I sure do love a nice, bright and clean-feeling bathroom. I can’t count the number of apartments I have lived in where the bathroom tile just looked really gross. And I could never do anything about it while being a renter (this was one of the many moments when I knew I was meant to be a project-doing homeowner one day!). Now I finally have a house that I adore — although not everything made the cut during our renovations. This super simple technique — of basically repainting the grout without having to redo all of your tile — came to my rescue. Read on below to learn how! ––Erica Loesing
Photography by Kimberly Murray
Tools and Materials
-Quite a bit of time (So, maybe your favorite show to binge-watch…)
I had previously tried everything under the rainbow to clean this grout. I think it was originally a light beige? But it had been stained and who knows what else over its years. I finally found Polyblend GroutRenew at my local hardware store and decided to give it a try.
Magic! It’s inexpensive (around $12), and it comes in a whole lot of colors. I decided to use the Bright White in the shower (really just to touch up a few spots) + glass block and Delorean Gray on the floors (in hindsight, I wish I would have gone a little bit lighter here, especially since it does dry a bit darker than when wet, but on the other hand, it will hopefully continue to look clean). The only prep work I did was to clean the tiled areas really well to assure the product would adhere, shake the bottle well, and then I chose to pour the paint into a little dish to avoid having to dip my brush down into the bottle.
This project is seriously as simple as painting over the existing grout and letting it dry. (The bottle suggests 24 hours, so you may want to work in phases if you need access to the room you’re working on.) A good opportunity to catch up on my favorite show!
Rather than take my time painting exactly within the lines, I did each line more quickly with a little cheap brush, making sure to cover all areas, then used a tiny square of toilet paper to wipe the edges as I went. I could paint one full side of a square tile before wiping (any longer and it starts to dry). I just found this to be much more rewarding: going faster and not having to be as precise.
The GroutRenew wipes off of the tile very easily when wet, and even when it dries I could use my fingernail to touch-up if I needed. I did the same process for all areas of the tile. Keep in mind that the more contrast between your tile and paint color, the more visible your mistakes will be if you don’t wipe it clean.
I’ve seen samples where people successfully went over dark grout with white paint, or the reverse. And all of the reviews are glowing, even over time. I completed this project months ago and it still looks just as good as when I did it. Everything the product promised has rung true so far — yay!
The most dramatic change was the glass block window. The white grout had turned more of a clay color over time (so gross), so getting that back to its intended white makes such a difference. The whole bathroom just feels so much cleaner and brighter! I then even learned how to re-caulk the tub and tackled that, too. So easy!
In a perfect world, I would replace this tile with something really awesome, but for now, and only a few dollars, this has been such a great alternative. Good luck!