Home Maintenance – Grout

Home Maintenance

Performing regular home maintenance is the best way to ensure you get the best price when you go to sell your home. Even if you aren’t selling it things will just last longer if you maintain them. Grout is one of those things that gets overlooked in your home. Spend a few minutes checking yours.

Grout – We don’t really think about the grout in your home, notice it’s color, how it ties bathrooms and kitchens together, quietly doing its job until it is dirty, ugly and worn. Then ugly grout can bring an entire room down.
Grout has many purposes: it keeps tiles in place, prevents them from cracking and chipping on the sides, gives strength and form to surfaces, and prevents water seepage. On top of that, it can make tiles stand out, or blend them beautifully with the perfect width and color. It also breaks down over time, because it is more porous, and constantly subjected to water and scrubbing. Here’s how to keep the grout in your home looking beautiful and clean for a really pretty bathroom.

Replacing Grout
If your grout is chipped, cracked or missing in places you need to replace it. You can take a sample to the local hardware store and get recommendations on what to use to patch it, and follow the manufacturer directions. Replacing patches of grout is an easier DOI project than replacing and entire surface of grout, but it can be done as a weekend project. 

Cleaning Grout
After replacing worn grout, or if you only need to clean existing grout, use a degreaser  and stiff bristled brush. Find a good balance between stiff bristles and one that will scratch the grout away. Other cleaning agent options are a baking soda paste or vinegar. Then line by line, tile by tile, work your way over the grout in a circular motion. For persistent, dark stains use a bleaching scrub, or a few drops of straight bleach. Test a hidden area for colorfastness, first. Let it stand for a few minutes, then wash off.  There are also a couple steamers out there made especially for grout that work really good for those big jobs.

Sealing Grout
Once you have cleaned the grout to your satisfaction, it is time to seal it. Be sure that the grout is completely free of any solvents or cleaners and thoroughly dry. Buy a commercial grout sealant, and with a box of cotton swabs handy, carefully seal each grout line. “Penetrating Sealants” are recommended for being longer lasting and less porous.
Grout is obviously an important part of a bathroom, and maintaining it yearly boils down to invested time well spent.

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