scraping out old discolored grout and replacing it with fresh, clean-looking grout is definitely feasible for many homeowners.
Pay close attention to properly cleaning and prepping the backsplash first, meticulously removing all of the old grout, and taking care to tightly pack joints with the new grout. Allow for plenty of drying and curing time for your fresh grout application. Sealing and protecting the finished product ensures your new grout color will last and look great for years to come.
Or, if tackling the physical work of regrouting seems too daunting, hiring a backsplash contractor to professionally refresh your grout color is money well spent. In just a day or two, they can equip your backsplash with clean, uniform grout lines in any vibrant new shade you desire.
With a little time and effort, changing grout color is an inexpensive way to make a dated, damaged backsplash look brand new again. The simple act of swapping in fresh grout can entirely change the look of a kitchen or bathroom.