Changing the color of your grout can dramatically transform the look of your tiled floors or walls. With the right staining techniques, you can give dingy, discolored grout a fresh new appearance. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know to successfully stain your grout.

What You’ll Need

  • Grout stain or dye in your desired color
  • Paintbrush and roller (for large areas)
  • Cleaning solution – bleach, vinegar, etc.
  • Rags
  • Painter’s tape (for edging)
  • Rubber gloves & eye protection
  • Bucket of water & sponge

Cleaning & Prepping the Grout

Before applying any stain, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean the grout lines to remove any dirt, grease, sealers, or waxes that could prevent the stain from absorbing evenly. Here are some tips for prepping grout:

  • Sweep or vacuum floor to remove loose debris.
  • Mix a cleaning solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and use a stiff scrub brush to clean grout. Rinse thoroughly.
  • For stubborn stains, use full-strength white vinegar and scrub with a toothbrush.
  • Allow grout lines to dry completely before staining – at least 24 hours.
  • Apply painter’s tape along the edges of the tiles to prevent staining the tiles.

Thoroughly cleaning and drying the grout ensures the stain penetrates and adheres properly for an even color.

How to Apply Grout Stain

Applying grout stain is a simple process with a brush or roller. Here are the key steps:

  • Shake or stir grout stain thoroughly before using.
  • Using a paintbrush, apply stain in a thin, even coat directly onto the grout lines.
  • Work in small sections for the best coverage and quickest drying time.
  • Apply a second coat if needed for fuller color but allow the first coat to dry first.
  • For large jobs, use a small foam roller and stain reservoir to coat the grout efficiently.
  • Remove any excess stain from tiles with a lightly damp rag before it dries.
  • Allow stain to dry for at least 1 hour before removing painter’s tape.
  • Cure time is 24-48 hours. Avoid washing or wetting for at least 2 days.

Applying in thin, even layers is key for staining success. Too much stain can puddle and flake off.

Staining White or Light Grout

For white or very light grout, an opaque stain is best to fully change the color. Standard transparent stains won’t effectively cover light colors. Use a specially formulated opaque stain or add in a grout colorant.

Using Multiple Coats for Darker Colors

Applying two to three thin coats of stain allows you to achieve darker grout colors than one heavy application. Allow each coat to dry before adding another.

Enhancing Color with Grout Colorant

Adding a grout colorant in addition to stain boosts color vibrancy, especially for dark hues. Use colorant after the final stain coat fully dries.

Protecting Stained Grout

Sealing your newly stained grout with a penetrating grout sealer adds protection from moisture and makes cleaning easier. Apply sealer 1-2 days after staining.

Grout Staining Tips & Tricks

  • Test stain in an inconspicuous area first to ensure desired color
  • For best results stain when grout is at least 30 days old
  • Rinse brush between coats to prevent caking
  • Work in small sections and rinse any excess before it dries
  • Avoid wiping or scrubbing stained grout for 7 days while it cures
  • Re-seal grout every 1-2 years for maximum color retention

With the right tools and techniques, you can successfully transform the look of your tile with grout staining. Just take your time and apply it carefully for beautiful results that will last.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of look can I achieve by staining grout?

Staining allows you to completely change the color of your existing grout, whether you want to create a dramatic dark accent or cover up discoloration with a like-new appearance. Virtually any shade is possible from light whites to deep blacks.

Does stained grout need to be sealed?

Yes, sealing is highly recommended after staining to protect the color from moisture, dirt, and grime. Sealers enhance the vibrancy of the stain and make regular cleaning easier. Reapply sealer every 1-2 years.

Can I apply new grout over stained grout?

No, do not apply new grout on top of stained grout. New grout will not bond properly and can peel off. You must remove the old grout entirely if you want to regrout.

How long does stained grout last compared to regular grout?

When maintained properly with regular sealing, stained grout can last 3-5 years or longer before needing to be reapplied. Durability depends on the quality of products used and exposure to traffic.

Should I use a stain or dye on my grout?

Stain and dye achieve a similar look. Stains tend to penetrate deeper for longer-lasting color while dyes coat the surface. Either method will work, just follow application directions carefully.


Changing the color of grout opens up many possibilities for creating new tile designs without the work of ripping out and replacing your grout. With diligent cleaning, proper application techniques, routine sealing, and careful maintenance, stained grout can maintain its revitalized appearance for years before needing a refresh. Pay close attention to preparation, allow sufficient drying time, use painter’s tape, and work deliberately in sections for staining success. With some time and care, you can transform the look of your tiled space with customized grout color.