i should be mopping the floor: How to Change Grout Color

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How to Change Grout Color

This post about how to change grout color contains affiliate links. I make a small portion when these links are used, at no additional cost to you.

Did you know you can change grout color in your tile without a fancy renovation? Honestly, to change grout color, you'll need less than $20, some patience, and maybe a good playlist. Check out my method below.
How to Change Grout Color

Changing my tile's grout color had been on my to-do list for some time. I finally bit the bullet and wished I had sooner...loving the results. While it did take a bit of time and patience, it was crazy cheap and super easy. See how to change grout color in any tiled surface below.


How to Change Grout Color


I should go ahead and state that this is, indeed, the same tile in both photos on that first pic. One photo was taken on a cloudy day, the other was the next day, which was sunny and bright. It makes the tiles appear a bit different in color. (And yes, that's old blue painter's tape in that first photo...it's been there since February, which my dad points out is a major no-no every time he drops by).

One more warning...while this is indeed an easy and simple project that anyone can do, with no special skills required, it is time-consuming (I've said that a bit already, right?). I did this in the laundry room as my "test" area. My goal is to eventually do this in my entry way...but with the time it takes, I wanted to see how it holds up in this small room first, before investing all of that time on the larger floor to change grout color. UPDATE: FOUR YEARS LATER AND IT STILL LOOKS GREAT!!

Grout Dying Tools

What You'll Need to Change Grout Color:


  • strong degreasing cleaner
  • old toothbrush
  • paper towels
  • squirt tip applicator bottle, I used one I had on hand (I think an empty dish liquid bottle would work well, here, if you have one on hand). Or grab inexpensive ones here on Amazon.
  • Polyblend Brand Grout Colorant and Sealant (this is obviously the main thing you'll need when you change grout color). I chose this brand because it truly has amazing reviews...and with the sealant built in, all of the users mention that the white stays white, even over years of wear. This particular brand can be purchased online here for the best price I can find. It's called "Polyblend Grout Renew". It's available in a wide arrange of color choices. I am using "Snow White" here. Also, it goes a LONG way. I only used about 1/4 of my bottle with two coats in the laundry room...worth every penny.
  • lots of cotton swabs (just grab the 500 pack and make peace with using almost all of them)


Grout Dying Old Tile
I'm completely in love with the "new" floor in the laundry room now! And just to be up front, I know we had a lot of discussion on the FB and Instagram accounts regarding white grout (people either love it or loathe it), but this room is basically my trial area. After reading the reviews of the colorant I used, I really want to see if it will stay white as all of the reviews state it will. I love the look of the white grout, but as so many of you sweet friends mentioned...very rarely does it stay white. I'm putting it to the test and will definitely be back in a few months to tell you what I think. UPDATE: FOUR YEARS LATER AND THIS FLOOR STILL LOOKS AMAZING!

Cleaning Old Grout
Against my better judgement, I'm showing you the filth that came out of my old grout from the pre-scrubbing. Gah! It's been a while since I've done grout cleaning in this room. I won't tell you how long...let's just stick with a while


Steps to Change Grout Color:

  • You'll start by spraying your degreaser into your grout lines. Let it sit in the grout for 10 minutes and then give it a good scrubbing with the toothbrush. Then wipe the nastiness away so you don't have to beat yourself up about your cleaning skills (not that I actually did that...ahem).
  • Don't skip this first cleaning step to save time (I know it's tempting). If you apply the colorant to the dirty grout, you're basically not getting it to adhere to the grout, but rather the dirt. Overtime, it will wear away rather quickly. 
  • Let the cleaned grout sit overnight to completely dry. Grout can absorb moisture, even if it looks dry faster, give it the entire night. The colorant must be applied to thoroughly dry grout. If you have a fan to aim at the cleaned grout, I'd use it overnight to make sure it dries out completely. 


Changing the Color of Your Grout

  • Add some of your colorant into your squirt-tipped bottle for easier application.


Dying Grout

  • Apply the colorant with the squirt tip directly into the grout lines. You'll make a thin line down the middle of the grout. Work in small areas...about six inches at a time. It tends to dry fast and you'll need to keep the area you're applying it to very "workable" as you get it into the entire line of grout.


Updating Grout

  • Using a cotton swab, work the colorant around in the grout line to get full coverage. You'll get a bit of excess outside of the line, so you'll need to work quickly to be able to wipe that before it dries. I basically went back and forth in a small motion to spread the grout down the line. Your cotton swab will become saturated rather quickly...I sometimes used over a dozen swabs on one grout line.


Updating Tile Flooring

  • Use either a paper towel or another cotton swab to clean up the excess colorant.


Easy Grout Update

  • This is about the average length that I worked in (above). I also did two entire coats of the colorant...letting it dry a couple of hours in between coats.
  • The darker your original grout color is, the more coats you will need. Mine was darkish and I used two coats and had good coverage. 


Updating Old Tile Flooring
It's slow work. I laid on that floor for a couple of days with the two coats I applied. Again, a good playlist in the background (or 20 podcasts) will be your bestie in this process.


Applying a Second Coat

After your first coat is on, let it dry a couple of hours. Then go back and apply the second coat in the same manner as the first. The second coat is a lot faster than the first. I'm not sure if all of the colors need that second coat or if it's because we went from darker to lighter grout? But, we definitely needed both coats on our grout.

Old Grout Update
I think it truly looks like a new floor. My husband even noticed it when he got home (that doesn't always happen, y'all!

Changing Grout the Easy Way

It's a bit of a different project...but it's cheaper than new floors or a re-grout! Can't wait to update you on how this holds up over time. This is a super high-traffic pass-through area in our home {from the garage to the house...it's what we use as our main in and out}, so I'm really putting it to the test.

Do you have any area of older tile that you'd like to change grout color? Let me know if you'd ever consider this method.


UPDATE 1/26/14: So far, so good!! The grout has held up wonderfully and looks just as fresh as the day(s) I worked on it! I've also had numerous readers try this same project with success. 




Free Grout Dying Tutorial




Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:




32 comments:

  1. Get out! That's the same floor? It looks tons better but I'm super glad it wasn't a huge space for you to redo.

    Take care!
    Ashley

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  2. Oh mah GAWD I need to do this to my foyer and kitchen. Pretty sure with 3 boys, The Man, and the big (recently blind) dog, white wouldn't fly. But anything would be better than the previously-ivory-now-stained-brownish-blackish ick that is our grout.

    Can't wait to hear how it holds up! It's always nice to be able to show The Man that someone else has attempted my harebrained idea before, and had success!

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  3. Stop the bus! I can't believe it's the same floor!!! Amazing what hard work and determination can do for you. I look forward to the update and appreciate you sharing all your hard work with us! Go girlie GO!!!

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  4. I can't believe that it is the same floor!! It looks amazing and new!! I'd love to update the grout in my bathroom. Thanks for tutorial. I'll be looking into this for our bathroom. Thanks so much!!

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  5. I truly want to know how this holds up! I need to do my bathroom and this would be so worth the time as long as it stays that way!

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  6. This is perfect! I've been complaining about our grout since the day we moved into our new house. I just feel like white grout is easier to clean plus it looks crisper. I didn't even know this was possible until now. Roughly how much do you think this project cost you and what is the drying time?

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    1. The drying time isn't bad...you can carefully walk on it as soon as an hour after the colorant is applied. But I'd wait a full 24 hours to "not be careful"...and before it's mopped or anything.

      The colorant was less than $10 and the cleaner was around $5. This was a really powerful cleaner, which is why it costs so much more than the "normal" ones. So with the cotton swabs and everything, definitely less than $20. :)

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  7. What a great idea - they look like a whole new floor!!
    Kelly

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  8. Kristi, OMG, I had NO idea you could do this!!! Seriously, I have some rooms that are begging for something like this. Hopefully, I can find time to put this into action! Thank you SO much for sharing and pinning - plus I'll share this fab tip on FB and Twitter this week, too!!! Have a happy Sunday and a fabulous week!

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  9. Amazing update. I SO need to do this with my bathroom floor....but I'm procrastinating. I'd love if you'd link up to The DIYers! http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-diyers-28.html

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  10. I am just happy to learn about the degreaser. I won't mention how long it's been since I've cleaned our grout.

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  11. I really should clean up some of my tiles too - thanks for the reminder and for your tips, your tiles look great "after"!

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  12. This looks amazing, Kristi!! It must have taken you a while but SO worth it!

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  13. Wow that looks like new tile!! This is good to know - thanks for sharing!!

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  14. This is such a great tutorial Kristi and I love how bright and fresh your tile looks now!

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  15. I have this exact grout paint (have had it for more months than I would like to admit) and have been procrastinating the project since I have a huge (as in gigantic) space to do. Before I start the torture....umm...I mean project....I'd love an update to see how it's holding up. Is it still pretty white? Thanks for the great tutorial!

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    1. It has held up remarkably well...I just updated the post! :)

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  16. This looks & sounds labor intensive but what a sense of satisfaction when it's done! It's beautiful - I love the crisp clean look of white. Please Kristi, update soon so we know how it's holding up. Thanks.

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    1. It has held up remarkably well...I just updated the post! :)

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    2. How long before the stain fades and you have to do job over?

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  17. Ooooo, the grout looks fantastic! I just scrubbed my entrance floor (and it took For. Ev. Er!), because after this winder it was desperately needed! I told my other half that we needed to re-do the floor because the grout still looked gross. Needless to say, he wasn't too happy about that idea. He will certainly be happy again once I tell him about this idea though! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. thank you for this! definitely doing this to my tiles :) will let you know the result!

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  19. Just did my kitchen. How is yours holding up more than a year later?

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    1. It still looks great and cleans well! :) I'm actually thinking about doing it in my bathroom and entry hall in the new year!

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  20. Glad to hear it still looks great! I love how my kitchen turned out, just a little concerned about how long it will last. Sounds like chances are good that it will! Thanks for your reply!

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  21. How does it look now over a year later?

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    1. It still looks great and it's been two years since I dyed it at this point. I love it so much that I plan on doing it in other areas of our home...it's just s big time commitment to get it done. :)

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  22. I just did this in my kitchen, dining room, and hall bathroom. The previous owners used dark orange in the bathroom and dark mauve in the kitchen [I know!]. I bought two bottles of this in Antique White ....while my husband was in Germany on business I did this and I cannot get over the difference!! The tile is different in the bathroom but the same colour worked beautifully in all areas. I did two applications so technically the entire area I did was just a hair under 750 square feet. Not only did I only use one bottle but there's still some left in it; I will return the unopened one! The work is grueling and not for the impatient, but the payoff is stupendous! Love this product!!!

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  24. What if my grout has been sealed?

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