How to Easily Regrout Your Bathtub Walls Without Removing Old Grout
One way we are saving money on this bathroom remodel is to use what we have in place and give it a budget friendly update. Here’s how to easily regrout your bathtub walls without removing the old grout.
A huge thank you to Dremel for sending us the tools to try!
This bathroom was such an eyesore. And it was the one that greeted you if you were a guest in my home.
Dated, ugly ceramic tile with so many mildew issues in the grout lines.
For the past 5 weeks, we’ve been renovating this bathroom and it is slowly becoming a showpiece.
We knew we needed to address the issues in our shower. The tile was in good condition, except for the missing and loose grout.
I found a secret weapon.
And today I’m sharing this good news with you!
When we researched ways to save money on this bathroom remodel, our grout issues concerned us.
It had the typical issues of mildew, which I knew I could fix, but I also noticed that some of the tile grout had worn away.
The dangers of water seeping into those pin holes and cracks and allowing mold growth were serious, so we had to make this repair a priority.
So I went on a search on how to easily regrout tile without removing old grout.
I have to admit I got a bit discouraged when I read the methods out there to remove existing grout.
This grout removal blade, or grout rake, works, but with the amount of work we had ahead of us with this bathroom, a manual grout removal tool would be a slow process.
I needed a grout repair option that wouldn’t require us having to remove all the old grout but was also a quick and easy process.
Then I found Dremel.
Since I have been a Dremel fan for years, I called to see if they could recommend a tool that would work for this.
They agreed to send me their Multi-max tool and carbide bit attachment to give it a try and I was wowed!!
Here is a great way to approach your regrouting process without the need for any special skills.
Can you put new grout over top of old grout?
The short answer is not really which could be bad news if you were wanting a quick fix.
Grout is formulated to bond between the tile joints. If you add it to the top of the old grout, it won’t adhere properly to the existing grout or tile edges. That means you’re quick fix wouldn’t last long and you’ll have to redo your work properly.
BUT – you can regrout small areas, like our bathtub walls, without having to removing all the grout! Here’s how we did it.
How to Easily Regrout Your Bathtub
Walls Without Removing the Old Grout
(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
Here are the supplies you’ll need for this job:
- An oscillating tool – like the Dremel Multi-Max
- Carbide Blade attachment
- Fresh Grout
- Rubber Grout Float
- Painters Tape if you are only working on a small section like ours
- Drop cloth or old towel
- Utility Knife
- Small Bucket
- Face Mask
- Shop Vacuum
STEP ONE: Prep Your Area
The first step is to prepare your area.
Before we began, we taped off a line for our work area. The top of the existing grout for the shower was in great shape, so there was no need to try to repair that area.
So that little tape line helped remind us where to stop.
No need to create extra work, right?
It’s also a good idea to protect any areas that you don’t want to get dirty. We had a few drop cloths on hand.
Next grab some eye protection and a dust mask and you’re ready to go!
STEP TWO: Removing the Damaged Grout
As I mentioned, removing some of the old grout is key if you want to have your new grout adhere to your bathroom walls properly.
We started right away by attaching the Carbide Grout Blade to our Dremel Multi-Max. The blade has sharp carbide grit on the edge that turns the damaged dirty grout into dust!
We thought the 1/16th inch thick blade was a good choice since we have narrower grout joints.
If you are hesitant to use a power tool, this is a great one to start with!
Gently run the Dremel along the edges of the tile where you see the grout missing or pulling away.
It was like butter! It’s like a small electric grinder and I loved the variable speed options.
We set the speed to about 6. The lower speed didn’t seem to work without more pressure, and the the highest setting was a bit difficult to control. I was afraid I would knick the edge of the tile.
Finding that sweet spot was key. If you are tackling this DIY, find a speed that works for you and your tub surround.
Just be patient and take your time. Allow the tool to do the work for you.
Here’s what it looked like immediately after.
We found that as we removed grout, small chunks remained in the cracks.
One tool that helped clean that out was a utility knife.
Simply run the knife down the grooves and it cleans out the broken up grout pieces you just worked on.
The next thing we wanted to tackle were the ceramic fixtures.
Again, this handy dandy tool came to the rescue.
The Dremel Multi-Max blade was able to reach into the tight spots were the fixtures and grout met.
TIP: Be care not to grind the tile while you are removing the pieces.
We removed 2 towel racks and one ceramic toilet paper holder.
We just finished raising the roof of the shower. So we used some of that tile we saved and filled in those missing spots.
Once we removed all the grout and replaced the missing tiles, it was time to regrout!
STEP THREE: Start the regrouting process
We had some grout leftover from our Master Bathroom Remodel, so I mixed a small batch together. Since we are painting our tile, the grout color wasn’t an issue for us.
TIP: One thing to pay attention to is the type of grout as well as the color of the grout. Try to match as closely as possible.
If you are mixing the grout yourself, the key is to add clean water to the dry powder a little at a time.
You want it to be the consistency of a Frosty from Wendy’s.
Too much water means you’ll be adding more grout powder which means you’ve mixed too much grout. It’s better to start small and mix thoroughly.
You want it thick enough to stay on the blade, but thin enough to start running off in a few seconds.
TIP: There is premixed grout available for purchase if mixing it yourself seems daunting!
Next, load it onto your rubber grout float.
We opted for a rubber based float like this one. I find it easier to work against the tile surface.
Then you simply push the grout against the surface of the tiles at a 45-degree angle.
Work along following the lines of the tile spacing. You may have to alter your direction to ensure good coverage.
It does get messy and a few clumps will fall. But having a drop cloth in place to collect those clumps of grout as well as a damp cloth helps.
Another important thing to do is to remove any grout that may have fallen where the tub and tile meet.
This area is intended for caulk to create water resistance blocking any water that may seep in.
So after you have all your grout in place, it’s time to wipe away any excess.
Using a bucket filled with warm water and a damp sponge, lightly wipe away the excess grout until it’s smooth.
But you may have to make a few passes with fresh water to ensure that all the grout haze is removed from the tile.
And here’s what it looks like once it’s dry!
After the grout has fully cured, the next day you can add a grout sealant to prevent future mildew from growing.
Since we are painting our tile, now we are ready to wet sand the tile and finally paint it a bright white.
See the Final Reveal of the Painted Tile Here!
So, with the help of a handy tool, we were able to get this knocked out very quickly.
The Dremel Multi-Max MM50 has 5.0 amps of power making it easy to tackle any project you have.
In fact, we even used the Multi-Max for sanding the vanity base and also to cut nails to raise the frame of our shower ceiling! We also have used it for removing carpet in our basement!
So if you want to read more about the specs of this must have tool, you can find all the details about the Multi-Max MM50 over at Dremel.com.
So, as you can see, it’s a great tool with lots of attachments to help you tackle many projects!
We also had the honor to try Dremel’s Ultra-Saw as well and it came in handy when we removed the top to our vanity.
We were also able to swap the blades and use a grinding disc to remove some old thin set above the vanity.
It’s like having a mini circular saw that helps get into those hard to reach spaces. You can read all about the Ultra-Saw’s specs here.
So, I hope this helped you learn how to easily regrout your bathtub walls without having to remove all the grout. You don’t have to knock out all the tile to get the job done.
But having the right tools for the job is key.
So stay tuned for the final reveal of this bathroom makeover. We are in the final stretch and can’t wait to show it off! Sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss it!
If you have any questions, be sure to leave me a comment below and I’d be honored to help out in any way possible.
Click Here To See How the
Bathroom Looks Now!
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Don’t miss the other posts
in this Bathroom Makeover!
RAISE THE ROOF: HOW WE MADE THE BATHROOM CEILING TALLER
DIY SHOWER DOOR UPDATE
HOW TO MAKE A BATHROOM VANITY TALLER
REGROUTING BATHROOM TILE
INSTALLING AND LIMEWASHING BRICK VENEER
DIY CEILING PLANKS FROM LAMINATE FLOORING
HOW WE CHANGED OUR BATHROOM TILE FOR $150
HOW TO MAKE CEDAR FRAMED MIRRORS
THE BIG REVEAL!
Great question Teresa – and I’m so glad this post has inspired you!
There is a special kind of sandpaper used for wet sanding. It’s a much finer grit than regular sandpaper used for wood and it’s intended for glossy surfaces.
And the process is exactly as it sounds – you wet the surface and then sand. I had a bucket of water nearby that I would often dip into to keep the surface damp.
Hope that helps and send pics of your finished bathroom – I would love to see it!
Wow, I’m so glad I ran across your budget friendly post! Gave me such great information and I really think we can do this . I’ve definitely got to get that amazing tool you used for multiple things especially how to remove and re grout some areas . Our master bathroom isn’t really big the tile I’m so done with the brown’s and cream’s we’ve been saving $$$ doing our painting, it’s work Yesss but worth especially with some of the outrageous prices for anything. Just had a recent quote just to replace tile for the shower and around the big bathtub was over $5,000 I couldn’t believe it. So thanks for taking the time out to share your so helpful info. Oh what is wet sanding? Please holler back if you get a chance 🤗thanks again 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Great question! I just posted the tutorial on how to paint your tile. It’s super easy and super affordable – which I love!
Painted Tile Tutorial
Dremel is the Bomb!! We’ve loved their tools for years, but this Multi-Max is the next level!
I love this blog since I am currently remodeling my guest bath too! After you wet sand the bath tiles, what kind of paint did you use on tiles? Or is that still coming up on your blog? Thanks for keeping me inspired!!!
It looks great and super easy!
Having the right tools makes all the difference. I tackled this job in our old house. I felt overwhelmed but once I got the right tools it was much easier. Have to love Dremel.