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Why Grout Cracks and How to Fix It?

Updated: Jul 5

Why Grout Cracks and How to Fix It?

Grout lines between your tiles are porous and keep absorbing dirt, stains, and moisture over time. With this prolonged wear and tear, along with a variety of other factors, your grout can face damage and begin to crack and crumble.

A cracked grout not only looks ugly but also invites mold issues and more severe, structural damage if not fixed early. So, if yours has begun to chip and come out too, here is what causes the grout to crack and some easy, DIY steps to fix it back to its original look and form. 

6 Reasons Why Grout Cracks

Reasons Why Grout Cracks

1. Low-Quality Grout

One of the common causes of grout cracking is poor-quality grout. If you’ve used cheap grout during installation, especially the ones made up of cement, they’re likely to age very soon. Their porous nature makes them soiled quickly, loosening their structure over time and leading to cracks. 

2. Amateur Grouting

The reason why your grout keeps cracking is the grouting mistakes you made during installation or regrouting. If you use too much water while preparing the grout mix, it can lead to cracks. Furthermore, improper application and insufficient packing can also leave them loose, resulting in cracking and crumbling of grout later. 

Additionally, if you’ve regrouted over old grout, the new grout could not adhere to the floor well. This too can weaken the grout lines, making them come out chipping. 

3. Aging & Wear And Tear

Despite using the best-quality grout and the right practices, grout lines crack due to the increasing wear and tear too. As it ages, the spills, dirt, weight, foot traffic, etc., can weaken your grout lines’ structure, resulting in damage and cracks. Moreover, lack of regular tile and grout cleaning can speed up aging and lead to premature damage to grout. 

4. Acidic Cleaners

How you clean your grout can also affect its longevity. Cleaning grout lines with harsh or acidic cleaners can deteriorate them over time, eroding their surface and forming cracks and holes. Using hard bristled brushes or such abrasive cleaning tools can also damage your grout, causing chipping and crumbling in the long run.

5. Excess Moisture 

Grout lines are porous and if they are exposed to any type of moisture for a long time, they can crack. So, be it cleaning with excess water, keeping spills for longer, or prolonged exposure to standing water, you’re inviting the water to seep into the grout pores. This damages the grout while also forming mold issues later. 

6. Deteriorated Sealant

Another common reason why grout cracks is improper/damaged sealant. If you’ve applied a porous type of grout between your tiles and not sealed them, it is openly exposed to soiling and moisture. This can lead to cracks in the long run. 

Furthermore, grout can also start cracking and crumbling because of damaged sealant. Most sealants wear off after a year or two. If your grout sealant is compromised, it can result in grout damage. 

How To Fix Cracked Grout?

How To Fix Cracked Grout?

If you have grout cracks over a large area along with mold, contacting a grout repair professional would be ideal. However, for any minor gaps, here are some easy, DIY steps to repair grout cracks. 

1. Gather The Supplies And Matching Grout

You can fill cracked grout with new grout that matches the color and type of your existing one. You’ll also need a few cleaning supplies like a cloth, vinegar-water (1:1) mixture, and vacuum. For grout repair, have a grout saw and grout float/putty knife ready.

2. Clean The Surface

The dirt and germs around the cracked grout can cling to the surrounding tile, contaminating the new grout later. Therefore, prefer to give the surface a quick cleanup with a vinegar-water wipe and let it dry. This will also help reveal the original color of your grout to help you find the right match. 

3. Remove Old Grout

If the cracks are coming out easily, you can remove them by hand. But to remove damaged grout from any hard-to-reach area, you can use a grout saw carefully. Move it across the grout lines, ensuring not to damage surrounding tiles. Remember to remove all the cracked grout, leaving empty space for the new grout to stick well.

4. Clean Again

Use a vacuum to properly clear away the debris of damaged grout you removed. Pay attention to empty space inside the grout lines and clean well. You can also wipe it with a vinegar-water-dampened cloth later, before wet-wiping and drying. 

5. Fill In New Grout

Once the area to fill the grout in is clean, you can use a putty knife or grout float to apply the new grout mixture. Mix and use the grout as per the product instructions. Go sectionally, instead of applying the paste over large areas altogether. Pack the grout properly to fill the grout lines well and avoid future cracks. 

6. Wipe Up Extra Grout, Dry, & Seal

Remove and clean away any remaining excess grout paste with the grout float and then, with a cloth. Allow the new grout enough time to dry before you seal the grout with an appropriate sealant that suits its type. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Why grout cracks in the shower?

The grout in your shower can crack due to its constant exposure to moisture. It might have also lost its sealant and thus absorbed the water in its pores, leading to grout damage and crumbling. 

Q.2 Why is brand new grout cracking?

Poor installation can be the reason why a brand new grout is cracking. If you’ve mixed too much water or additives in grout or if you’re grouting over an existing grout, it can lead to cracking. 

Q.3 Can I use caulk to fix cracked grout?

For smaller areas, you can use caulk to fix cracked grout in your tiles. It is a good alternative to grout and helps fix small gaps in grout lines. Apply a suitable caulk after removing the old grout and let it cure to settle properly. 

Q.4 Is there a grout that won't crack?

Epoxy grout is water and stain-resistant grout that is less susceptible to cracking and damage. It also does not require any sealing as compared to those made with cement. 

Q.5 Can I grout over cracked grout?

It is not advised to grout over cracked grout. Prefer removing all the damaged grout before applying new. Grouting over old grout can result in poor adherence of new grout and lead to future cracks. 

Q.6 How to stop grout from cracking?

Proper regrouting and periodic sealing can prevent your grout from cracking. Also, keep your grout lines away from moisture and maintain a regular cleaning routine to avoid cracking issues.

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