Removing Old Grout

The first step is to clean out the damaged joints with a grout saw, which is available at hardware stores for about $5. The plastic handle of the saw is fitted with a steel blade that has either sharp serrated teeth or an abrasive carbide grit. Both work well. Draw the blade along the joint to scratch out the old grout (photo below, left). Press firmly on the tool, but be sure it doesn't pop out of the seam and mar the tile. It usually takes only two or three passes to reach clean, sound grout beneath, though you may have to remove the entire section. In either case, cut the joint slightly beyond the damaged area and into healthy grout to be sure you removed all the old stuff. After you've cleaned out all the damaged grout joints, use a straight-blade scraper to cut the caulk bead from between the top edge of the tub or shower pan and the first course of tile (photo above, right). Pull out as much of the old caulk as possible. If necessary, use a putty knife or thin-blade screwdriver to extricate any stubborn blobs.
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