62% of Australians shower every day. There’s no doubt that showers across the country are seeing regular use. But do you ever pay attention to the grout during one of your daily showers?
It’s easy to ignore. But unfortunately, it could cost you. If you don’t replace old shower grout, this could lead to mould and water damage in your future.
But when should you regrout tile in your shower anyway? Believe it or not, grout has a lifespan. Read on to discover when to replace your grout, as well as some ways you can protect it.
1. Why Should You Regrout Tile?
Grout acts like a buffer between shower tile. Moisture and heat from your shower will cause your tiles to expand. Flexible grout prevents these ceramic or porcelain squares from bumping against each other.
However, grout plays an important secondary role. With the help of your tiles, it creates a waterproof seal to keep water off your walls and directs it down the drain.
But as grout ages, it starts to lose some of these properties. Water can sneak between the tiles and infiltrate the wall. This will immediately lead to water damage.
When left untreated, mould and mildew can form beneath the tiles or behind the wall. You could be looking at a hefty repair bill once you discover the damage resulting from old grout. Worst of all, you aren’t likely to notice signs of water or mould damage until it’s too late.
2. When Should You Regrout Your Tile?
Grout doesn’t last forever. You can expect a lifespan between eight and sixteen years. Its lifespan will vary depending on how you treat your shower.
Odds are, you have no idea when your grout was installed. That’s okay. Its lifespan fluctuates too much to make this a viable rule of thumb.
Instead, you should perform a visual inspection from time to time. Grout’s silky white sheen will only last for a few years. Over time, water stains and other contaminants will discolour the grout.
And unfortunately, these aren’t easy to remove. Cleaning solutions can sometimes erase the faded colours, but it’s not a sure thing.
In general, discoloured grout is still effective — even if it’s unsightly.
There are two clear signs that you need to regrout tile. The first is the presence of mould. If mould is growing on grout, it could be growing behind it, too.
No mould? Great. Next, pay attention to the texture of the grout.
It should be smooth. If it starts to crumble away when you apply moderate pressure with your fingernail, then that grout needs to go.
3. How to Protect Your Grout
Remember how grout’s lifespan varies based on how you treat it? Let’s cover ways you can get the maximum lifespan out of your grout.
Although grout creates a waterproof seal, the heat and moisture cause it to break down. There’s no avoiding either of these any time you take a shower. However, you can limit some of it.
Always run your bathroom’s exhaust fan while you shower. This will ventilate the bathroom and send some of the steam away. After the shower, it’s a good idea to keep the fan running for a few minutes to eliminate any remaining moisture.
Want to take it a step further? Wipe down the shower tiles with a towel. Your exhaust fan is powerful, but it doesn’t erase the water beading on the tiles and grout after a shower.
Lastly, use a shower cleaner from time to time. This can sometimes eliminate discolouration but also keep mould and mildew at bay, which would otherwise devour grout.
Don’t use acidic or basic solutions on your grout as these can damage it. That means you should avoid things like bleach or all-purpose cleaners. Although convenient, they’ll do more harm than good.
4. How to Seal Shower Tile Grout
You should leave regrouting shower tile to the pros. It’s both difficult and time-consuming. Most homeowners don’t know how to regrout tile, and doing it incorrectly could lead to worse problems down the road.
However, do you know how to apply grout sealer? It’s something you should do annually to prolong the life of your existing grout.
What is grout sealer, anyway? It’s a water-resistant coating that will keep your grout looking and performing well for years to come.
If you don’t want to seal your grout every year, just look for signs of degradation. Discolouration, sagging, or chipping all indicate you need a new coating of grout sealer.
Be sure to clean the existing grout before you apply the sealer. Otherwise, you’ll be locking in potentially harmful mould, mildew, or other contaminants. Once cleaned, let the grout dry.
You can apply the sealer with a roller, spray, or brush. Your choice of grout sealer will give you specific application directions. In general, it’s as easy as coating the grout with the sealant.
You’ll want to wait at least 24 hours before taking a shower so the new seal has time to set. Consider testing your seal by spraying water against your new grout. If some parts of the grout absorb the water, you may want to revisit that spot later on.
Looking for an Easy Grout Solution?
Do you need help regrouting or sealing your shower? It’s an absolute pain to regrout tile. But there’s good news: You don’t have to.
You should rely on a professional service for your regrouting needs. At Shower Sealed, we have access to the experience and tools that most homeowners lack. If you live in the Brisbane area, contact us and schedule an appointment.