DIY: Tile “Regrout” Project

I recently finished a DIY project that took me a long time to complete (I started in September) but the actual out of pocket costs were very minimal and the end results are amazing!

Our duplex hasn’t been owner occupied in years and some things are not in the greatest shape.  The tile floor in the kitchen is a great example.  A couple of tiles were cracked and the grout was breaking down in places.  As this will eventually be a rental again someday we didn’t want to put a  lot of money into replacing the floor but I did want to make it look a little better. 

A couple of before photos

After perusing Pinterest (the place where I get a lot of crazy DIY ideas) I found a blog post about the great product called GroutRenew by Polyblend.  Instead of removing the grout from the entire floor or replacing it entirely, you basically “paint” the grout with this product.  Pretty crazy, right?!?

Polyblend GroutRenew comes in 48 colors but Home Depot only had about a dozen colors in stock.  I picked up a bottle of the Delorean Gray and brought it home to propose the idea to Mr. SFF.  He gave me the go ahead to do the project but with the understanding that he wouldn’t help much or at all.  I knew Mr. SFF’s schedule was jam packed every weekend in the fall and I would have a lot of free time on my hands so I decided to go for it.

Before diving in fully, I did a little test section under the shelf in the pantry and we both agreed it looks great so onward we went.

First up was replacing a couple of the cracked tiles.  Thankfully there was a small stack of extras left in the basement so there was no matching needed.  I then posted a wanted ad on our neighborhood forum and found someone with a partially used bag of grout.  I hated to go out and buy an entire bag for just a couple of tiles and since we were painting the grout anyways a perfect color match was not needed.  Money saved!

Getting ready to remove the cracked tile.
Getting ready to remove the cracked tile and deteriorated grout.

Mr. SFF helped with this part of the process; removing a couple of the cracked tiles, setting the new ones and regrouting them.  He also took out a couple of the bad sections of grout that had deteriorated over time.  Although I am fairly handy with household DIY stuff I was less comfortable with these things and thankful he helped out.

With the new tiles in place I was ready to go.  The first step is cleaning the grout.  They recommend using Aquamix AquaKeel or TilelAb Grout & Tile Cleaner but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on cleaner and after doing some reading I settled on using one of the best household cleaners out there – vinegar.  Down on my hands and knees, I scrubbed the grout with a toothbrush (I went through a couple of old toothbrushes on the project).  My friends would ask what I was doing for the weekend and I would respond “scrubbing the grout”.  Yup, I lead an exciting life!

As I had to wait until the now wet grout was dry this meant the whole project took even longer than I had hoped. One night I might clean and then paint the next day.  Or in the morning I would clean and then in the afternoon when I was confident it was dry, I would do some painting.  As this whole process took so long I only did small areas at a time.  Some areas actually got scrubbed clean more than once because I wouldn’t get the painting part right away so I had to clean again a few days later.

The first section of the floor completed
The first section of the floor completed

The instructions recommended using a toothbrush to apply the product but I found that with a small artist paintbrush I had already on hand was actually much more accurate.  I found the easiest way to do the actual painting was by laying on a blanket right on the floor.  I set up my laptop nearby with movies and got to work.  One of the time consuming parts of this step was making sure that my painting was clean and not on the tiles themselves.  The Regrout dries pretty fast, about 30-60 minutes, so you either have to be super accurate or you are constantly using a small square of paper towel to wipe the edges.  I painted one line at a time but found that the more I painted, the better and more accurate I got so things moved a little faster towards the end.

Almost done, the difference is amazing!
Almost done, the difference is amazing!

The GroutRenew is ready for light traffic in 2-4 hours, normal traffic in 24 hours and can be exposed to water in 72 hours.  As I was only doing small sections at a time this made things pretty easy to work around.

Now I knew going into this project that this would be time consuming but I might have underestimated exactly how much time it would take. I sort of wish I had kept track but then again I am sort of glad I didn’t as I really don’t want to know what my hourly rate would have been.

Overall I was very happy with the results but I would not recommend unless you are committed to spending hours on the floor.  I noticed in the apartment next door that there are few really badly cracked tiles but I am certainly not willing to take on a project of this magnitude in a place that I am currently not living in.  

Total Cost: $13.34 + hours of time

2016-03-20 10.36.11

Have you ever had a DIY take much longer than anticipated and was it worth it?

2 thoughts on “DIY: Tile “Regrout” Project

  1. I don’t know why, but I can only type in caps in here

    We try to be a DIY household and I am in the process of writing a post on how much we have saved by taking one some projects ourselves.

    the first time I tiled a room it took me about four months to finish the entire process (only 3.5 months longer than I originally thought)

    1. Oh goodness! I find that most DIY projects take longer than estimated but 4 months is certainly a really long time. i hope that you are really happy with the results.

      I will have my husband work on the caps locks problem. Thanks for commenting.

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