How to Regrout Kitchen Backsplash

Regrouting a kitchen backsplash is a straightforward DIY project that can completely refresh the look of your kitchen. With some preparation, the right materials, and attention to detail, you can achieve professional-looking results. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to regrout a kitchen backsplash.

Assessing Your Backsplash and Removing Old Grout

Before regrouting, take time to inspect your existing backsplash and grout. Check for any cracked or missing tiles that need replacing. Examine the grout lines – are they just dirty or is the grout actually crumbling and worn away? Pay attention to signs of moisture damage behind or around the tiles. Address any underlying issues before regrouting.

To remove old grout, you’ll need a grout saw or rotary tool with a grout removal blade. Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask. Work in small sections to avoid damaging tiles. Hold the tool at a 45° angle along the grout line and slowly grind away the old grout. Sweep or vacuum up debris as you go.

Use a grout brush or old toothbrush to scrub out remaining grout haze and debris from tile crevices. Avoid any cleaners with acid or bleach. Rinse the backsplash thoroughly with clean water once done. Inspect for remaining grout and remove it completely so the new grout can adhere properly.

Choosing New Grout

Selecting the right grout for your project is key for a successful, long-lasting regrouting job. Here are some tips:

  • Portland cement grout is ideal for kitchens. It stands up to moisture and stains better than other types. Choose sanded grout for joint widths larger than 1/8th inches or unsanded for smaller joints.
  • Epoxy grout is extremely durable and waterproof. It’s easier to keep clean but requires careful application and is hard to remove.
  • Colored grout can transform the look of your backsplash. Consider a darker shade for a bold accent or match your grout color to your tiles.
  • Check that your new grout is compatible with the type of tiles you have. Some tiles require special grout.
  • Buy a little extra grout than calculated since you’ll likely have some waste.

Preparing the Surface

Proper surface prep helps ensure the grout bonds securely within joints. Here’s how to prep for regrouting:

  • Lightly dampen the backsplash before regrouting. The tiles should be surface-damp without any standing water.
  • Apply grout release or sealer if recommended for your tiles. This helps prevent grout haze and residues.
  • Wider joints may need back-buttering. Spread a layer of grout along the bottom and sides of the joint so it fully contacts the tile edges.
  • Have sponges and buckets ready for cleaning as you go. Change rinse water frequently to avoid redistributing grout film.

Applying and Cleaning New Grout

Follow these steps for smooth, effortless grout application:

Step 1: Apply Grout

Use a rubber grout float or squeegee. Hold at a 45° angle, pushing grout diagonally across the joints to fill completely. Apply even pressure and keep float edge clean. Don’t spread too far ahead or grout may dry prematurely.

Step 2: Let grout firm up

Allow grout to set and firm up, usually 10-20 minutes. The timing depends on humidity, grout type, etc. Test a small area to judge readiness. Grout should feel firm but still be somewhat pliable.

Step 3: Clean Excess Grout

Wet a sponge and wring out thoroughly. Gently wipe diagonally across the tiles to loosen and remove excess grout without pulling it out of joints. Rinse sponge frequently.

Step 4: Final Cleaning

Use a minimally damp sponge in light, circular motions to clean grout haze and soften joints. Rinse tiles well with clean water and dry with a towel.

Inspect your regrouting and touch up any missed spots. Don’t wet the grout again once it has become quite firm. Allow the grout to fully cure for 24-48 hours before using your backsplash.

Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common regrouting problems and how to prevent them:

  • Grout cracking or crumbling – Indicates it wasn’t allowed to fully cure. Keep the area dry for at least 48 hours after regrouting.
  • Grout haze – Wipe a damp sponge over tiles in a circular motion to remove any residual film after grouting.
  • Uneven grout lines – Maintain consistent pressure and angle of grout float as you work for neat, uniform joints.
  • Grout falling out – Means it isn’t bonding well. Ensure joints are completely clear and tiles are prepped. Allow proper curing time.
  • Difficult Cleanup – Change rinse water frequently and rinse thoroughly. Avoid excess water on porous tiles.

Regrouting FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about regrouting kitchen backsplashes:

What’s the best grout color for a kitchen backsplash?

For most kitchens, a matching or slightly darker grout color looks best and provides contrast between the tiles. White grout gets dirty easily. Go with gray, tan, or coffee-colored grout for a classic look.

How long does regrouting a backsplash take?

Plan on regrouting taking 2 to 5 hours for a standard backsplash. Exact time depends on the tile size, layout, and total area. Allow additional time for drying and curing the grout.

Should I seal my grout after regrouting?

Sealing is recommended for epoxy and colored grout to protect from staining. Cement grouts are generally OK unsealed in a kitchen but sealing can facilitate easier cleaning. Apply grout sealer 1-2 weeks after regrouting.

Can I regrout just part of my backsplash?

It’s best to regrout the entire backsplash at once for cohesive, uniform appearance. But for small touch-ups or repairs, yes you can carefully regrout only specific areas as needed.

How soon can I use my kitchen after regrouting?

Avoid direct water contact or cleaning for at least 48 hours. Allow 3-7 days for grout to fully cure before heavy use or cleaning. Take extra care while new grout is setting.


Regrouting a failing or outdated backsplash brings a kitchen back to life with fresh new grout lines. With attention to surface prep, proper grout application, and careful cleanup, the project can be manageable as a DIY weekend job. The results are well worth the effort and will rejuvenate the heart of your home with an updated, quality appearance.