Why Bathroom Grout Is Falling Out – And How To Fix It?


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Brown Design Bathroom

Despite taking proper care of your bathroom, sometimes you can’t stop specific issues from affecting your tiles. One bathroom-centric problem is when you notice that your tile grout is falling out. The grout cracking and falling out in small pieces or chunks is a good indicator that you have a problem with the issue with the tile sealant. So, what usually causes the grout to fall out? As they say, prevention is better than cure, which applies to pretty much all facets of life.

The most likely reason for your shower grout to fall out is that a cheap quality grout was used in the first place. Not all grout is equal. It could have had too much water or additives that will make it crack after drying. Excessive moisture, temperature and humidity fluctuations in your bathroom over time can cause the grout to expand and contract. 

The bathroom grout falling out is considered a significant problem that should be taken care of immediately. Leaving cracked grout can further lead to more severe damage down the line if left unattended as water can leak to the walls or subfloor. In this article, we will be giving you tips on the best steps to take if you notice your grout is starting to peel off or fall out.

Reasons on Why the Grout is Falling Out and How to Fix It

We have already noted the leading causes of this particular grout issue above, but let us further detail regarding these causes.

The Cause: Incorrect Grout Mixing

Mixing DuraS.T.O.P. firestop mortar, using a professional grout paddle.
Image Credit: Achim Hering via Creative Commons

Incorrectly mixing the grout can lead to subpar results. For example, using excessive water when mixing the grout formula can leave the sealant with a severely decreased bonding capability. A grout mixture with too much water will leave you with a somewhat brittle bond that will quickly crumble and fall apart within a couple of months.

The Fix:

To prevent this issue from happening, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when prepping the grout mixture. Only use the exact measurements as stated on the label.

The Cause: Applying New Grout Over the Old One

Re-applying a fresh new layer of the grout without adequately removing the previous one will significantly hamper the quality of the former. Therefore, it is highly imperative for the old and damaged grout to be removed thoroughly as it will negatively impact the durability of the new grout is applied. This can lead to the newly applied grout suffering from cracking and peeling in a matter of months.

The Fix: 

Well, it is pretty apparent that the solution here is to properly remove the old grout if you are planning on re-grouting your tiles. Below is a straightforward method to de-grout your bathroom or shower tiles.

First thing’s first, here are the tools you will need to de-grout your tiles. Make sure to check each off the list before you begin:

  • Sponge
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Scraper
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Piece of Cloth
  • At least 1 tsp of Citric Acid
  • A large Canvas or Tarp
  • Hot Water
  • Flathead Screwdriver
  • A tool with Carbide Blade or Grout Saw with Carbide-Grit Edged Blade
  • Portable Vacuum Cleaner

Once you have each of the items above on hand, we can begin the preparation and de-grouting process.

Step 1: Thoroughly clean the area you will re-grout, both the old grout and its adjacent tiles. Pour the citric acid and liquid dish detergent into the pail of hot water. Dip the sponge into the mixture and wipe off the dirt and grime from the old grout and surrounding tiles.

hand with yellow rag cleaning the bathroom tiles

Use the scrape to remove further embedded debris and wipe the area dry using a piece of cloth. Afterward, let the grout and tile dry entirely.

Step 2: Once adequately cleaned, apply the painter’s tape on the edges of the tiles to protect them from the re-grouting process and sealer that you will be laying soon. Drape over the tarp or canvas for added protection for the tiles.

Step 3: You can now proceed in removing the old grout. We recommend using either a tool with a carbide blade or a grout saw with a carbide-grit edged blade. The latter will be the quicker option but will require extra care not to damage the tiles.

Step 4: Work your way slowly through the grout lining. Vacuum the grout debris as you progress. You can use the flathead screwdriver to dislodge any stuck debris.

Male hands with knife removing the old grout.