That’s a Lot of Tile!
The main area on the first floor of our home is all tile – about 2000 square feet of tile. And with that tile comes A LOT of grout lines. I hated those dirty grout lines! Our home was built in 2006 so the floor was not really that old in 2011 when we moved in. The tile was and still is in perfect, pristine condition…no cracks or chips. But the grout lines…that was another story! The grout in the formal living and dining room were good but the high traffic areas really needed some tlc! And the kitchen…I would not be exaggerating if I said those dirty grout lines were horrible!
The grout is a sanded grout that was never sealed. So no matter how much we scrubbed, no matter what cleaning product we used…the grout never looked clean. It’s hard to be satisfied with “prettying up” a room when the base of that room always seemed grubby. I always wanted to explain to everyone that visited that I wasn’t a terrible housekeeper, our floors were really clean – it was just the grout lines! To update all that flooring to what I really wanted (wood…wood and more wood!) was more than we wanted to invest. Especially since what we had was a dirty grout line problem, not a tile problem! That just didn’t feel right!
Bring in the Professionals
After exhausting every DIY cleaning remedy we could find, we finally decided that this just wasn’t a DIY job and called in the professionals. Surely a professional cleaning would turn those dirty grout lines into clean, light grout lines! The grout cleaning company we hired agreed. “Sure,” they said “Cleaning will make a HUGE difference!” And they guaranteed our satisfaction. They worked on that grout for two days. I didn’t see a lot of difference between the methods they used and and the ones we used (that’s my husband in the picture scrubbing…not the company we hired!).
In the picture of hubbie scrubbing the floor, the lighter grout lines are places we tested the grout color before we did the entire floor!
They did have a bigger, really loud, really big machine to wash the floor but the scrubbing was exactly what we did! We just took longer!
Two days after they began…they finally admitted defeat! The unsealed, dirty grout lines just would not get any lighter – not even for the professionals. Their suggestion…stain the grout. They said they could do it for us and offered a discount because of the failed grout cleaning. Their discount price was .63 per square feet and we had about 2000 square feet to stain. We couldn’t stain just the “bad” areas because the floors flowed into each other. So we had to do it all! Ummm – .63 times 2000 square feet equals $1260. A bottle of grout stain plus sealer was only $12.97. We’d need approximately 10 bottles for a total cost of $129.70. $1260 versus $129.70…no brainer! We went for the DIY option.
Dirty Grout Lines Renewed!
I won’t lie…this is tedious work and it really hard on the knees (even with knee pads!). That $1260 started looking like a good investment! But we kept at it. We didn’t do it all at once, we worked in sections. Since both hubbie and I teamed up, we got it done in a couple of weeks. We really didn’t work in long spans of time…just short spurts! But the results…FREAKING AH-MA-ZING! The grimy, dirty grout lines are now new and clean. And it’s sealed so now when we clean the floor, the grout is clean too. The dirt doesn’t sink into the grout…it stays on top! It even makes the tile look new!!
You be the judge…check out the before and after picture. Next up, great area rugs to complement the like new tile!
Stain Your Own Grout Lines
If you have the same dirty grout line issue, here’s a list of the materials we used. It’s not really hard…just tedious and hard on your knees!
Polyblend grout renew $12.97 a bottle
Old toothbrushes to apply the stain. Since our grout lines are so wide, we found they worked a lot better than brushes. – Free
Knee pads – we already had these but if you need them you can pick them up at home improvement stores or order these. The Husky Soft Cap Knee Pads work great. Believe me, you don’t want to do this job without knee pads!
Lots of rags, some wet and some dry. We used these to clean up when we “colored outside the lines”. If you don’t have rags laying around you can pick bags of them up from Home Depot, Amazon or Lowes.
We did this over a year ago and the grout lines still look great!
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