How Long Does Bathroom Grout Last? (When to replace)

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The grout is an integral part of installing a new bathroom tile. Unfortunately, grout is not designed to last forever, eventually, you’ll need to regrout between tiles.  If you wonder how long grouts last, you have to the right place. We will learn just how long a bathroom grout lasts before it needs to be replaced. We will also give you some pointers on how to maximize its longevity and signs to look for that indicate your tile grout will need replacement.

Bathroom grout, both for the floor and wall, will usually take about 15 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced. We landed on this number based on a well-maintained grout, so those who do not maintain upkeep and care expect that number to go down significantly. 

Please continue reading below if you want to learn more about proper tile grout maintenance and cleaning.

Why is Grouting Your Bathroom/Shower Tile Essential?

Grouting your tile is crucial to optimize its overall integrity. Grout will help prevent damages on your tiles caused by the subtle expansion and contraction of the house. In addition, bathroom grout will also help prevent moisture from seeping in between the tiles. Water that manages to leak into the tile will slowly degrade the substrate underneath.

That said, the grout itself is not impervious to long-term water damage. One of the most common issues surrounding bathroom grout is mold and mildew buildup, leading to the grout cracking over time. Cement-based grout is the most susceptible to this problem as it is porous and not waterproof. This steady deterioration is the main reason why grout maintenance is crucial.

Signs that You Need to Reapply Grout

Plants on pink concept. Plants on geometry wall background

Some telltale and some not-so-subtle signs that you should start thinking about re-grouting your bathroom. Below are signs that you should look out for and act upon asap to prevent further costlier damage to your bathroom.

Grout Damage Such as Cracks and Holes

This one is pretty much the most prevalent reason to re-apply grout to your tiles. While it is true that grout can last for decades (with proper maintenance), some factors you cannot prevent. Impacts onto the floor, heavy foot traffic, or earthquakes can leave your grout in a relatively lousy shape sooner than expected.

A big reason to re-grout your tiles is if you notice cracks and holes. Keep in mind that the high moisture levels of bathrooms make it a hotbed for mold and mildew. What better place for this mold to thrive than in the crevices of the floor. It is imperative to re-apply grout to damaged sections to prevent further issues from arising in the near future.

Mold and Mildew Buildup

The second primary reason to re-grout is if there is a severe mold and mildew buildup. If you notice molds around the tiles, this is another good indication that the grout is damaged. This mold problem is also unpleasant to look at and gives your bathroom an unsanitary appearance.

The discoloration of the grout can severely hamper the overall aesthetics you are going for – especially if you incorporate white tiles. In addition, if you utilize cement grout in the bathroom, you are most likely to encounter mold and mildew problems. Re-grouting is often the best course of action for this issue, but you can also try using mold removers first. If the mold returns, then re-applying grout is the only solution left.

Steps to Take Before Re-Grouting Your Bathroom Tile

Before you start chipping away at the old tile grout, you must first check if re-grouting will be the only issue you need to address. Has the mold and mildew spread throughout under the tiles? Has the water damaged the substrate underneath?

You check the integrity of the substrate underneath by tapping on the tile. Does it generate a hollow sound? If yes, then it is most likely that the substrate has eroded underneath, and you have an enormous task ahead of you other than just replacing the grout.

Bathroom Tile Grout Cleaning Tips

hand brushing toilet bathroom floor

A newly installed grout looks excellent, but it will be more of a visual deterrent over time without proper maintenance. Also, your grout will most likely suffer from damages sooner if you do not take the necessary steps to care for it. In that regard, we have compiled a list of tips on how you can maximize the life span of your grout. Apply these cleaning tips regularly, and you can effectively prevent damage and mold and mildew buildup almost indefinitely.

Daily Grout Cleaning Tips:

  • Make sure to wipe the tile grout after taking a shower. We recommend using a squeegee to make this chore more convenient and quicker.
  • Afterward, spray a shower cleaner on your tile. You can also make one on your own by mixing a water and vinegar solution (4 parts water, one part vinegar). Otherwise, there are dozens of shower cleaning products that you can buy.

Weekly Grout Cleaning Tips:

  • At least once a week, it would be best if you cleaned the grout with a water and baking soda mixture. Apply the paste over the grout brush it using a toothbrush and rinse with water.
  • Alternatively, more problematic stains might need something more substantial. We recommend you spray hydrogen peroxide to the grout discoloration. Ensure to wash the tile and grout thoroughly before using hydrogen peroxide if you use the water and vinegar solution daily.

How to Clean Super Hard-to-Remove Stains?

If you left your tile for months without proper cleaning, then the stains might have fully embedded themselves into the grout. A simple water and vinegar mixture or hydrogen peroxide might not be enough in these instances.

To remove those pesky formidable stains, use a bleach pen or magic eraser to concentrate on specific grout areas and prevent this strong cleaning chemical from spilling over to the tiles.

A better alternative to the harsh liquid bleach is the milder oxygen-type powdered bleach, but it is equally effective in removing stains. The last option is to use chlorine-based bleach, which is quite a powerful solution, and extra care is required when handling it. Make sure to apply only a tiny fraction of chlorine bleach directly to the grout and avoid touching the tile at all costs.

Bathroom grout is constantly exposed to moisture. Therefore, proper care and maintenance are vital to ensure that it lasts for as long as possible. Whether you’re installing tiles on your bathroom floor or wall, the time will come to reapply grout although as we’ve mentioned there are several tips and for cleaning and maintenance that can prolong the life of your tile grout.