Tricks to using a grout saw?

Hi,
I need to remove the grout at the corners of the walls on our bathtub. The original builder used grout and its now cracked, so we want to remove it and replace it with caulk. Having never done this before, we are wondering if there are any tricks to using a grout saw. I went out and bought a grout saw, as well as a grout scraper(?) My husband and I haven't tried anything yet...wondering if its going to be really as labor intensive and it looks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, -Jane
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Grout removal can be quite labor intensive. I have removed grout from tile many times. I've used most of the gadgets made for this task. The best gadget I've used (if the grout lines are wide enough) is the Dremel Tool grout attachment: http://www.dremel.com/productdisplay/att_template.asp?SKU–2-01&Color™CCFF
Go slowly with the bit. The bit breaks pretty easily if you don't keep it in the groove. Wear a good quality dust mask and safety glasses. We run a wet/dry vacuum with the nozzle next to the bit to carry off the dust.
As for grout saws, you will need one of those too. The saw is slow but works ok. For both the grout saw and Dremel tool, patience is the key.
I hope this helps. Al

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Jane,
Just curious - since it's in the corner, have you considered just caulking *over* the existing grout?
I've got the same problem in my house, and am trying to figure out how to deal with it...
Eric Law

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Eric,
Everything that I have read says that just caulking over the existing grout shouldn't be done. Also, our builder did this in our Master bath, which had the same problem and it looks horrible! (not to mention that he did a really sloppy job). I guess is may also depend on how bad the cracks are. The ones in our master bath were really bad, and so we called our builder to fix them, even though they fell under the umbrella of "settling" and technically weren't covered under our builder's warranty. Because he did such a bad job, my husband just wants to do the main bath ourselves ...and he wants to do it right. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried caulking over grout and if they got it to look good.
-Jane

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The best solution for controlled grout removal is to use the Fein Multimaster with either carbide or diamond blades. It's not inexpensive but it works very well and provides much more control than the Dremel grout tool. One you own the Multimaster you'll find many uses for it. Mine gets used weekly.
http://www.coastaltool.com/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/a/fein/mm_regrout.htm?L+coastest+vyhs6709ffff3bff+1082657897
RB
Jane wrote:

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I did my whole bathroom with a grout scraper. It is a lot of work and you have to be careful not to slip and mark the shiny tile surface. But the end result was great.
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I checked out the carbide blade for grout removal. It must be very hard to not ruin adjacent tiles in a common bond arrangement where the joints are staggered.
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Also, use epoxy grout from now on. Although it's expensive, it doesn't mildew.

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