How To Paint The Grout In A Tile Floor With A Grout Colorant

Grout Painting Tips

By Troy Cantini

Many tile floors have beautiful looking tiles but the grout has become impossible to clean.  Ugly, stained, damaged and cracked grout can ruin the look of a tile floor. Painting the grout with a grout colorant is often times the only way to restore the original look and color of the grout. Painting the grout will also serve to seal and protect the grout and make it much easier to clean and maintain.

painting grout

Grout colorants serve to seal and color grout and protect it from becoming stained again.  Grout colorants also seal small cracks and holes in grout and will also strengthen the existing grout. After the grout lines have been painted then the grout will be much easier to clean and maintain. Only ceramic and porcelain tile floors can be painted with a grout colorant. Porous stone tiles will absorb the grout colorant and become stained with the grout colorant. Sometimes some relatively non-porous stone tile grout can be painted but you should always test the tiles first to ensure the porous tiles do not absorb the grout colorant.

Painting grout is not too difficult for most DIY homeowners but it is important that it is done properly.  If the procedure is not done properly then the grout colorant will not properly adhere to the grout. Also if the grout colorant is not properly removed from the tiles in a timely manner then it can be extremely difficult to remove later on.

dirty grout before cleaning

Before painting the grout is important to thoroughly clean the tiles and grout.  Grout colorants are manufactured to bond with the silica in the grout and if the grout is not properly cleaned then it will not properly bond with the grout. You should first scrub the grout lines clean with an alkaline tile and grout cleaner to remove all the dirt grease and grime from the tiles and grout.

After cleaning the grout with an alkaline cleaner an acidic cleaner should be used on the grout lines.  The acidic cleaner will help to open up the pores of the grout and increase the bonding strength between the grout colorant and the grout. The acidic cleaning step is not mandatory but it does help to increase the bonding strength between the grout colorant and the grout.

painting grout lines with toothbrush

After cleaning the grout then you should allow the grout to dry before painting it.  Most grout colorant kits will include some type of applicator tool to paint the grout with. In many cases these applicator tools are difficult and confusing to use. The simplest method for painting the grout lines is to simply use a toothbrush.

Dipping the toothbrush into the grout colorant and brushing it into the grout lines is the easiest method for painting grout.  Do not worry about getting excess grout colorant on the surface of the tiles. It is important to only apply the grout colorant to small sections of the grout at a time. You do not want the grout colorant to dry on the surface of the tiles before it has been removed.

removing excess paint from tiles

After you have applied the grout colorant to a small section of grout then it is important to quickly remove the excess grout colorant off of the surface of the tiles.  If the grout colorant is allowed to dry on the surface of the tiles then it can be extremely difficult to remove later.

A damp chamois cloth is the preferred cloth for removing the excess grout colorant.  You can fold the chamois towel up first and then as a side of it becomes saturated with the grout colorant then you can use another side of the chamois to continue wiping away the excess grout colorant. Ensure that all of the grout colorant has been removed from a section of tiles before moving on to the next section of tiles. A grout colorant haze will form on the tiles and this can be removed after you have finished painting all of the grout.

Continue painting all of the grout lines and removing the excess grout colorant until you have finished the entire tile floor.  You should allow the grout colorant 20 minutes to dry and then inspect all of the grout lines. In many cases a second coat will help to completely cover the grout and even out the color of the painted grout. In some areas of high grout lines the grout colorant on the grout will get wiped away when removing it from the tiles. It may be necessary to use a small paint brush to delicately paint these grout lines without getting any grout colorant on the surrounding tiles. Also larger cracks and holes in the grout may require additional coats of grout colorant to completely fill.

tile floor with white painted grout

The last step in the procedure is to remove the grout colorant haze off the surface of the tiles.  A clean damp cotton towel or wad of damp paper towels can be used to remove the grout colorant haze. Do not use too much water or pressure on the grout lines when removing the grout colorant haze. You do not want to damage the freshly painted grout lines.

After you have cleaned up all of the grout colorant haze then you should closely inspect the tile floor from all different angles and light sources to ensure that all of the grout colorant haze has been removed.  A diluted alkaline cleaning solution or some isopropyl alcohol can be used to help in removing some of the hard to remove grout colorant haze.

After the grout has been painted then it is best to not walk on the tile floor with shoes for 24 hours.  Walking on the tiles with socks will not damage the painted grout after an hour or two of drying time. It will usually take 48 hours for the grout colorant to totally cure and dry. During this time you should be careful not to spill anything on the grout or get any dirt on the grout.

Cleaning a tile floor with painted grout is best done with a soft scrub brush and a pH neutral tile and grout cleaning product.  Dirt and stains will be easy clean off the painted grout lines so aggressive cleaning products and procedures are not necessary. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your painted grout will help keep it clean and looking new for many years to come.

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