Grout scrubbers?

My kitchen and bathroom counters are covered with beautiful 4" ceramic tiles and 1/2 " grout lines. They have lasted for 30 years without a chip or blemish.
The problem is with the grout. Originally it was probably sealed. Over many years, the sealer has deteriorated. It is kind of scaling off and does not look so good any more.
So, I would like to remove all remnants of the original sealer, then scrub the grout free of accumulated grime and then apply a new sealer.
I can remove the old sealer pretty well with a brass bush, which does not scratch the tiles. However, it is hard work and I am tired of it.
Is there a mechanical scrubber that will take the hard work out of refurbishing my grout?
What do the pros use? I am sure they do not do it with a small brass toothbrush.
Thanks
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Get a Harbor Freight Multi-Function tool (you *know* you want one!) and then get one of this:
http://www.harborfreight.com/diamond-cutter-blade-67264.html
They also make a grout blade for the Dremel Multi-Max and Fein version.
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Are you sure about this .... "add clean grout on top of the old" ? It just doesn't sound right to me. And I would think it would just be easier to remove all the old grout but this isn't a fun job either.
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clipped

I don't know of an easy option. Removing some of the old grout....I think removing 1/8" depth is minimum to give new grout a secure bed...is the only way to renew it. Unless you try sandpaper and then resealing. I removed and replaced grout in a tile shower stall that had 1x4 tiles and fine grout lines. Hard work with a Dremel grout tool, but doable (and I'm an old lady). Most difficult were getting down to do the lowest portions and then putting in new grout; it takes some muscle to mush in the new grout.
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I also replaced the grout in a shower surround using a Dremel tool to cut the old tile out. I found a source on the Internet for the bits; would have gone broke with Dremel bits, at $10 each. I think I went through 20 bits. If I had to do it again, I'd use the grout saw for a multi-tool. The rotary motion of the Dremel tended to pull the bit into the tile.
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I guess I'm wondering how well the new and old bond after a year or so of wear? I'm no expert on this subject but I'm just leary on this idea. I do think tho the old has to at least be cleaned and brushed well to make a decent bond at a minimum. Maybe they sell a bonding agent before you put down the new grout to help in this cause??? I'm not going to argue with experience tho.
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re: "I do think tho the old has to at least be cleaned and brushed well to make a decent bond at a minimum"
Go back to the original suggestion that you asked about.
The first step was to use a grout saw to remove some of the old grout. This, of course, would be done anywhere you would be adding new grout over old.
"remove some of the old grout" > "cleaned and brushed well"
If you didn't remove some of the old grout, bonding would not the only issue, physical space would also be a problem.
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On Thu, 13 Sep 2012 06:20:26 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

okay
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Removing the grout to remove the sealer on the grout is completely unnecessary. It just creates more work removing enough grout so that the new grout sticks into the grout joints properly, and in my humble opinion, to accomplish that, you'd either need to use concrete bonding agent on the old grout or remove the old grout entirely and regrout from scratch. Either way, it's simply no necessary.
It's like removing the floor to remove the carpet on the floor.
Or, removing the paint to remove the dirt on the paint.
If the sealer is already coming off the grout on it's own, it's not gonna be necessary to remove the grout to remove what doesn't come off on it's own.
OK, I'm gonna get off my soap box now, but removing the grout to remove the sealer on that grout is completely unnecessary.
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Okay, sounds good to me. I'll just try to remember this tho I hope I won't have to....if you know what I mean.
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Walter wrote:

> many years, the sealer has deteriorated. It is kind of scaling off and > does not

If the grout sealer is scaling off the SURFACE of the grout, then before taking a diamond saw to these counter tops, why not try dissolving that old grout sealer with acetone, or paint stripper or gelled mineral spirits?
None of those things are going to harm either the grout or the tiles, and if they don't work, the option of taking a saw to the counter tops remains open as a back-up plan:
Walter: If you're still reading this post, can you read and respond to my post on the first page of this thread? Thank you.
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1/2" grout lines?
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wrote:

You are right; I meant 1/4" grout lines
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That's still pretty wide. The grout should come out pretty easily (compared to 1/8", or less). With lines that wide, I'd really look into the grout saw options for multi-tools.
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On Sep 13, 10:51am, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

If I were to use a multi-tool, I would use this as the excuse to buy the variable speed model from HF.
Even though I've only used the single speed model, there have been times when I've said to myself "Man, I wish I could slow this thing down". I don't know if it would have helped/worked, but I would have like to have had the opportunity to try.
Before I attacked any project related to tile that I wanted to save, I'd really want to start as slow as possible to reduce the chance of a runaway tool.
I know the HF variable speed model can be had for ~$40 when it's on sale, but I just haven't been able to justify it when the single speed is still working fine. I really need to drop that thing off a roof or something. I'm going to be taking it to my dad's house this weekend, which is 300 miles away. Maybe I'll forget to bring it home. It sure wouldn't be worth the shipping costs to get it back. ;-)
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wrote:

I have a Dremel and a cordless Bosch. Variable speed is good but I rarely use the feature. In this case it might be good to minimize heat, extending blade life.

That's sometimes a good plan. However, I've noticed that sometimes a multi-tool will be less controllable at low speed. Like a Sawsall, sometimes it'll want to "bind". A higher speed makes that less likely (but potentially worse when it does). IT's a trade-off but variable is good.

That's why I don't buy cheep tools. They're too hard to replace. ;-)
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walter wrote:

If it were me, I'd use acid. One *does* need to know how to use it though,
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On 9/13/2012 7:57 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Ever do it? Acid will damage tile if the tile has metallic (coloring) glaze.
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Norminn wrote:

Yeah, I've done it. First time some 50+ years ago was sort of an error...rented apartment, really dirty white grout on the shower floor tile. My intention was to remove part and redo; acid was too strong, ate it all out. No big problem, just needed more grout than I had planned for.
And no, I wouldn't use it on anything that the acid could damage other than the grout.
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walter wrote:

Another possibility is to use what I call a reefing iron. My experience with them has been to remove material from the seams in boats. There is something made for masonry seams that is essentially the same but I don't know the name...maybe "seam chisel" or "joint chisel". This is what they look like, "D" in photo near bottom...
http://www.sydnassloot.com/caulking.htm
The blade is tapered both vertically and horizontally. To use, one taps the tip into and along the seam, lifting up to break up and expel material.
I've never tried one on masonry or grout but if I had a sizeable area of grout to remove I'd certainly give one a whirl. I'm sure it would work far better than these over priced Dremel cutting wheels.
If joint width permits, I might use a circular saw with a masonry cut off wheel. Gotta stay away from the tile edges though.
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