Dean and I recently undertook a huge grout cleaning project. We have tile in about 40% of our downstairs level. It’s a LOT of tile. And it looked dirty. Brown poo colored dirty. I’d used a couple of products in ‘test’ areas over the past year and hadn’t found anything to really clean our grout. It was especially bad in the kitchen – no shock since that is the most trafficked area of our home and a TON of messy things spill on the floor in there. It had been dark since we bought the house and it just always made the house look dirty, even when it was freshly mopped.
I’d looked for ideas online and came across blog posts on Young House Love and Chris Loves Julia that showed them using a grout ‘paint’ product to clean their grout. I checked our big box hardware store and they had it in stock. I believe the brand we used was Grout Renew in Biscuit color. A lot of the colors were dark and I wanted something lighter but not white.
So far, we’ve had it for about a month and we’re loving how it looks. It’s made such a difference in the downstairs and how much brighter the room looks. Plus it blends with the white Amtico flooring even better.
Here are some shots of the before and after:
1/ You can see how dirty it was before – this is a close up of the tile and grout.
2/ Here you can see what the original color of the grout was when the house was first built. It was a light gray-beige tone. You could still see the light color in the closets and close to the walls where there wasn’t much traffic.
3/ An official before picture – the wide angle
4/ After the first couple ‘shifts’ of application – what a difference!
5/ Here are aerial shots looking into our foyer and then into the ‘nook’ area. This area wasn’t as bad as the kitchen, but you can definitely see a difference in the before and after.
6/ The nook completely finished.
And here are pictures of the process. I have to give a shout out to my husband for coming up with this technique. If we were still using my technique, we’d still be working on this. My process was to paint a thin strip, take a craft brush and paint a couple lines carefully working to stay in the lines. Then immediately wiping the wet edges with paper towels.
Dean taught me that if you just brush quickly and really fill it in and let it dry, then you can come back later with a scruffy pad and scrape off the edges. This way worked MUCH faster. We did 3x the amount of surface his way than mine.
Below you can see the thin bead of paint – a little goes a long way with this stuff an a lot of my beads had breaks in them and I had excess paint that I scraped into other areas. You can also see how we painted outside the lines to let it dry. Then after letting it dry for a while – maybe an hour or so – we’d come back with the green scrub pad and scrape it up. If it was really stuck for drying too long, we’d slightly wet the pad and it would help.
Tricks for doing it this way: Have a bunch of green pads. Work in sections – we worked one way top to bottom and then after about an hour, let the second person start doing the scrub off while the second person continues with the painting. Go back when you have good natural light and double check for areas you might have missed some wipe off. Sometimes when its still wet or you wet your pad, you’ll scrape up the paint – go back and just do a very careful touch up in those areas wiping the excess immediately while it’s still wet.
It took us about 10 hours for us to do this. Sometimes we were working separately – one doing bath duty while the other worked. But for 70%, I’d say we both worked together. So definitely time consuming. Of course, we had a huge chunk of s.f. to cover so we weren’t just doing one little bathroom. We did a foyer, hallway, half bath, nook into the garage and kitchen with eat-in area.
Afterwards, we bought a separate grout sealer and did a quick pass on everything. Because this was clear and had a built in brush tip, it went on very quickly. (Even though the product has a built-in sealer, we wanted the extra layer of protection. My knees can’t handle 10 more hours of grout painting anytime soon!)
Overall, we love the results and it is still looking brand new after a few moppings!