How to Regrout Backsplash Tile

Re-grouting a backsplash is a straightforward DIY project that can give your kitchen a fresh, updated look. With some planning, the right materials, and a little elbow grease, you can transform your existing backsplash by replacing old, stained, or cracked grout.

Why Regrout a Backsplash?

Over time, the grout between backsplash tiles can become discolored, crack, or fall out completely due to frequent exposure to moisture, grease, and daily wear and tear. Regrouting will provide a like-new appearance and protect the underlying surface. Here are some signs it’s time to regrout your backsplash:

  • Cracks, chips, pits, or missing grout
  • Discoloration or staining of grout
  • Areas where grout has worn away, leaving gaps between tiles
  • Grout that feels gritty or powdery
  • Loose tiles that wiggle or move
  • Damage from water leaks behind the tiles

Replacing failing grout restores the clean aesthetic of your backsplash while also preventing damage, mold growth, and other problems caused by water getting behind the tiles.

Before You Begin Regrouting

While regrouting itself is fairly straightforward, careful planning and preparation are key to achieving the best results.

Assess the Scope of Work

Examine the entire backsplash and identify all areas where regrouting is needed, making note of any tiles that may need replacing. Addressing underlying problems first, like leaks or damaged tiles, ensures your new grout will last.

Purchase Supplies

You’ll need new grout, grout sealant, grout removal tools, and any replacement tiles. Choose unsanded caulk-style grout for backsplashes with narrow grout lines under 1/8 inch. For wider joints, use sanded grout. Get a grout color to match or complement your tiles.

Clear the Area

Remove everything from the counters and protect the countertop and appliances with drop cloths. Have any cleaning or sealing supplies on hand.

Allow Time to Dry

Grout needs 24-48 hours to fully cure, so only regrout sections you can let dry undisturbed overnight. Avoid regrouting the entire backsplash in one day.

Step-by-Step Process for Regrouting

Follow these key steps to achieve professional-looking results regrouting your backsplash.

1. Remove Existing Grout

Use a carbide-tipped grout saw, utility knife, or oscillating multi-tool to scrape out all loose, cracked, or discolored grout. Be careful not to scratch tiles. Thorough grout removal lets new grout adhere properly.

2. Clean and Dry the Area

Sweep away all grout debris, then wash tiles with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe thoroughly until dry. Let the backsplash dry completely for at least 1 hour before regrouting. Lingering moisture weakens grout adhesion.

3. Apply Grout Release/Sealer (Optional)

Applying a thin coat of grout release or sealer on tile edges protects porous or delicate surfaces from staining during regrouting.

4. Mix and Apply New Grout

Prepare grout per package directions. Apply using a rubber grout float or squeegee, pressing firmly into joints. Completely fill gaps and remove excess grout from tile surfaces as you work.

5. Clean Excess Grout Off Tile Faces

As grout becomes firm, use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to gently wipe a thin haze of residue off tile surfaces, rinsing the sponge frequently. CAUTION: Aggressive cleaning can pull grout back out of joints – wipe gently.

6. Allow Grout to Dry

Let freshly grouted areas dry undisturbed for 24-48 hours. Dampness during this time causes weak spots, cracks, and poor bond. Avoid direct sunlight exposure as it can dry grout too quickly.

7. Seal Grout

Once fully dry, apply grout sealer according to package directions to protect against stains and water damage. Re-seal grout yearly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about regrouting your backsplash tile? These answers cover some commonly asked questions.

Can I regrout only part of my backsplash?

Yes, you don’t have to regrout the entire backsplash at once. Work in sections, allowing each area to dry completely before grouting adjacent sections.

What color grout should I use?

Choose a grout color that matches or complements your tiles. Using a contrasting grout color can create a decorative effect.

How do I match existing grout color?

Bring a tile or grout sample to the store to test match colors. Custom grout mixes can also replicate any color.

What tools do I need for regrouting?

At minimum, you’ll need grout removal tools like a carbide grout saw, mixing bucket, grout float, sponges, grout sealer, and cleaning supplies.

How long does regrouting take?

Plan on regrouting taking 2-3 times longer than original installation. Working in small sections, a full backsplash may take 2-3 days to allow for drying time.

Should I seal my grout after regrouting?

Yes, sealing is highly recommended to protect porous new grout from stains and moisture damage. Re-seal every 12-18 months.

Can I use caulk instead of grout on my backsplash?

Caulk is not recommended – it can shrink and crack over time. Grout provides a much more durable finish.

Tips for Achieving Professional Results

Follow these expert tips and tricks for getting a flawless, long-lasting finish when DIY regrouting:

  • When mixing grout, start with less water for a firmer consistency – you can always thin it slightly.
  • Spread grout diagonally across the joints for the best filling action.
  • To avoid pulling grout from joints, wipe tiles gently in circular motions during clean-up.
  • Seal grout as soon as drying is complete for maximum stain resistance.
  • If doing the entire backsplash, work in stages – avoid grouting and drying large areas all at once.
  • Be patient during drying time and avoid walking heavily near the backsplash.
  • Use caulk, not grout, where tile meets the countertop or other materials.
  • Grout small areas like around faucet hardware by hand packing it firmly into gaps with a fingertip.

Regrouting Tile Backsplash Steps

Follow this handy step-by-step guide for successfully regrouting a tile backsplash:

Step 1: Remove Old Grout

Use a grout saw, utility knife, oscillating tool, or grout rake to scrape out failing grout. Be sure to remove it completely from all joints so new grout adheres properly.

Step 2: Thoroughly Clean Tiles

Wash tiles with an all-purpose cleaner or vinegar solution to remove grease and grout residue. Rinse and wipe tiles completely dry.

Step 3: Apply Grout Release (Optional)

Brush on a thin layer of grout release or sealer if needed to prevent staining of porous tiles during regrouting.

Step 4: Mix and Apply New Grout

Mix grout per package instructions. Use a rubber grout float or squeegee to force grout firmly into joints, filling gaps completely.

Step 5: Wipe Excess Grout Off Tile Faces

Wipe a thin film of grout residue off tiles with a damp sponge in a circular motion. Rinse sponge frequently.

Step 6: Allow Full Drying Time

Let grout dry undisturbed for 24-48 hours. Avoid walking near the backsplash during this time.

Step 7: Seal Grout

Once fully cured, apply grout sealer to protect against moisture and staining. Reapply yearly.


Regrouting a backsplash tile revitalizes its appearance and prevents further damage by re-filling worn grout lines with fresh grout. While it takes some physical effort, this is an easy DIY weekend project for most homeowners armed with the right materials and preparation. Following the detailed guidance above helps ensure successful results. Investing a little sweat equity into properly regrouting a backsplash pays dividends for years by restoring its like-new visual impact and protecting the integrity of the tile surface.