Monday, January 22, 2007

Tile floor grout repair

After letting the wall grout cure for about 24 hours, I went to work on the grout line around the base of the walls. I’m using the same premixed grout (Premixed Ceramic Tile Adhesive and Grout, made by Tile Perfect) that I used for the walls, but in gray instead of white.

There were a couple of tricky parts about adding the grout to the grout line on the floor. Since the grout line is at the base of the wall, it’s a little more difficult to work the grout into the line between the vertical wall tile and the horizontal floor tile. I used the same technique mentioned in yesterday’s Tile wall grout repair, by putting the grout down with a putty knife and then bringing the rubber grout float across the grout line at a 45-degree angle.

The other tricky part was I had to replace the one floor tile that had popped out when I was removing the grout. (See that tile resting on the plastic putty knife in the image above.) The tricky part is that each floor tile is only about 3/4-of-an-inch square, meaning it was impossible to get the new grout down on the floor where the missing tile would be set.

To get around this problem, I used a product that I find comes in very handy for a variety of old home projects: styrene plastic. Styrene is very easy to work with and comes in a variety of dimensional shapes and thicknesses. Any model train hobby shop worth their salt sells styrene from Evergreen Scale Models, including 6-by-12 inch sheets. I keep styrene on hand for situations where you need to make a small, sturdy piece of plastic to get adhesives, putty, grout, etc., into tight spots where putty knives won’t fit. The photo above also shows the small piece of styrene I cut down to use as a miniature putty knife to install the grout. Styrene is easy to cut; all you do is scribe it with a sharp knife then bend it a little until it snaps along the seam.

Once the grout was down in the corner, I set the lone tile into place then carefully filed the grout lines around it. (I only used the grout flout on the grout lines running away from the corner, not over this individual loose tile. It was too easy to shift this lone tile with the grout flout.) If you enlarge the image to the right, you’ll notice that I went up the vertical grout line in the corner a little bit, simply to assure that no more water penetrates that corner (at least that’s my hope).

I’ll let this grout cure for 48 or more before I let the family back at it. Hopefully, this will solve the leak into the basement and I can get back to work on the upstairs bathroom rehab. Frankly, in hindsight I wish I had the time to put the lone loose tile down and let it set overnight before I added the grout around the parameter. However, I’m running out of days until family from out of town visit this old house, and I need to get this project put to bed. Plus, I must get back to work on the upstairs bathroom. Hopefully I’ll be addressing that again soon.


  1. I enjoyed your blog on tile repair. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your experience. Jeff

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