The best grout removal tool for you will probably include one or more of the following listed tools in this list.
There are power tools for grout removal like the popular oscillating tool, along with hand-held/manual tools like a grout saw/grout rake.
Removing grout also creates grout dust – which is best cleaned up with a shop vac, but you could also get away with a household vacuum.
Let’s have a look at the list …
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1. Oscillating Tool/Multi Tool
The most popular electric grout removal tool for DIY’ers & professionals.
Oscillating tools are also called multi-tools for their ability to perform a number of functions, including but not limited to sawing, sanding, rasping, grinding, scraping, cutting and polishing.
To use an oscillating tool for grout removal, you simply attach the appropriate blade or scraper and run it along the grout joint on the wall or floor.
Let the blade do the cutting – don’t try to force pressure on the joint or blade.
Examples of popular or commonly used multi-tool brands and blade combinations are:
- Fein Multi-Master – use with a diamond blade, or grout removal blade (for 5/64-inch inch joints and bigger)
- PORTER-CABLE Oscillating Tool – use with a carbide grit grout removal blade
- Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool – use with a 1/8 inch grout removal blade, or 1/16 inch grout removal blade
2. Hand-Held Grout Saw
Hand-held/manual grout saw grout saws or rakes use a carbide, or tungsten grit (heavier duty) serrated blade attached to a handle.
These tools require you to use your own energy to move the saw back and forth within the grout joint to remove the grout.
They are particularly handy for harder to access grout joints, or grout joints where using a power tool might be overkill, or could damage the surrounding tiles and surfaces.
They can also be used as finishing tools to get a better and cleaner removal of grout after using a power tool on the grout joint.
3. Dremel Rotary Tool, or Velocity Tool
We put together a guide for using a Dremel rotary tool for grout removal.
If you already have a Dremel rotary tool – these tools are a great option as you just need to get a grout removal bit to get to work.
However, if you are looking to buy a new tool for grout removal, it’s important to know that a Dremel rotary tool (along with all Dremel rotary tools) are finishing type tools best used for light tasks, and small detail tasks.
For perspective, the highest performance Dremel rotary tool – the Dremel 4300, has a 1.8 Amp motor compared to oscillating tools which have 3.0 Amp motor and up.
Dremel also has a separate tool to the rotary tool called the Dremel Velocity – which they describe as bridging ‘the gap between traditional oscillating tools and rough-cutting tools, such as reciprocating saws and circular saws’.
With a 7.0 Amp motor and other additional features you won’t find on many oscillating tools or reciprocating saw, the Velocity is a high powered grout removal tool.
4. Reciprocating Saw
Not as commonly used for grout removal as an oscillating tool.
If you have a reciprocating tool laying around, you just need a serrated blade attachment (with carbide or tungsten grit) – an example of this is the Grout Grabber attachment.
It’s basically the electric/powered version of the hand-held grout saws.
One criticism some users have for using a reciprocating saw is that grout removal blades don’t always sit tightly within the saw. So, unless you already have a reciprocating saw, consider this when choosing a tool for grout removal.
5. Shop Vac
We’ve talked about removing grout from wall and floor grout joints, but what about cleaning up grout dust?
To be honest, if you are a DIY’er and just performing a one off grout removal job – you can probably get away with using a house vacuum to tidy up.
If you are a professional or you regularly need a tool to clean up home improvement dust and debris, consider a shop vac with suction hose.
NOTE: grout removal is rarely a task undertaken by itself. It usually includes related tasks like:
- Mixing and Laying New Grout Joints
- Broken tile removal
- Removal of tile adhesive
- Laying new tiles
These are tasks you can do yourself as a DIY’er, but if you think you don’t have the skills, time or experience – call in a professional.
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