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Tips for Removing Grout

Simplify this tedious chore with a reciprocating saw or an oscillating tool

Grout removal tool how to remove groutFamily Handyman
Simplify ceramic tile grout removal by using a carbide-grit blade in a reciprocating saw or an oscillating tool. Both speed up this tough, tedious chore.

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Video: Removing Tile Grout

Simplify ceramic tile grout removal by using a carbide-grit blade in a reciprocating saw or an oscillating tool as a grout removal tool. Both speed up this tough, tedious chore.

How to Remove Grout from Tile Method 1: Reciprocating saw

The recip saw method

Install the carbide-grit grout blade into your recip saw so it points down while the saw handle is pointing up. Apply power and “saw” out the grout with your grout removal tool.

The worst part of learn how to remove grout is the incredibly tedious, tough hand-scraping to get the old stuff out. Now you have two much better options for a grout removal tool. If you already own a variable-speed reciprocating saw, try a Milwaukee Carbide-Grit Grout Blade (No. 48-08-0415; about $14 through our affiliation with amazon.com). It works really well. Just make sure to use the slowest speed until you get the feel of the process.

How to Remove Grout from Tile Method 2: Oscillating tool

The oscillating tool method

Chuck up either a 1/16-in. or 1/8-in.-wide blade (depending on the grout width) and go to town. Rotate the blade and rechuck it to maneuver into tight corners.

If you don’t have a recip saw and you’re dying to get your hands on a new oscillating tool, this is your chance to find a grout removal tool. The Dremel No. 6300-03 Multi-Max and the Rockwell RK5101K SoniCrafter kit are two tools that include grout removal blades. The Dremel Multi-Max is available through our affiliation with amazon.com. The Rockwell SoniCrafter is also available through our affiliation with amazon.com.

An oscillating tool (bottom photo) is a bit easier to control than the recip saw because it’s smaller and has a much shorter blade stroke. Plus, you can rotate the cutting head, so it’s a tad more versatile.

With either tool you’ll need to be careful not to chip the tile. We’ve tried both systems and they work equally fast. The oscillating tool does get you a bit tighter into corners. With either method, you’ll still have to scrape some areas by hand.

Required Tools for this How to Remove Grout from Tile Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Reciprocating saw
  • Utility knife
You also will need a carbide-grit reciprocating saw blade, leather gloves and perhaps an oscillating tool.