Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Cristina
How to soften grout for removal in tiles is something that challenges many do-it-yourselfers. This article is designed to help you do it. If you have tile, you have grout. Grout is a very hard substance and difficult to remove under any circumstances. At the same time, there are several ways to accomplish it.
What Is Grout And Why Remove It?
Again if you have tile you have grout. If you are reading this I am sure you know what grout is but here’s a quick overview. Grout is usually made with cement and water and sometimes sand. It is used to fill the gaps between tiles in flooring, bricks in walls, or seal joints. It is used when rebar is embedded in walls or precast concrete is used in buildings. Grout forms a waterproof seal. Grout is not mortar, but it is very close in substance. For instance, mortar is thicker than grout.
When Would You Need A Grout Dissolver?
Being a very hard substance grout can be very difficult to remove. Why would you want to remove it? There are a few times when it would be necessary and you would need to know how to soften grout for removal. If you put new tile in your kitchen, bath, or shower, you would remove the old tile first. This requires removing the old grout. Or perhaps you’ve has a moisture problem and some of your tiles or old grout has mold. Mold is never a wanted presence in your home, so you would need to remove it.
Unless you know how to dissolve the grout or use a grout softener, your task will be difficult and could take a long time. Most grout contains a certain type of cement known as Portland cement. When you first put it down it can take weeks to set, but when it does it is almost permanent. So unless you want to spend several more weeks with a chisel, learn how to dissolve grout under these circumstances.
Worse than the time you would spend with a chisel is the damage you might due to your tile if you are not replacing it. The answer is to use a grout dissolver and soften the grout before you attempt to remove it.
How To Dissolve Grout
There are several ways to dissolve or soften grout. Let’s take a look at t few. To begin with, you can make a grout softener from water and wood. You can also make a grout dissolver from sugar and water.
- Water and Woodwork work well if you want to remove the grout from your shower without scratching the tile. With this method, you will use clean water. It does not have to be very hot water, just warm and clean. Taking a quarter to three-eighths inch thick piece of hardwood, cut the end off the square. Now soak the grout with the clean water until it is saturated. Using the squared-off edge and light pressure scrape out the grout. Throughout this process, you should continue to rinse the tile in clean water.
Now use a damp nylon pad and scour the tile until the remaining grout is gone. Make sure you continue to saturate the tile with clean water. Water is the softening agent in this process. Finally making sure the tile is still water-saturated use your hardwood scraper and drag it in the grout lines. Wipe with a clean dry towel.
- Sugar and Water is the next grout softener you can make yourself. This solution is easy to make. It takes a cup of pure granulated sugar for every gallon of water. This must be mixed completely dissolving the sugar. Now soak the grout in this solution. Let the grout soak in the water and sugar solution for two to three hours. With this solution, you would use the same type of hardwood tool to scrape the grout from the tile. Add more solution and then use a nylon pad to finish the process. Rinse with clean warm water. Wipe with a clean dry towel.
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More Ways To Make A Grout Dissolver
- Heat is one of the most effective ways to answer the question of how to soften grout for removal. A heat gun using 300’F or less is the tool of choice for many do-it-yourselfers. You can only use this method on ceramic tiles, not plastic.
Keep the heat half a foot from the grout. Follow the lines of grout lines with a grout removal tool after you have heated them. Continue to heat the grout lines until you have completely removed all of it. This may be the easiest way to remove hardened grout.
- Vinegar is a very effective solution to remove the grout. This is because vinegar is acidic. You will need to be careful as acid could damage the tiles. You need to use a small amount of vinegar and not let it soak onto the tile for any length of time. You will only need small amounts as a grout dissolver. Make sure you clean the tile completely after the grout is removed.
How To Soften Grout For Removal
There are a couple other answers to how to soften grout for removal. They are sulfamic acid and brick cleaner. There are the harshest of all the methods you could use. Sulfamic acid is dangerous and to use it you need to wear goggles. They can damage your eyes very quickly. If you get any in your eyes wash it immediately.
Finally, you can use a standard brick cleaner for grout softening. This is also a very strong acid-based cleaner. It requires gloves and goggles. It requires a well-ventilated area to work in. This solution will remove the grout the quickest and easiest. It will loosen the grout and it will also dissolve it. From this point on you need no strength to complete the project. You can clean out the rest of the grout with a toothbrush.