How To Remove Grout From Tile. What professionals say

If you need to remove grout, a common concern you might have is that you’ll damage your tiles in the process. There are various methods and tools to safely and effectively remove grout. 

Here’s how to remove grout from tile in 10 easy ways: 

  1. Use a utility knife. 
  2. Use a hammer and screwdriver. 
  3. Use a nail and wood dowel.
  4. Use a grout scraper.
  5. Use a reciprocating saw. 
  6. Use a Rotozip tool. 
  7. Use a Dremel rotary tool. 
  8. Use a wooden paint stick and nylon scouring pad.
  9. Use an angle grinder.
  10. Use warm water to remove grout stains from fresh tiles.

Read the rest of this article to learn more about the above methods to effectively and safely remove grout from tiles. 

Method 1: Use a Utility Knife 

The traditional way of removing grout from between tiles is to use a regular utility knife. However, this is only suitable for grout that’s crumbly, as The Journal of Light Construction reports. If the grout lines are wider than ¼ inch (0.6 cm), a utility knife won’t work effectively, in which case you should use one of the other grout-removal methods on this list. 

Method 2: Use a Hammer and Screwdriver 

When using a hammer and screwdriver to remove grout, make sure you use a flat screwdriver, as this will be easier and more effective. 

This method can be a bit time-consuming as it’s essential to take your time so that you don’t chip or crack a tile. 

To make it more effective, soften the grout before using a hammer and screwdriver so that it’ll be easier to remove. You can do this with a heat gun. The gun should reach 300° F (148° C) before use, and this should soften the grout effectively. 

Avoid using vinegar to soften grout as it can discolor or damage your tiles. 

Method 3: Use a Nail and Wood Dowel 

You can easily make your own DIY grout-removal tool by attaching a two-inch (5 cm) finishing nail to a short wood dowel. You’ll have to make a hole an inch (2.54 cm) from the end of the dowel before hammering the nail through the hole, as This Old House reports. 

When removing grout, hold the dowel at an angle so you can insert the nail into a spot between the tiles. Make use of quick, downward strokes to remove the old grout. This method will probably work best if the grout is already a bit damaged, as you’ll be able to insert the nail easily. 

Method 4: Use a Grout Scraper 

A grout scraper is a tool that’s specifically designed to remove old grout from between tiles. It has a triangular tip so that it can be used in tight spaces. 

When using it, make sure you apply firm pressure and gently pull the tool along the grout line as you work. 

Method 5: Use a Reciprocating Saw 

A reciprocating saw works well to remove old grout from tiles. You’ll have to install a carbide-grit grout blade in your saw to cut the grout effectively. Ensure that you keep the blade pointed downward while the handle of your saw is facing upwards. 

You should use this tool carefully so that you don’t crack your tiles. 

Method 6: Use a Roto-Zip Tool 

If you already own a Roto-Zip tool that you use for DIY projects, like cutting into drywall or plywood, you can also use it to remove grout. It can accommodate a variety of bits, so you can choose the best one depending on whether you’ve got wide or narrow grout lines, as eHow reports. 

Here’s how to use the tool:

  1. Face downward: Keep the exposed wheel of the RotoZip facing downward. 
  2. Insert the wheel: Start the saw and insert the wheel into the tile grout. 
  3. Remove the grout: As you move the wheel toward you, the tool will remove grout from between the tiles. 

Method 7: Use a Dremel Rotary Tool 

A Dremel tool works well to remove grout, but it should have a grout-removal bit attached to it. This bit should have carbide blades, which are the gold standard when you want to remove grout with a tool because they’re strong enough to remove the toughest grout, as Bob Vila reports. 

You should put the bit into the tile grout and make the guide flush with the tile. Ensure you move the tool slowly, from left to right, since the bit will move clockwise, as SFGate reports. 

Method 8: Use a Wooden Paint Stick and Nylon Scouring Pad 

Grout can be difficult to remove from porcelain tiles, but after dissolving the grout with a heat gun, a wooden paint stick can work. Use it to remove the largest pieces of the grout, and then switch to a nylon scouring pad for smaller pieces.

Method 9: Use an Angle Grinder 

If you own an angle grinder, making use of a diamond-tipped blade will remove grout effectively, as SFGate reports. 

Here’s how to use it: 

  1. Along the grout line: Move along the grout line, keeping the angle grinder straight and avoiding moving back and forth. 
  2. Multiple passes: If your first pass with the grinder doesn’t remove all the grout, such as in the case of a wide grout line, start at the top again and move in a straight line, being careful not to damage the tiles. 

This method is ideal for use on outdoor tiles with wide grout lines as it can be easy to crack tiles if your grout lines are narrow. Bear in mind that this method produces a lot of dust. 

Method 10: Use Warm Water To Remove Grout From Fresh Tiles

Grout removal isn’t always about removing grout from between tiles. There are times when you need a quick and easy way to remove grout that accidentally got onto your tiles so that it doesn’t spoil their appearance. This method removes grout if you’ve just tiled your walls or floor and you’ve ended up with some grout marks on your tiles. 

Dip a non-scratch scouring pad in a bit of warm water, then carefully remove the grout. This works well to remove stains, but it won’t remove the actual grout, such as if you’re re-tiling a room in your home. 

Final Thoughts 

Removing grout from tiles doesn’t have to take a lot of time or damage your beautiful tiles. You can try many user-friendly methods, even if you don’t have lots of DIY experience. Some, however, require specific tools. 

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