Tiles and marble have been used for floors, kitchens, and bathrooms for a long time. Although the product quality has changed and might even have improved over time, the process for installation has stayed the same – including the use of a grout saw. So, how do you use a grout saw?
To use a grout saw, ensure that the blade stays within the grout lines and doesn’t damage the tile. Then, use the saw on the old grout with a back-and-forth motion. It’s best to use a motorized grout saw for larger projects, as you simply sink the blade into the grout and vacuum the dust.
The rest of this article will cover tips and tricks you can use to ensure you get the results you’re looking for. I’ll also talk about the different types of grout saws and how to operate them effectively and safely. So without further ado, let’s get your floors looking brand new again.
Different Types of Grout Saws and How To Use Them
Typically there are two types of grout saws out in the market, each with unique properties and advantages. I’ll discuss each one here and how to use them so you can efficiently undertake your project.
● Manual Grout Saws
Manual grout saws require some elbow grease to successfully complete your project. These saws are mainly used for smaller projects such as replacing a broken tile or regrouting a small part of the floor or wall.
- Handheld grout saw with a blade: This type of saw comes with a handle and a carbide blade that effectively removes grout. You would typically set the blade in the middle of the grout line and start moving the saw back and forth to extract the grout. Once the center is cleared, use it at an angle to remove grout from the edges.
- Handheld grout saw with a triangle blade: This tool works the same way as the one above. The only difference is that it has a sharp triangle-shaped edge with three tips, so if one end gets blunt, you’d still have two to work with.
These tools are cost-effective and great for small projects. Although it requires a little exertion, it gets the job done amazingly. To learn more about using these tools, watch this helpful YouTube video:
● Electric Grout Saws
Electric saws are amazingly effective when working on larger projects, like regrouting the entire bathroom. They require less muscle power and are pretty accurate. One thing to keep in mind while using these tools is to stay focused with a steady hand because one slip can cost you dearly.
I’ll go over the three types of electric grout saws in the following sections.
● Oscillating Grout Saw
As the name suggests, the oscillating saw cuts through grout with a back-and-forth motion. It can be equipped with a grout removal blade that looks like a semi-circle. Simply put it against the grout line at an angle, and the saw will do the rest. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using an oscillating grout saw:
- Start with a slow setting. If you haven’t used this tool before, I suggest you start with a low-speed setting to get the hang of it. This will prevent any damage that might occur due to the device getting out of your control.
- Begin at the center of the grout line. Once the center is carved out, work the blade at an angle to get to the grout around the edges.
- Refrain from putting pressure on the tool. If you have to work faster, adjust the speed to the blade. However, this will wear the blade more quickly.
- Have a vacuum nearby. Ensure that you keep the work area clean and vacuum any grout on the floor and in the grooves. This will give you a good idea of how much grout is left in the cracks.
● Reciprocating Grout Saw
This tool is exactly like the manual handheld grout saw with a blade. The difference is that it has a motorized device attached to the base that mimics the back-and-forth motion you would usually make with your hand.
Using the tool follows the same principles as a manual saw where you crave out the center and work your way around the edges on an angle. Tips discussed above for an oscillating grout saw also apply here.
● Rotary Grout Saw
In my opinion, this is by far the most effective tool out there. The reason for its performance is the accuracy of the device. It comes with a cutting accessory that looks like a drill bit and a guide you can screw on. The guide keeps you in a straight line and prevents any damage to the surrounding tiles. Here are the steps to using a rotary grout saw:
- Screw on the cutting accessory: The cutting accessory can be attached like a drill bit.
- Equip the device with the cutting guide: The cutting guide has two points protruding out that dig into the grout line and keeps you on a straight line. You can also use the guide to determine the depth of the cut.
- Take it slow and clean up as you go: Ensure that you work through the grout lines slowly, so you don’t have to repeat the action. Also, keep a vacuum handy to remove debris from the grout lines.
Essential Safety Gear When Handling a Grout Saw
Regardless of the type of grout saw you’re using, it’s vital to use safety gear to avoid any unnecessary injury. This will help you safely complete the project you’re working on. Below is the safety gear you should always have around if you undertake home projects regularly or even if it’s a one-off thing:
- Vacuum cleaner: This is important because it helps remove any grout from the floor. Grout debris can be sharp, and kneeling while working could allow the debris to pierce your skin.
- Gloves: Wearing gloves will prevent your hands from developing calluses in the case of a handheld grout saw. It’ll also help prevent injury from the grout lying around on the floor.
- Safety goggles: Working with an electric grout saw will create a cloud of grout dust which can irritate the eyes. Therefore, you must wear this protection to avoid a trip to the hospital.
- Knee pads: Pads help when kneeling on the floor to extract the grout. Having your knees press against a sharp piece of grout will be painful.
- Mask: A mask will prevent the fine grout dust from getting into your nose and ultimately making it into your lungs. This will make breathing hard for you and won’t be a pleasant experience.
- Ear protection: This is more necessary for electric saws since they produce an awful sound. It also prevents grout dust from getting into your ears.
Working on a home project can seem a bit daunting, especially when you’re working with something as delicate as tiles and handling a grout saw. However, using a grout saw isn’t too challenging, as long as you follow the necessary tips and wear safety gear.
Using this guide to its fullest will give you the tips you need to complete the project using a grout saw without any repercussions.