Stained or damaged grout can prematurely age the tiles in your home. It can make otherwise clean surfaces look dirty. Worst case scenario is the grout actually becomes damaged, allowing moisture to seep beneath and loosen the tiles. The following tips can help you maintain clean and attractive grout on your tiled surfaces.
Tip #1: Use a Sealer
Grout is naturally porous, which means moisture can seep in and lead to mildew, or spills can quickly become stains. One way to avoid this is to seal your grout. The most durable sealers are mixed in with the grout when it is still wet at the time of installation, so make sure your installer uses a sealer additive in all of their grout work. There are also paint-on sealers you can apply later. If you notice water soaking into, rather than beading up on, your grout, it's time to reseal.
Tip #2: Opt for Darker Shades
Lighter grout is going to be more prone to showing dirt and stains than darker grout lines. Opting for gray, brown or black grout is one way to virtually eliminate the concerns about mildew stains in moist environments, such as a bathroom or near the kitchen sink. For flooring, even a light gray or beige will show less grime from foot traffic compared to white and cream grout lines.
Tip #3: Deep Clean Occasionally
The simplest way to ensure your grout is clean is to use a toothbrush and tile cleaner, but this can be tedious. Fortunately, there is no need to make this a weekly chore if you seal your grout and at least wipe down the tiles regularly. Instead, deep clean once or twice a year as part of your usual spring or fall cleaning routine. Scrub down the grout with the brush and take the opportunity to look for any damage, such as stains or cracks.
Tip #4: Repair to Avoid Replacement
Stained and dirty grout can be repaired. Once clean, simply paint each grout line with a paint specifically formulated for use on grout. You can opt for either a darker or lighter color, depending on your preferences. If the grout is beginning to crack, it is possible to apply a thin layer of a grout repair caulk over the damage. This is simpler than removing the old grout and replacing it with new. You may not be able to get an exact color match, so caulking may need to be combined with painting so the patch work doesn't show.
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