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The Home Depot

Cracked Grout Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Handyman > Cracked Grout Guide
Cracked Grout Guide

The grout between tiles has important duties to perform, whether the surface is on the floor, wall or countertop. If you notice that the grout between tiles is cracking, this indicates some potentially serious issues with the installation of your tile.


Whether you’re dealing with mildew on your grout or it’s just cracking in an unattractive way, it’s possible to remove the old grout and replace it with new grout.


Use a cracked grout guide to determine why your grout is cracking and how you should repair your tile. Once you determine the problem, you will know what you need to do to fix your tile and grout issues.

  1. You can determine which grout you require by checking the space between the tiles and noting the type of tiles you have installed.

    1.Reasons for Cracked Grout

    Before you repair your cracked grout, it’s wise to try to figure out why it’s cracking in the first place to make sure you don’t have a serious problem with your tile installation.


    One of the most common reasons that tile grout will crack involves the layer of thinset beneath the tiles. If this layer is too thin, your tiles will not adhere correctly to the backer board and they may move. This movement will cause the grout to crack over time.


    Another common reason for cracked grout is issues with the subfloor. Installing tile directly onto plywood without a layer of backer board between the tile and plywood can cause grout to crack. The only repair for this problem is to remove the tiles and install them properly onto backer board.


    In addition, if the backer board does not have a layer of thinset beneath it to adhere it to the plywood, as well as screws attaching it firmly to floor joists, your tiles may move.


    It’s also important to have expansion space around the perimeter of the room to enable walls to expand and contract seasonally. Without this space, pressure from the walls may cause tile to crack. Each joint in the tiles requires expansion space, also.

  3. 2.Repairing Cracked Grout

    If you determine that you need to fix cracked grout by removing the unsightly grout and replacing it with new grout, one of the most difficult tasks may be to match the existing grout exactly. You must also choose the correct type of grout for your tiles – grout might be sanded or unsanded, acrylic latex or epoxy. You can determine which grout you require by checking the space between the tiles and noting the type of tiles you have installed.


    The first step involves removing the cracked grout from between the tiles. As you work on this, take care not to damage the tiles. After cleaning out all the cracked grout, mix up the new grout to apply it to the tiles.


    Spread out the grout in a thin and even layer, pushing it between the tiles firmly. Remove any excess grout from the tiles with a damp sponge. Let the fresh grout dry until it shows a slight haze over the surface of the tile. Buff and shine the tiles to finish the job.


    Take care of cracking grout in a timely fashion to make sure that serious issues aren’t going on with your tile installation.

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