Dirty, discolored grout is unattractive due to water, oil, and bacteria buildup, resulting in a brown greasy residue. The good news is that we offer cost-effective solutions for tile repair and regrouting, saving you from the expense and dust of tile removal and re-tiling. Additionally, we address water management, patio drains, and hardware. Our services include a patio concrete fastener replacement to prevent concrete rust, and we incorporate expansion joints and drains to enhance water drainage.

Homeowner Goals

Symptom: "Black Grout is getting worse"
Homeowner Goals:   Client wants interior tiles to match exterior tiles.


Cost- $7203 
Symptom(s) Black grout lines
Size-  25x6' (150 SF)
Location- SailHarbor (Fort Myers)
Duration- 3 visits, + 1 follow up check in 


No expansion joint
no uncoupling layer
no slant / Grade
no drains
+22 Tiles Failing
Golf Ball Test
Failed + Rust Fasteners

Ryan Lutz Headshot4

Client Photos & Report:  Grout lines stays dark, Grout is cracking.  Water pooling along the aluminum channel.  Water is blowing in from gutters.

Watch Video

Contractor Opinion

Aluminum patios often trap water, leading to issues such as water pooling on tiles and seeping into grout or beneath the aluminum channel. This can damage bolts and cause concrete to rot. Although the patio tile remained stable for a decade, the problem intensifies during Florida's rapid afternoon rains.

To preserve the tile, immediate action is crucial. Water poses a destructive threat that must be addressed promptly to prevent damage to concrete, bolts, and other components. It is recommended to resolve roof and rainwater issues, engineer proper drainage for the patio, and utilize Performance Grout during regrouting to prevent water infiltration under the tiles.

Contractor Options:

1. **Leave it Alone (Option 1):** Ignore the issue, but note that trapped water is causing visual and hygiene problems. Plan to rip out and reinstall properly later.

2. **New Patio (Option 2):** Opt for a complete rip-out and reinstallation with regrading and a floor isolation barrier. Comparable in cost to restoration and regrouting. Longer and more disruptive, but outdoor setting minimizes impact.

3. **Re-engineer/ReGrout (Option 3):** Conduct exploratory removal of grout to assess tile failure. If fewer than 5 tiles are 100% dislodged, restoration and regrouting should be successful for an extended period.


Problem #1- Lanai Trapping Water

The aluminum lanai has a designed channel at the bottom for water drainage, but it is sealed shut by paint on the outside. The tile on the inside covers the aluminum, preventing water from flowing out. Consequently, water is trapped, pooling on the floor and along the aluminum patio base molding, eventually absorbing into the grout. This setup resembles a shower pan as water is confined. There's a risk of water rolling out under the screen door or following gravity into the tile. Over 22 tiles fail the Golf Ball Test, indicating adhesive failure and potential dislodgment.

Problem #2 No Expansion

Glass bottles explode in the freezer because the contents expand and shatter the glass when cooling. Ceramic tile, akin to glass, undergoes the same process.

Sidewalks and pools have "lines" called expansion joints. In Florida, rain on hot tile and concrete causes expansion. Without these joints, tiles can lift. Expansion joints, typically filled with foam or rubber, let concrete compress. Tiles also need space to expand, preventing lifting or tenting. The "Golf Ball Test" detects early stages of tile lifting.

Water under the tile wets the grout, appearing black.


Drill and Fill +/- 22 Tiles

To fix tiles and remove water, I identify hollow areas through tapping, drill entry and exit points, inject adhesive glue, and seal with bottles. Stepping on the tile ensures compression, creating a vacuum for secure adhesion during drying.

Expansion Joint

Tiles expand in heat, and in Florida, where surfaces can exceed 100 degrees, rapid cooling from rain without proper expansion joints can lead to separation. To address this, I created an expansion joint by using a 4" angle grinder saw, cutting around the walls about one finger width (3/4 inch).

I then inserted "Backer Rod" from Floor and Decor into the gap, applying silicone on top. To prevent the silicone from sticking to my hands, I sprayed soapy water. The scratched wall is acceptable, as it will be repainted entirely.

Remove Old Grout  

Now its time to grind out the grout lines.  We use a dust collector filter before the vacuum so most of the dust is picked up.   We grind the grout out and then install new performance grout.  

Add Performance Grout

Now its time to grind out the grout lines.  We use a dust collector filter before the vacuum so most of the dust is picked up.   We grind the grout out and then install new performance grout.  

Cut Drains

This process employs the same tools as the expansion joint cut out, requiring protective respiratory gear, gloves, and fans to mitigate dust. Cutting the tile is dusty, and after cutting the drain, I chisel out problematic areas at the bottom.

To address drainage issues, I create a makeshift drain slope using extra grout instead of a stainless 1/2" drain. This option allows easy sweeping of debris to the drain, with water carried away by rain or through hose spraying. A 6" cut on the inside and outside of the aluminum channel facilitates rapid water exit. Additionally, I remove paint on the aluminum's exterior and bottom to prevent water from being trapped inside.

Lanai Restoration

Patio Fastners, PestGaurd

The patio features masonry bolts on all four sides, with varying degrees of rust. Many are severely rusted, breaking off at the bottom. To address this, I drilled new holes adjacent to the existing bolts. Using TapCons covered in plastic to prevent electrolysis and rusting, these screws provide a durable solution that will remain in place until the lanai is eventually dismantled.

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Tile Repair & ReGrout | Lanai Hardware Fastener Replacement
By :Ryan Lutz

Fort Myers, FL | 4th Gen Electrician | Design + Color
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Handyman Services, Design Services, Remodels, and Painting
Lee County Florida


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