Difficult Shower Re-grout Job - Need Advice


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Old 02-26-13, 05:36 PM
J
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Difficult Shower Re-grout Job - Need Advice

Greetings Gurus!

I'm about 1/2 way into the grout removal portion of my tub/shower re-grout job and have come up with a few questions that I'm in need of answers to.

The tiles in this shower are 4" and are on the walls only. For whatever reason, when the tiles were installed, there was almost no gap left between the tiles whatsoever. In more cases than not, there is no definitive space between tiles. I'm scraping and digging the existing grout out using a utility knife and a putty knife I sharpened using an angle grinder to get it as thin as possible at the edge. The job is going extremely slowly. None of the available grout removal tools will even come close to fitting in the joints so I don't have much of a choice than to grin and bear it.

As I'm removing as much of the existing grout as I can, I'm wondering if the new grout will even adhere and seal considering how narrow and shallow the joints are.

After doing a fair amount of research I've discovered I'm not the first person to deal with this situation, and have read numerous threads which recommend using non-sanded grout, caulking the corners and base of the tiled wall where it meets the tub, and finally to seal the grout.
One thing that I haven't been able to find is anything posted after the fact which discusses the results and whether or not there was proper adhesion of the grout. It seems like everyone who has dealt with this situation has posted their questions, gotten their advice and then abandoned their thread.
Can anyone who has dealt with this situation before, please post their results and any caveats they learned as well as anything they would do differently next time. I would really appreciate it.

Thank you!

Steve
Chandler, AZ
 
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Old 02-26-13, 07:40 PM
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I believe using a "dull" utility knife will actually speed the job along as opposed to using a sharp one as you remove the old grout.

Old Subway tile, the 4" tiles that are ubiquitous in many older bathrooms had built in spacers which appeared as little bumps on the edges of the tile. This allowed placement of the tile by butting them up to each other to form a universal grout line. You may have had a few where the spacers were not as well defined as they should have been.

As far as grout, the tiles also have beveled edges that will assist in giving the grout an area to adhere to. Obviously, you can get new grout to stick if you are having so much trouble getting the old stuff out. All you need to do is get the surface grout off, you do not need to dig all the way down to achieve a 100% removal. Follow all the previous advice you have read, use an unsanded grout and force the grout into the space between the tiles by using a tile float and applying at a 45 degree angle to the grout line. Unsanded grout has the consistency of pudding so you will be able to squeeze it into the areas you wish. Smear with your fingertip if the float is giving you problems.
 
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Old 02-26-13, 11:11 PM
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Thanks czizzi for the reply and the helpful advice. It makes me feel a little better knowing that:
A. These tiles are in fact supposed to be closer together than other tile which employs the plastic spacers which create a larger joint.
B. It's not imperative that I remove every speck of existing grout in order to get satisfactory adhesion/coverage.

I just finished up the removal portion of the project a few minutes ago. And, while it isn't pretty and certainly wouldn't qualify as the "ideal" representative of a shower surround that's been perfectly prepped for re-grouting, I'm comfortable with the results and the depth of the joints at this point.

I ended up using the utility knife for 90% of the job and went through about 20 or so blades. In some areas I was able to use a QEP carbide grout tool.
Honestly, I don't think a Fein or oscillating Dremel tool with grout blade would have worked for this job as the majority of the joints were 1/32 and smaller.

I plan to continue tomorrow at some point but I have a question that I should have asked in my original post...
Should I caulk the corners and base of the walls before or after I grout? I'm thinking that would be done after grouting but that's just a guess.

I'll be sure to post a couple of pics of the before and after once I'm finished.

Thanks again for your help!

Regards,
Steve
 
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Old 02-27-13, 05:43 AM
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Grout first, then after it is dry, apply flexible colored caulk to inside corners of the walls and base. Grout companies make color matching caulk to go along with the colored grout so that the corners look like grout, but have the ability to move with expansion and contraction. Use Unsanded colored caulk to match the unsanded grout.
 
 

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