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Does Grout Go Bad? [3 Ways to Repair Grout]

Your perfectly decorated walls have cracks in the grout lines. When you touched to check the crack, it started to crumble away. Now, don’t panic, because it’s fixable.

But does grout go bad?

Yes, it can go bad after 5 to 6 years. If your grout crumbles away with the slightest pressure or touch, it has surely gone bad. Sometimes old mildew can cause deterioration of grout. Using expired or dried grout can also make the grout line crumble faster than it should.

Worried about your grout condition? Then this article might be all you need. We’ve discovered the problems and solutions for you.

Let’s jump right in and solve the issue!

How To Tell If Grout Has Gone Bad?

Grout loses its silky white shine over 2-3 years. The water stains, dirt, and other contamination make it discolored soon.

But there are two signs that you shouldn’t ignore. Firstly, check if there’s any mold present on the grout. If there is, there could be mold behind the wall as well. This might be eating away your tile’s lifespan.

No visible mold? Then inspect the texture of the grout. Press your nails with moderate force on them. If it starts to crumble away, it has gone bad for sure.

Why Does Grout Go Bad?

There can be many reasons why grout goes bad. But these are the most common reasons:

Reason 1: Grout Has Gone Old

Grout has a lifespan of over 8-15 years at best. It varies on the condition of your home. It shouldn’t normally have any problems over the first 4- 5 years. 

Depending on humidity and contamination, grout starts to go bad. Sometimes molds and mildew grow on the walls, which damages grouts. In those scenarios, removing molds from your walls is important.

Reason 2: Grout wasn’t mixed properly

An important ingredient of the grout is cement. It helps the grout to stabilize. Adding an extra amount of water to the grout mix can ruin the consistency. 

It should have a thickness like cake batter. Adding excessive water prevents it from drying and curing properly. You also have to wait for some before grouting.

Reason 3: Grout Has Expired

Powdered grouts normally expire after one year. On the other hand, epoxy grouts stay well, as long as they’re not exposed to freezing temperatures.

In your case, it can be that the grout was already bad when it was applied. This is why your grout didn’t last much longer.

Then again if you have leftover Mapei grout from your previous project and wanted to use them in the future again. Remember that, Mapei grout’s life won’t be longer than 1 year after it has been opened.

Reason 4: Grout Is Not Sealed Properly

Tiles and grouts are to be sealed instantly after the installation. Not doing so will allow water and dirt to sink into it. This can lead to failed grout sealing.

If the grout is not sealed properly it gets discolored. Plus it’s also going to fall apart sooner than it was supposed to. You should also look if the grout sealer expired or not.

These are the possible reasons for grout going bad.

What to Do When the Grout Has Gone Bad?

There are a few options that can help you with your grout. Here are a few methods you can use to save your grout-

Option 1: Using Caulk Over Grout

If the grout has started to show cracks, apply caulks to fill the gaps. Here’s how you have to do it-

Step-1: Remove Crumbled Grouts

Remove all the cracked grouts with a Dremel or grout saw first. You can use the same Dremel that cuts ductwork. Make sure no debris or dirt is present in the gout line.

Step-2: Apply Caulk

Apply caulks over the vacant spaces gently. You can use a spoon or your fingers to apply it. Press it lightly on the grout line.

Option 2: Reapplying Grout on the Cracks

Apply new grout only if there’s no mold or mildew growing behind the grout. Here are the steps you should follow-

Step-1: Remove Dirt

Get rid of the crumbling grouts first. Use a Dremel or grout remover to clear out them. Make the grout lines depth at least 2 mm. 

Once you are done removing, clean the area properly. This way no dirt or debris can get in the way of the new coat of grout.

Step-2: Apply New Coat Of Grout

For regrouting, epoxy grout is a much better choice than any normal grout. Because it’s much more long-lasting. 

If regrouting seems too hard, you can always take professional help.

Option 3: Seal the grout

Sealing grout makes it non-penetrable to water. It prolongs the grout’s lifespan.

Sealing will also protect it from getting water stains. This way there will be less tension about lightening your darkened grout later. These steps below will show you how to do seal your grout-

Step-1: Clean The Grout Line

Clean the grout line with a toothbrush and soap water. Make sure there’s no dirt present. You can seal the grout only after repairing the crack lines. For which you can use the methods mentioned above.

After cleaning, let it dry for 45 minutes before you apply any sealant. 

Step-2: Apply Sealant

Choose an appropriate sealer based on your tiles. Apply it on the grout line using a spray or a brush. You will find the application instructions in the sealant’s user manual. 

Sealing grout is mostly preferable on bathroom tiles. But you can apply them anywhere you want. You can also use caulk over sealed grout if necessary.

That’s it! These are all the methods for fixing your bad grout problem!


Question: How to protect grout?

Answer: Try to keep your grout dry most of the time. Keeping it wet for longer times makes it prone to growing molds. Don’t use acidic cleaners if not necessary. Do a maintenance check every 6 months. Lastly, keep it clean.

Question: How to smooth dry grout?

Answer: Use sandpaper to scrub the grout line without scratching the tile. Rub it back and forth gently. Hopefully, it has gotten smoother now.

Question: How long should I leave the grout before wiping?

Answer: You should let the grout dry for at least 15-30 minutes. Later, you can wipe off the excess grout with a soaked sponge bar.


That was all from us about whether grout is a bad issue. We hope you learned something new and enjoyed this article. 

Good luck fixing your crumbling grout!