Regrouting a backsplash is an important home improvement project that helps refresh the look of your kitchen. Over time, grout can become stained, cracked, or just generally worn out. Replacing old, damaged grout with new grout can make a huge visual difference and help protect your backsplash tiles from damage.
Regrouting a backsplash is a fairly straightforward DIY project as long as you have the right materials and take the proper steps. Here is a complete guide on how to regrout a kitchen backsplash.
What You Need to Regrout a Backsplash
Before starting your regrouting project, make sure you have gathered all the necessary supplies:
- Grout removal tool – A grout saw, rotary tool, or grout rake to scrape out the old grout.
- Grout – Make sure to get grout that matches the existing color unless you want to change it. Unsanded grout is best for narrow grout lines.
- Grout float – For smoothing and pressing the grout into the joints.
- Grout haze remover – For cleaning off residue.
- Painter’s tape – To protect surfaces not being regrouted.
- Sponges – For wiping away excess grout.
- Bucket of water – For cleaning sponges and tiles.
- Old rags – For wiping down tiles.
- Knee pads – To protect your knees while regrouting.
Step 1: Remove the Old Grout
Start by using your grout removal tool to rake out the old, damaged grout. Work diagonally across the grout lines to scrape out as much of the grout as possible. Take care not to scratch or chip the tiles.
Make sure to remove all old grout, dirt, and debris from the grout lines so the new grout can adhere properly. A grout brush or toothbrush can help remove particles from corners and crevices.
Step 2: Apply Painter’s Tape
Use painter’s tape to cover the walls, countertops, or any surfaces that you don’t want to get grout on. The tape helps protect these areas and makes clean-up much easier.
Press the tape firmly onto the edges of the tiles to seal the area. Completely cover any surfaces adjacent to the backsplash.
Step 3: Mix the Grout
Prepare the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you mix grout powder with water in a bucket until a thick, smooth paste forms. The consistency should be like peanut butter.
Only mix up as much grout as you can use in 30-45 minutes because it will start to harden and become unusable. Have all your tools and supplies ready before mixing.
Step 4: Apply the New Grout
Using your grout float, apply the grout diagonally across the joints. Push the grout firmly into the crevices, holding the float at a 30-60° angle. Ensure all joints are completely packed with no gaps or holes.
Add more grout and repeat this packing process until the entire backsplash is grouted. The grout will be thickly piled on top of the tiles.
Step 5: Wipe Away Excess Grout
Once all joints are filled, let the grout firm up slightly for 5-10 minutes. Then take a damp sponge and wipe diagonally across the tiles to remove the excess grout.
Rinse out the sponge frequently in the bucket of water. Wipe gently to avoid pulling grout from the joints. Continue wiping until all remnants of grout are gone from the surface of the tiles.
Step 6: Smooth and Shape the Grout Lines
After wiping the tiles clean, go back over the joints with the corner of your grout float to shape and smooth them. Remove any high spots and make sure grout is evenly filled in all joints.
Pay close attention to corners and edges where grout can get missed. Reapply grout if needed to fill any thin spots.
Step 7: Remove Painter’s Tape
Carefully remove the painter’s tape before the grout dries. Pulling off the tape later could damage the grout. Go slowly and make sure no grout gets pulled up with the tape.
Use a damp sponge or rag to clean up any grout that got underneath the tape on walls or countertops. Scrub gently to avoid damaging the surfaces.
Step 8: Clean and Polish
Once the grout has dried for about 30 minutes, take a slightly damp rag and gently buff the tiles to remove any remaining haze. Avoid rubbing too hard or you could pull grout from the joints.
For stubborn haze, use a grout haze remover product. Always refer to the manufacturer’s directions and test in an inconspicuous spot first.
After all residue has been cleaned, give the tiles a final polish with a dry cloth. Your freshly regrouted backsplash will look brand new!
FAQs About Regrouting a Backsplash
How long does regrouting a backsplash take?
Plan on regrouting taking 2-5 hours depending on the size of your backsplash. Removing old grout is the most time-consuming step. The rest goes quicker with practice.
Can I use different colored grout?
Yes, you can change the grout color if desired. Be sure to choose a color that complements your tile. Apply grout on a test area first to ensure you like the look.
What’s the best grout to use?
For backsplashes, unsanded grout is best for joints 1/8 inch or less. It creates smooth, even lines. Sanded grout works for wider joints. Make sure it’s rated for wall use.
How soon can I get the backsplash wet?
Avoid getting the regrouted area wet for at least 72 hours to allow proper curing time. After that, you can resume normal cleaning and use.
How do I apply caulk between the counter and backsplash?
After regrouting, seal the joint between the backsplash and countertop with a flexible silicone caulk. Smooth with a fingertip moistened with rubbing alcohol.
Regrouting a backsplash is a satisfying DIY project that can give your kitchen a fresh new look. Just make sure to remove all old grout, apply new grout correctly, and thoroughly clean the tiles afterwards.
With the right materials and proper technique, you can achieve beautiful results. Just take your time and refer back to these steps if you ever need a regrouting refresher! Your kitchen will look like new when you’re done.