Grout can become discoloured over time with mould, cooking splashes, shower gel and shampoo residues taking their toll. Before you consider replacing the grout, try scrubbing it with sugar-soap or grout-cleaning spray and then, if necessary, use grout paint to make it white again. If this doesn’t do the trick, and you can’t live with the grout as it is, you’ll need to rake it out and replace it.
You may also need to replace grout if it wasn’t applied properly in the first place, if it has cracked and deteriorated, or you want a different colour. If you’re responsible for applying it poorly, make sure you do it right this time or get a tiler in. Removing grout is not a particularly nice task – it’s boring, repetitive and hard work – so don’t undertake it lightly.
Mould is usually black, but if you have brown mould on your grout, this may mean that water is getting in behind the tiles and penetrating the joints. If so, you’ll need to find – and remedy – the cause of the problem before regrouting, or get a plumber to.
You should use a grout rake to remove the grout, which is a small tool with replaceable blades. You’ll need to remove at least 2mm of the old grout (preferably 3mm) for regrouting to work, but it’s important not to scratch the tiles in the process or you’ll have to replace those as well.
Raking out the grout involves moving the rake from side to side and up and down along the joints. Unless you have tiled recently, the grout will be set hard so this will take some effort. Once you’ve raked out the grout from the whole tiled area, you’re ready to clean out the joints and regrout.
DIY NEWS BULLETIN
The new Dremel Driver gives you precision, control and power thanks to a variable-speed trigger and a T-handle design, yet it measures just 12.5cm, enabling you to work in tight areas where other screwdrivers won’t fit.
The driver is perfect for medium and light-duty DIY drilling and driving work, including mounting pictures on walls, installing lock sets and assembling flat-pack furniture (there are even two IKEA bits included in the kit).
Powered by a 7.2V lithium-ion battery, which ensures it’s lightweight, the Dremel Driver has a variable speed of 0-300rpm and an electronic brake, so it stops exactly when you want for maximum precision.
It also has a linear rmp ’ramp-up’ for extreme accuracy, especially at low rpm, and Longlife Electronic Cell Protection. This safeguards the battery from burnout, overheating and full depletion – there’s no ’memory effect’ so it should always be ready to use.
The Dremel Driver comes with a charger, eight driver bits and detachable storage so you can keep the bits to hand. It costs around £55 from DIY stores or online at www.dremel-direct.com.
If you’re planning to lay a wood floor any time soon, check out the seven new brushed and stained oak floors recently added by Kahrs to its Linnea Narrow range.
The floors include white-stained Oak Blanc, Oak Cloud and Biscuit, mid-toned Oak Honey and dark-toned Oak Amber, Coal and Coffee. Each board has a multi-layer construction comprising a wood-veneer surface, high-performance HDF core and wood-veneer bottom layer.
All the new floors have a brushed surface and stained matt lacquer pre-finish and come with a 12-year guarantee for surface wear. They’re also straightforward to fit – the company’s Woodlot(R) joint system ensures that gaps are minimised throughout installation and for the lifetime of the floor. To find out more, see www.kahrs.co.uk or call 023 9245 3045.
ASK THE EXPERT…
Q: I’ve got some blown plaster in my hall – what should I do about it?
A: You really need to replaster, or preferably get a plasterer to do it – plastering is hard for DIYers to get right. If you’re not putting any weight on the plaster, such as coat hooks, you could try papering over it with lining paper or wallpaper, which should keep it in, although this isn’t the ideal long-term solution.
The weather’s being unseasonably nice so get out into the garden, if you have one, and do any DIY you can out there, whether it’s sawing, sanding, stripping, painting or assembling something.