How I Re-Grouted and Re-Caulked My Shower

How to Re-Grout and Re-Caulk your Shower

How to Re-Grout and Re-Caulk Your Shower – Step by Step

WARNING: Gross mildew pictures ahead. If you are eating or are overly sensitive to disgusting things, you might want to skip this post.

For awhile now, I’ve been really discouraged about my shower.

You know you try this product or that to clean it, but it just NEVER looks clean? Well, that’s why I got it into my head about a week ago to re-grout and re-caulk the entire thing. A little background, about me. I’m not a DIY’er. I usually leave tasks that involve trips to the Home Depot or power tools to the Husband. But I thought, “Angela, why don’t you do this yourself? It will be good for you. You might just learn something.” So that is exactly what I did.

I debated calling this post “How to re-grout your shower,” but it’s more “How I re-grouted my shower.” I’m not a pro (as you’ll soon discover), but my goal here today is to inspire you to take up a task or two around the house you’ve been putting off. It might not be so scary/hard/expensive as you thought.

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Yeah, folks. It was that bad. I don’t care what you say, all the baking soda, vinegar, bleach, or Scrubbing Bubbles ain’t gonna clean that.

So I started by removing all the caulking. This was a rather tedious project, but not difficult. I just used a razor and slipped it under the sides of the caulking.

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Want to see something truly nasty?

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This was both disgusting and delightful at the same time. Disgusting, for the reasons you might imagine and delightful knowing I was actually finally addressing the root of the problem!

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Apparently I didn’t take ANY pictures of me removing the grout. Sorry guys! I have to admit, this was a rather messy process and it wasn’t so easy to drop, stop, and pick up the camera. But I can tell you I used a tool very similar to the one pictured above (found on Amazon for about $5). I paid about $2.98 for it at Lowe’s (you can see it in the photo below laying on the shower floor). The idea is to go over all the existing grout and wear it down a bit. You can also use a power tool for this, but I opted for the cheapie method. 😉

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While this part of the process wasn’t difficult, it was time consuming and messy. One of the best things I did was to bring the shop vac into the bathroom to suck up the bits of caulking and grout dust as I went. I would say I spent about 3 hours or so removing the grout and caulking.

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After that, I went over the gaps where mildew had been with a solution of bleach water and a stiff brush. You could also use vinegar, too. From here, I let everything sit and dry for a full day. The new caulking and grout must be applied on DRY surfaces.

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Next up: the new grout! So my pal Eric at Solid Rock Construction recommended I used Spectralock Grout (Amazon link). Apparently it’s good for bathrooms…

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In addition to the tub pictured above (PART AB) – Amazon link, you need to buy some color (PART C) – Amazon link.

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This is where I admittedly started to get a little nervous. I don’t know why I get nervous about these things, but I do. Maybe I’m afraid I’m going to screw it up and then we’re going to have to pay big money to fix my mistakes, I’m not sure. So I took a deep breath, read the instructions and started. Here’s my grout all mixed up:

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I mixed all the contents of the bucket and the color together. The instructions said I could’ve used a little less color if I wanted a “wetter” application and in hindsight, I wish I would’ve gone that route. My mixture turned out a bit gritty.

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I used a cheapie $3 grout float for this project, but there are fancier ones, too. To be honest, this part did NOT go as pretty as the YouTube videos promised. Maybe it’s because the grout spacing in my shower was so small. Or maybe it was because my mixture was a bit grittier than I anticipated. Or maybe….who knows, but the project started turning messy and I had a mini panic attack right there in the shower.

What didn’t help is that you only have a short window of time to apply the grout and clean the grout of the tiles. So no pressure, Angela, but the clock is ticking.

In my moment of panic, I thought about going to my husband, calling him in for reinforcement. Then I thought to myself, NO. I WILL do this. The whole point was for ME to learn to do this, and I will get it done, come hell or highwater.

With my new found resolve, I developed a new grout application technique. It’s called using your finger and jamming the grout in the cracks. (Contractors of the world, observe.)

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Depending how frustrated you are, you could REALLY give this grout “the finger” if you know what I mean, but I would choose to keep this site family-friendly, so we’ll move along.

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Now you will notice the grout makes a mess on your tile. You’ll want to clean this up! Make sure to have a bucket of vinegar-water solution and a clean sponge prepped. After the grout has set for about 20-30 minutes, wring out your sponge really good and lightly go over the tile in circular motions.

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After about an hour, go over the entire surface a second time for a final cleaning. I have to admit, at this point, I was pretty darn proud of myself that I’d not panicked and completed the grouting!

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I let the grout sit for yes, another day, before caulking. Again, you don’t want the caulk going on a wet surface! Now, I’d NEVER caulked before, but I found this short YouTube video very helpful for how to load a caulking gun. Oh! And make sure you’re using caulk specific for a shower/tub – you want something that can withstand the water.

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(I did a better job than that, but I was trying to take a picture with the other hand to give you an idea.)

So word to the wise, when you cut off the tip of the caulking, start small. I suspect I cut mine just a little too big because I had a pretty thick thing of caulking shooting out. And also, get ready. When you place the caulk into the gun, caulk may just start oozing out. This happened to me and I was completely unprepared. Messy! PS – If you don’t have a caulking gun, this one on Amazon is priced around $10 and gets great reviews.

Basically you are going to apply gentle pressure on the gun and move the caulk down over the areas you want caulked. I then just used my finger to smooth the caulk down (dipping it every now and then in a bowl of warm water). You could also use a tool, but I didn’t think it was necessary.

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Let the caulk dry for 72 hours before using. At this point, I’m sooooo ready to use my shower again! (And my friends were about to say the same!)

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Oh hey look – it’s NO mildew! How awesome is that?!

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Not gonna lie. I’m proud of myself! I feel empowered to tackle other projects around the house that I’ve previously been intimidated about.

Let’s observe the final results, shall we?

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And one more…

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If you liked this post, consider following my Spring Cleaning – Frugal Style board on Pinterest.

EDITED TO ADD: The total cost of supplies spent on this project was right around $50, so not bad methinks!

Here are a few other DIY home improvement projects I’ve attempted:

How I cleaned up car's upholstery for less than $10 - Shopping the Dollar Store

How I Cleaned My Car’s Upholstery for Less Than $10

familyportrait

How to Easily Create a Family Portrait Wall


Comments

  1. sarah says

    We have purchased everything for this project but haven’t gotten around to actually doing it. We bought grout dealer as well, is there a reason you didn’t use any of that on this project?

    • Angela Russell says

      Do you mean grout sealer? If so – the kind of grout I used didn’t require any – at least according to the bucket picture “never needs sealing.” Hmmmm.

      • sarah says

        I’ll have to look at what we have. The sealer was the most expensive part so maybe we should exchange the grout for a more expensive type that doesn’t require sealing.

          • says

            No sealer required for the SpectraLock grout you used. It’s an expoxy based grout (part A and B mixture) which completely hardens and it not porous like standard grout.

  2. says

    Great job! You so reminded me of myself when I decided to faux paint my bathroom with 3 colors…I seriously started the second color and my heart started beating so fast…I had to leave the room, take deep breaths and go back at it as you have to keep moving or the artistic (LOL) aspect won’t work. I felt so accomplished when it was done but the anxiety it created makes me wonder if I will ever do it again. Thanks for sharing!

    • Angela Russell says

      OK so I’m not alone on the anxiety thing, then! HA HA! It is totally a feeling of accomplishment!

  3. Sheila M. says

    Yes! I would love to see more posts like this. After I rescued a fork from the pipes under my kitchen sink I felt like I should have been awarded a medal. (My husband was willing to do the job…but while he was headed to the garage for a pipe wrench, I was able to unscrew the plastic fitting by hand.) ‘Trying something new’ takes all forms….even small home repair. Well done!

  4. Janeen W. says

    I have been nagging my husband for months to do this in our shower and I have been thinking I’m done waiting for him, I’ll do it myself! And having read this, I think I can!! :-) P.S. If I totally screw it up I promise not to mention this post, haha!!!

  5. says

    Just read the post and you did a great job! Absolutely done like a pro, including the finger thing rather than a float on wall tile. Often I’ll just smear all over with my hands since it continually falls off the wall.

    • Angela Russell says

      For real?! And here I thought I’d come up with some new-fangled technique! Thanks for the vote of confidence, Eric! I have to say, the shower has stayed nice and tidy since then. 😉

  6. Richard Black says

    My bathroom tiles were a sight for sore eyes: the grout was stained and looked filthy. Sadly I couldn’t afford to replace the grout for the entire bathroom. I found out about Nugrout products and decided to give it a try. I am amazed by how new my bathroom now looks with the new grout color, and how affordable the entire process was. Check out their website at http://www.nugrout.com. I highly recommend them.

  7. Diana says

    I see that your shower is next to another tiled area (for me it’s my tub). What did you do about matching/blending the grout where the new grout meets the old?

    • Angela Russell says

      You know, it’s not such a big deal b/c the tile for the bath is on the other side of the shower door – so it actually was pretty easy to not have to worry to keep it all matched up just perfect. 😉

  8. Julie W says

    This is exactly the project I have been putting off all summer because I was nervous about taking the first step!
    Just what I needed to see, from someone other than a “pro”, at just the right time. thanks!

  9. Liisa says

    Wow! Our shower needs regrouting AND the counters in the bathrooms. We are thinking they never were sealed property when they were first done. But, have you ever tried a kitchen counter? We really would like granite, but it is mucho bucks!! So this would be a compromise. But we would have to use sealer.

  10. John says

    Thanks so much! I really enjoyed your comments and detail. I feel confident I can do this when the time comes (waiting to close on a house now!).

  11. Melissa says

    I wish there were a few pictures of you removing the grout! Do you use the tool just to create a few seams so that the new grout seals on top or does the tool actually remove the grout from between the tiles completely? I have re-caulked a few times but this fall is the time to bite the bulllet and do the entire project before my son comes home from college for winter break.

    • Angela Russell says

      Hi Melissa, I just scored it – would be really tough to remove it entirely and from what I’ve understood, not necessary. Good luck!!

  12. Sherry says

    You have inspired me!
    What is your shower floor made of? Is it tile like the walls? I have a mold/mildew problem along with missing grout on my shower floor which is tile. I am trying to decide if I should grout or caulk the floor.
    Your shower looks great!

    • Angela Russell says

      I’m not sure how to describe it… but it’s a single piece – like a basin of some sort. Not individual tiles. Thanks for the compliment and trust me… I’m sooooo NOT handy, so if I can do this, really anyone could. It’s just more tedious work than technical. Good luck!! :)

  13. KC says

    Did you do anything to the shower door? I have the same problem on the seal around the glass. Mold/mildew is under the seal and I can’t get it out.

  14. kamy says

    WOW, that was awesome… I cannot wait to try this, I have been researching for about a week now on how to do this and I must admit you made it real.

    Thanks in advance I can’t wait to try this on my bathroom

  15. Conchi says

    Great article! It’s a breath of fresh air to see other women tackle projects like these. I wanted to add some more advice for those who are following in your footsteps. My husband and I re-tiled our bathroom a few years ago and just re-grouted and caulked again. We learned that the kind of caulking mattered! What we had used previously had dried and hardened and when I was scraping it off it was almost like grout. This time my hubby found caulk that was 100% silicone. It’s a bit messier and a bit harder to clean up, but it looks way more professional. Also, it’s a mold free product. The caulking tool you mentioned was essential when using this stuff.
    Great job on your project and thanks for documenting it here.

  16. says

    I don’t know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering problems
    with your website. It looks like some of the text within your
    posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me
    know if this is happening to them as well? This
    could be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Kudos

  17. cher says

    I’m on a fixed income, get paid monthly, & am going to start
    gettin the supplies gradually so by april i can tackle the job. can’t wait! instead of being nervous I’m excited! Yours is the first post I’ve looked at and am sticking to yours. You did a great job explaining, taking pics , showing what products to buy, etc. etc! If I can install a new kitchen faucet (about ten yrs. ago) I can regrout & caulk. Thank you so much!

  18. Jennifer says

    Love the before and after shots cause it gives me hope! Not sure if ever bit of grout needs to come out(?). Loved your instructions and they made me laugh…with all projects I always end up using my fingers too instead of some tool and it works very well if not better sometimes because you can really feel what’s going on. I am ready and determined! Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. SILVIA says

    This was a great post. Where you also able to re-caulk underneath the shower doors? I have 2 acrylic walls and 2 glass shower doors.
    Thanks.
    Silvia

  20. Patricia says

    I’ve been trying to do this for about a year now. I re caulked around 5 months after we moved in but it really needs an overhaul. My issue is working on the shower with twin 2 year olds running around.

    Any tips? Funds are tight so a sitter is not an option and friends have their own kids to worry about.

  21. says

    I am about to tackle this myself, and I have built an entire house! This scares me! I’ve never done real tiles before! Thank you for the walk through of where the panic attacks will be, this way I can stop right before there and breathe! LOL

  22. bblackmoor says

    Thanks for posting your experience. I have been getting increasingly grossed out by our shower door, and you have reassured me that I can handle the job.

  23. Joanna says

    Thank you for being my inspiration. I have a very similar shower to yours, and it did need some tlc.
    I would never think I could regrouting by myself but with your instructions and tips ( e.g.dabbing in grout with your finger) I did it!
    Shower looks so much better now. Thank you! !!

  24. Sarah says

    Loved your post! Very informative and fun to read :). Up until this point Ive paid for someone to come in and do these things for me, but I decided that it was time to tackle something myself! Just was looking for tips when I saw your post. I particularly enjoyed the “chocolate” listed under ingredients haha. Thank for the tips and wish me luck on my project!

  25. daisy says

    What a nice post! It’s detailed and fun to read. I bought a big deal coupon from Angieslist a few days ago to hire someone to regrout and recaulk my shower stall just like yours. I hope that this guy can do as good a job as yours. I may want to remove the old caulking myself to be sure. The guy that I hired before just put new caulk onto the old caulk with mildew!

    Thank you so much!

  26. Kelly says

    I regrouted and recaulked our tile shower a few years ago with a similar process. It looks like it’s time to regrout and recaulk again (caulk is peeling away and mildew has built up again around the caulk, especially where it is coming loose). Has anyone found that this is a process that just needs to be repeated every few years? If not, I need to look into what I have done wrong!

  27. John B says

    This may be a stupid question, but why did you add caulking over grout? I thought you would need one or the other, but not both.

    • Vicki says

      You don’t put the caulk over the grout. You grout between the tiles except in the corners where the walls meet and along the bottom where the tiles meet the floor/tub. You put caulk in these locations.

      • Mick says

        ok, appears your grout was white but what if you had to use a colored grout, how would you match the color of the applied grout, i.e. you would need a caulk that is exact same color? when you research this on web, you see folks making their own caulk and using a bag with slit in corner to apply. why haven’t companies that make this stuff realized this problem??

  28. says

    I am just about to tackle a project like this in my own bathroom. So now that it has been 2 years since this post, how did the new grout hold up? Any mildew come back?

  29. Vic says

    I remember reading this two years ago. I searched for it today so that I can “motivate” myself to get it done. And…it looks like I’m starting my caulking project tomorrow.

  30. Coulinjo says

    This is inspirational but I used a Dremmel to get out all old mildewy grout. I started at the top of the shower but when I got to the bottom, I realised that it was soft and wet and falling out. I wish I’d seen that before I started! Taps are leaking inside the wall because the spindles are behind the tiles and everything is cemented in! No way to get everything out to change washers without taking off tiles and cracking off cement. It’s a rental so if I break anything, I may be up for the whole job. That’s ok – I’ll telll landlord, but int he meantime, is there a way to fill the gaps between tiles? I turned water off from Friday to Sunday and nowhere near dry. The minute I turn the water on, even to fill bowls etc., the shower taps leak enough water to wash out the grout between tiles. I showed photos at a hardware store and they advised to leave well alone – except I need to get it back to usable. Any ideas?

  31. Sebastian Michaelis says

    I am presently living in a house that was constructed in 1985. To my knowledge the bathroom shower and tub caulking has never been replaced. I would say the shower and tub are made out of some sort of acrylic. This bathtub/shower is not one unit. Each wall are joined together with each other as well as being joined to the tub as well.
    I was wondering what the best way to remove the old caulking? Also, what is the best product to reseal the joints once they are cleaned up? Thanks in advance for any insight you might provide!

  32. James says

    Hey, don’t normally post but this was very helpful. Also it looks great. Thanks for taking the time to post

  33. Joyce says

    Hi,

    Thanks so much for the detailed instructions! You rock! ‘m putting on my “big girl panties” to tackle this one! Did you do any prep work on the tiles before you grouted. I’m removing the caulk, but not sure how to tackle the tiles. Let me know. Thanks!

  34. Innocent bystander says

    I would love to follow your blog but the number of ads popping up and covering the content make it unreadable

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