Bathroom tiles that have cracked grout are more than unsightly, they can also result in damage if left unchecked. By following some steps, you will find that fixing this problem is not as difficult as it may initially seem.
Step 1 - Inspection
Fully examine the entire shower unit to find every instance of cracked grout that needs to be repaired. Stick a small piece of masking tape next to each so that you do not lose track of it. Examining all the points of damaged grout will also enable you to determine the method of repair that is required. Grout that has remained firm despite being cracked will need to be treated differently to that which yields to pressure or flakes away.
Step 2 - Gather Tools and Equipment
Be aware that grout is available in different colors and, if possible, you should take a loose piece of the cracked grout with you to the hardware store so that you get the correct shade. Do not worry if you cannot get the exact match as slight shade amendments can be made by adding more water or grout mix to lighten or darken it respectively.
Step 3 - Remove Grout
Using a grout saw, remove the cracked grout by carefully running the saw across it so that you do damage the surrounding tile or any undamaged grout. Only follow this procedure for sections of grout where the damage is extensive. Hairline cracks that do not appear to have affected the integrity of the grout can be rectified with grout sealer. Once this process is complete, use a brush to clear away the resulting dust so that you are working with a clean surface that will allow the new grout to stick.
Step 4 - Mix Grout
Mix the grout in a clean bucket in accordance with the instructions, making slight adjustments with small additions of water or additional grout to obtain the correct shade.
Step 5 - Apply Grout
Apply the newly mixed compound to the holes created by the removal of the old cracked grout. Gather some grout onto a putty knife and smooth it into the hole as cleanly as possible until the hole is filled. As you go along, even out the surface of the new grout with a water dampened finger or a putty knife with a rounded tip. Use a damp sponge to gently wipe away any excess from around the repair site and the surrounding tiles, taking care not to dislodge the tiles or remove the grout you have just applied. Allow the grout to dry completely in accordance with the manufacturer’s advice and return to it to use a cloth to buff away any traces of grout remaining on the tiles.
Step 6 - Seal
To protect your work and to reinforce the sections of minor damage, such as hairline cracks, apply some grout sealer after the grout has dried. Leave this to dry thoroughly in accordance with the instructions before using the shower again.