How To Regrout Shower Tile Without Removing Old Grout: 8 Steps

Grout in high water and moisture areas such as the shower can wear away and become unsightly. Thankfully, regrouting will fix this issue.

Regrouting shower tiles without removing all of the old grout to change the color, repairing uneven grout lines, or using a different grouting material is something you can effectively do on your own.

How To Regrout Shower Tile Without Removing The Old Grout

Taking all of the grout out could damage the tile. With a few grout tools and supplies, you can easily do this on your own.

If you want to regrout over old grout because there is not enough grout between tiles, touch up the grout in the shower, or you want to change the color or type, complete the following steps.

What You’ll Need

  • Grout saw or grout removal tool (Alternative: Carbide-tipped scrapers or hammer and flathead screwdriver) 
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Tile cleaner
  • Epoxy grout (or another grout type of your choice)
  • Electric mortar mixer
  • Grout float or grout bag with a small grout tool kit
  • Sponge
  • Cloths or microfiber towels
  • Eye protection
  • Nickel coin
  • Mask
  • Tarp or plastic sheeting
  • Dustpan with brush or handheld vacuum
  • Sealant (if using non-epoxy grout)

1. Gather The Right Materials

When regrouting shower tiles, it is essential to have the right kind of grout and tools for application.

The following items are highly recommended for this project:

Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is the best option for use in the shower area. It is strong, does not easily absorb water, and bonds well to other materials, such as old grout. 

Epoxy grout comes in a variety of finishes and colors, offering options for your regrouting project. You can use other types of grout if so desired, but epoxy is recommended for a shower project.

Grout Float or Bag

Choose one or both to apply the grout to the shower tiles. 

A grout float is a handled tool with a flat bottom that can scoop up and spread the grout. 

Epoxy grout is stickier than other types so opt for a grout float that has beveled edges or a non-stick rubber surface. 

Rubber surfaces are best for grouting natural stone to prevent scratching. 

Alternatively, a grout bag is like a pastry frosting bag with a tip for squeezing out grout. This tool works well with porous or uneven tiles in conjunction with grout application tools. 

With a grout bag, you will need to use a steady hand to carefully apply the grout and use small plastic grout application tools to remove excess material. 

You may wish to use both a grout float and a bag. The bag allows you to apply a little compound at a time, focusing on corners and small spots, while the grout float can smooth and even out the grout.

2. Prepare The Work Space

It is important to prepare the workspace for a successful DIY project.

Clean The Tiles

The new grout will need to adhere to clean old grout. 

To remove bacteria, mold, mildew, and grime before working, clean the tiles

You can use a tile cleaner or spray the tiles and grout with equal parts of vinegar and dish detergent. Scrub in a circular motion, rinse with warm water, and allow them to dry.

Protect Surfaces

Lay down tarps or dust cloths to avoid getting debris and grout in unintended areas. This will save you time and energy in the long run.

Warm The Room To Ideal Temperature

Epoxy grout works best in a warm room on warm tiles during the entire process. If it is too cold in the room, it will be thicker and more difficult to work with, resulting in an uneven or difficult application. 

Therefore, close the windows and door and use a space heater or turn up the heat to warm the room to approximately 73°F, which is slightly above room temperature

Epoxy materials pour best at room temperature, and if you greatly exceed this, it results in a chemical reaction that heats the material, thus affecting optimal adhesion and application as well.  

3. Create Depth For The Grout Lines

If your old grout has enough space in the grooves, you can easily grout on top of the grout

Essentially, this means that the old grout is worn away by at least two millimeters and there is a dip or divet in the grout lines that will allow new grout to settle and cure. 

If the old grout is not worn away, you should remove some of the old grout before regrouting on top of it, to create a channel for the new compound.

Two millimeters is the same thickness of a nickel, but go deeper than that if you want.

To do this, you will need to use a grout removal tool – or one of the alternatives listed above. 

Wear a mask and eye protection for this step. 

Carefully use the grout removal tool to remove the upper layer of old grout, using care to avoid damage to the surrounding tiles. 

Brush or vacuum up the dust and debris, running along the grout lines to pick up all loose material. 

Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth to pick up any left behind dust. Allow the area to dry before proceeding to the next step.  

4. Apply The New Grout

Follow the instructions for mixing and using your grout according to the label. Epoxy grout is thick and will mix more evenly if you use an electric mortar mixer to blend it smoothly. 

Use the grout float, and other grouting tools as needed, to apply new grout to the channels. 

Pull diagonally back and forth across the lines as you apply it, pushing the grout into the crevices. Use the flat edge of the float to scrape across the surface to remove any excess. 

This video demonstrates how to hold and move a grout float:

5. Clean Excess Grout With A Sponge 

Generally, you have to remove excess grout from the surrounding tiles after about twenty minutes (read the grout label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions if this time differs). 

If excess grout sits on the tile for an extended period, it will become difficult to remove. Epoxy has a plastic-like sheen that will show if left on tiles as residue.

Use a clean and damp sponge to gently and diagonally wipe off excess grout. 

Do not push hard with the sponge and gouge out the grout that you just applied. Rinse the sponge out during this process as it becomes dirty.

6. Buff The Tiles

After sponging off excess grout from the tiles, you may notice a hazy look that has dried onto them. 

Use a damp microfiber towel to wipe and buff the tiles clean. If the towel becomes too dirty, use a new, clean one.

7. Evaluate Your Grout Work

Ideally, do this step as you work on applying and cleaning up the grout. You should check all of the grout lines to look for any old grout peeking through, uneven lines, or other flaws. 

Repeat steps four through six until the old grout is completely covered and all of your lines have a uniform appearance.

Refer to your product’s label for the drying time. Epoxy grout dries in about 24 hours. Do not expose the grout to water during this time.

8. Seal Non-Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is non-porous and does not need sealant. 

However, if you use a different grout, use a sealant that will work with your type. 

After sealing, use caulk in the corners and on the edges to keep excess moisture away. Allow it to dry according to product labeling.

Why Remove Old Grout?

Removing old ground completely is not necessary for regrouting. However, there are benefits to doing so.

Eliminate Odor

The odor from soap scum, mold, mildew, and other bacteria can settle into the grout and persist even after cleaning. Removing old grout will get rid of these offensive odors. 

If you replace it with epoxy grout, the likelihood of odors reduces greatly due to its non-porous properties.

Affordable Update

Sometimes, the old grout might be too damaged to cover without removing it. However, you don’t have to replace the tiles completely. 

Scrape away the old grout and fill the channel between the tiles with new grout to freshen it up and make your bathroom look new again.

This is an easy and effective way to update your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Easy To Repair

If the grout is cracked or missing, you should repair it to avoid damage to the wall behind it. This is easier to do before further damage occurs. 

Moisture could leak, creating more damage that could require the costly removal of tiles to make repairs.

In Summary

We hope this article has helped you learn how to freshen up old grout without fully removing it. 

Ideally, regrout shower tiles with epoxy grout by applying them in a channel that is at least two millimeters deep. 

Clean up the lines and allow the grout to fully dry before using the area.

By following these steps, you are well on your way to successfully completing this project on your own.

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