Do Grout Pens Work? + Pros & Cons

If you’ve heard of grout pens, you definitely want to see how effective a grout pen is, especially when it comes to fixing or coloring your tiles’ grout. While it can be problematic, it can also be quite effective. Hence, I highly recommend that it only be used to touch up discolored areas of your tile. Also, grout pens should be used sparingly as they don’t last very long after application.

Grout Pen on Tile

What are grout pens?

Grout pens are tile paint markers that add a thin waterproof coating layer directly above the existing grout lines between tiles. They come in various colors and sizes and can be used to paint over and match the grout lines between your tiles. If you have matched floor and wall tiles in the bathroom, you can also have matching grout lines with a grout pen of a single color.

The most common sizes are the 5mm and 15mm pen widths that match small and large grout spaces. It is a waterproof, non-toxic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal formula safe for enclosed areas and spaces.

The coating can be made to match your grout’s current color, ensuring it looks neat and cohesive. It comes in a container looking like a thick pen or marker. 

To apply a grout pen, you press the tube along the grout line with the narrow pointed tip helping with precision. Once you apply a layer or two, your grout should look as good as ever.

While using grout pens isn’t as professional as using steam cleaning or adding new grout, it is an excellent way to restore your grout at an affordable cost. Grout pens are a good option if you need to work on your tiles. 

However, it is important to note their limitations. Grout pens are not life-long, nor can they serve as a long-term or permanent solution. Before purchasing a grout pen, it is always important to read other customer reviews since not all pens are made the same.

Do grout pens work?

Yes, grout pens work, as they achieve their intended purpose effectively and efficiently. However, using a grout pen is not a permanent solution as it is a type of paint that will start wearing off after several years. It will also fade as new stains form and adhere to the surface.

Before application, the grout should be completely clean, as applying the pen before cleaning may cause mold and bacteria to spread under the surface.

Grout pens can also be used to cover stains, especially if your grout is in good condition and does not need you to replace it. They can be used to cover ugly stains by applying new, bright colors on the grout lines. Depending on the severity or level of the stain, you may use two or more application layers to get the best results. 

You can also use your grout pen to update the color of your grout lines in any room, especially if you have grown tired of the standard white. You can decide to match the color of your tiles, go dull with a dark color, or even bold with bright and golden colors. 

Doing so gives your floor an even more aesthetic, neat, and cohesive finish. However, it is crucial to note that depending on the location of your grout, the line coating is thin and porous and can easily absorb color and dirt.

A good hack is to always try colored grout pens on plain white paper before applying them to your grout to ensure the color. Also, your grout’s overall look depends on your precision, as a wobbly application may make your floor worse than the original. 

Grout pens pros

Some of the advantages of using a grout pen include the following:

1. Cost-effective

Compared to the other options available, the grout pen is a cost-effective and efficient solution for someone working with a tight budget. In addition, it will restore your dirty and stained grout to a near-new state without you having to do much. It also reduces the cost of installing tiles in the shower.

2. Takes a short time to apply

How fast it takes to apply a grout pen is entirely based on your speed as the applicator. Otherwise, it takes quite a short amount of time. Additionally, it only takes overnight to dry and be ready for use, unlike silicone caulk which takes longer.

3. Many options available

Unlike installing fresh grout, a grout pen does not limit you to certain shades and colors. Instead, the newly improved grout pens allow you to go bold with colors like gold, giving your floor a new and improved look.

4. Allows for precision for better results

Using grout pens helps you be precise during application due to its pointed tip making each stroke clean. This enhances your floor’s general outlook, giving it a neat and cohesive finish, and making it aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Grout pens cons

The main disadvantages of using grout pens include the following:

1. It’s temporary

While a grout pen is very efficient and serves the purpose, it is only a temporary solution since it will start to chip and slowly fade off with time. This will force you to either reapply or find a permanent solution for your grout.

2. Causes stains

One of the primary disadvantages of a grout pen is leaking when a grout pen accidentally leaks or is applied to the tile. In most situations, you can get the stains off with the help of acetone or bleach. However, if you don’t clean it off immediately, you may have to replace the tile, making it more costly.

3. Limited use

Ideally, a grout pen is not meant for your entire floor; hence the finish won’t be as smooth and does not take a lot of wear and tear. 

Grout pen alternatives

While grout pen manufacturers claim this to be the most suitable solution to restore your stained grout to a near-new look, there are other options too. For someone who may not want a grout pen as an option but can afford other services, we have the following alternatives:

1. Steam cleaning

A steam cleaner is a powerful tool used to clean grout lines and other types of deep cleaning. It makes the otherwise tedious, arm-killing job faster. They heat water to more than 200°F with nozzles directing steam blasts on the grout. They also have special brass and nylon brushes specifically for grout cleaning, allowing you to scrub as you clean.

The whole process will create dirty slurry grime and water that you can rinse off or mop away. In addition, you can purchase or rent a steam cleaner from a home center or rental outlet, as most units are suitable for tile and grout work.

2. Replacing the grout

While removing and replacing the grout along the lines may sound like a huge project, it is not as daunting and intimidating as it may seem. An electric multi-oscillating tool with the right tools and equipment will help you chip the grout while staying clear of your tile. When you’re done, and the grout is gone, troweling on a new grout is quite easy.

When using your grout pen, you always take time and use slow, precise motions over the grout lines. Then, for the best results, wait for your floor to completely dry before applying the second layer to get the complete and dramatic look. With a little bit of patience and persistence, especially on a cleaned and done floor, you will be amazed at its efficiency. 

Final thoughts

Using grout pens to restore the look of your grout goes a long way in saving you money and time compared to the alternatives. This is because you can do most of the tasks yourself when it comes to grout pens. However, grout pens have shortcomings that may render them unsuitable for some projects. All in all, they’re a great idea to try out.

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