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.
How to Re-Grout and Re-Caulk Your Shower – Step by Step
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.
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!
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 lying 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. 😉
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.
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.
Next up: the new grout! So my pal Eric recommended I used Spectralock Grout (Amazon link). Apparently it’s good for bathrooms…
In addition to the tub pictured above (PART AB) – Amazon link, you need to buy some color (PART C) – Amazon link.
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:
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.
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.)
Depending how frustrated you are, you could REALLY give this grout “the finger” if you know what I mean, but I choose to keep this site family-friendly, so we’ll move along.
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.
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!
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.
(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.
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!)
Oh hey look – it’s NO mildew! How awesome is that?!
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?
And one more…
EDITED TO ADD: The total cost of supplies spent on this project was right around $50, so not bad methinks!
74 thoughts on “How I Re-Grouted My Shower For Under $50”
Great job! It really looks fab! I would have been so nervous, but you totally tackled it like a pro!
Super job!!! Take a bow! I just did this yesterday and found your post to encourage me to do get to the fun part…the finishing touches. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to take photos and write about your accomplishment! Bravo!
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?
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.
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.
Of course, I could be wrong – remember, I’m not a pro! 😉
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.
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!
OK so I’m not alone on the anxiety thing, then! HA HA! It is totally a feeling of accomplishment!
I’m so inspired by your work. My husband and I have just barely managed to buy a house after living in a tiny 2 bedroom flat with our boys. Now every penny we save goes into renovating the house – but every tradesman we’ve had does a shoddy job with very poor finishing.
I wish I had the confidence to have a go myself!!
OMGeee…I totally need to do this.
Thanks for the inspiration!
HIGH FIVE, Angela!! Way to go, girl. It looks beautiful.
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!
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!!!
It’ll be our secret! 🙂
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.
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. 😉
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 https://www.nugrout.com. I highly recommend them.
Are you associated with this company in any way?
Isn’t “a sight for sore eyes” a good thing?
I need to do this with my gross shower! This is helpful and inspirational!
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?
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. 😉
Ok, you’ve just inspired me to re caulk & re grout! I can do this!
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!
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.
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!).
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.
Hi Melissa, I just scored it – would be really tough to remove it entirely and from what I’ve understood, not necessary. Good luck!!
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!
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!! 🙂
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.
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
Same goes for me, I’ve been researching & trying to figure out how to do this & seeing some one without a lot of experience ( just like me☺️) tackle it gives me the courage to give it a go. Thanks for sharing a “real” post for “real” people
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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! !!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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??
That’s what I was wondering too….thanks for answering
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?
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.
How did it go? I wish this conversation was still going now – I need these people!! haha
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?
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!
Hey, don’t normally post but this was very helpful. Also it looks great. Thanks for taking the time to post
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!
I would love to follow your blog but the number of ads popping up and covering the content make it unreadable
I’m really impressed with the outcome! Thank you for taking the time to talk about each step, include a tip – and not to mention the ever so helpful photos!
My name is Donna and I’m with Pro Home 1– a remodeling contractor from the Chicago, IL suburbs. We recently discussed a similar topic on one of our blogs and I was wondering if I can share it on your website?
Here it is: https://www.prohome1.com/en/howtos/how-to-re-grout-ceramic-tiles.html
Thanks you so much! All the best from the Windy City!
I always say that I am more particular than any man when it comes to home improvements. I pretty much do everything by myself. What’s important is to watch some YouTub vids for the topic and make a list of proper tools. I don’t skimp on tools since I know I’ll still save 90% of the cost then if I call a handyman to come in and do it…plus I’ll do it better. My grouting would have cost $1000 from a handyman and it only costs me 76 dollars total ….and I bought a tool for 37 dollars to make it as easy as possible. I also recommend spraying a sealer at the end to make your work as long as possible without mildew. Good luck.
So it’s been about 3 years, or maybe more, since you posted this. How is the grout and caulk in your shower holding up now? Can we get an update pls? Thank you.
I want to thank you because your post saved my life. I was struggling with the same problem, trying everything there is with no success. After I read your post I was so motivated and gave it a try. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVEEEEEER. My shower looks like new! Thank you so so much. I wish I could post a picture of my before and after. I’ll never thank you enough for sharing this.
Oh my goodness! Thank you for leaving this comment!!
Nice work and really motivating like everyone has been saying. I am wanting to do my rental bathroom.. Can you show us any current photos of the work? How it held up? Thank you for posting!
Awesome blog. Once the old caulk is gone, remove any loose grout between the walls and the tub or shower floor. Treat any mold in the grout along the wall/tub gap with a mold-killing product. Scrub the grout and then rinse off the mold killer with water and let it dry (use a hair dryer to speed the drying).
It was so generous of you to take the time to explain the step-by-step procedure with photos! I am not at all ‘handy”, but with your guidance, feel that I can actually complete this project in a decent manner. Thanks so much for your patience and help as well as for sharing your experience!
Really would like to hear how your shower has held up? If you already responded, I must have missed it. Please reply again.
What was the vinegar to water ratio you used? I just started scraping out my grout….
Thank you Angela for sharing some refreshingly real techniques, for those of us tackling projects without much in the way of tools and without the help of a husband, father, brother, etc.. Previously, I had read about the ways the pros attack this task and I thought about giving grout the finger
An authentic and really clear description of a project that is looming for me too, Angela.
Your honest approach to the less-than-pretty aspects of regrouting is refreshing, and, I have to say, it inspires to me take on my own shower.
I just finished regrouting 3 bathroom floors. I had never done it before. I started with a guest bathroom because it was the smallest of the three and thought If i screw up this would be the least expensive one to fix ! I just regrouted my shower floor and like you lots of mold. I am going to redo the caulk this week after I remove it. I am debating on re grouting the walls!
I am 74 years old and my bathroom upstairs has to be re grouted and sealed. Do you recommend anybody who could redo it for me
This is really to good information about the grout caulk a shower thanks sharing this amazing article an help us
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