How To Grout Your Tile And Stone

How To Grout Your Tile And Stone

More and more homeowners are experiencing the satisfaction of repairing their tile and grout. The high cost of labor for even small jobs, has driven people to the stores looking for tile, materials, products and information.

This is GREAT! Why shouldn’t homeowners learn to tile and grout?

I’ve seen many new homes with completed ceramic tile jobs that have made the hair on the back of my neck stand up in fright … especially tract homes where the bottom line for the developer is speed and corners to cut. So the more we learn about the different trades and the applications and techniques thereof, the better we will recognize a well performed and finished product to be proud of.

With this in mind, here are some grouting techniques to install in your memory banks for your next tile or stone job around the house.

Whether you have laid new tile or have scraped out the grout from an existing tiled area, make sure you clean the grout joints thoroughly and have taped off the areas you don’t want the grout to “spill over.” Wiping grout off of sealed cabinets and semi or glossy paints won’t hurt those materials if you use care when wiping, but sometimes a little labor invested in taping adjacent areas will make the job easier in the long run.

When the grout joints are clean and ready to fill; mix the powdered grout with clean water and according to the package specifications. The grout should be lump-free and a consistency that will not easily pour out of the bucket.

Use the appropriate grout for your application. A non-sanded grout should be used for grout joints that are 1/8” and smaller in widths, while sanded grouts are to be used in joints which are larger. Typically you’ll find the smaller grout joints with the non-sanded grout in the bathroom and shower areas.

Use some latex gloves to protect your hands and with a grout float held at a 30-45 degree angle, spread the grout firmly into the grout joints. Don’t worry about the mess on the tiles as this will clean up with your sponge at the proper time. Some areas that are hard to float, you can force the grout into the joint by hand. When all the joints are filled completely, scrape the excess grout off the tiles by holding the float at an almost 90 degree angle and pulling diagonally across the joints so you don’t remove grout from the joints. Put all the remaining grout back in the bucket.

Allow the grout to set for about 10 minutes then with a clean bucket of water and grout sponge, lightly wipe the tiles with a damp sponge, (not a dripping sponge). Always wipe with a clean side of the sponge, flip the sponge over and wipe another section, then rinse the sponge clean. The initial sponging wipes most of the unwanted grout from the surface. The second sponging smoothes and neatens the joints and the third cleans the haze or residue from the tile. Always allow a few minutes between the three sponging cycles as this will allow the grout time to properly set. Remember, you don’t want water from the sponge to puddle on the grout as this weakens and deforms the consistency.

Lastly, a final wipe will smooth any remaining high spots in the grout joints and clean the tiles of the remaining haze. After the grout dries, you can polish the tile with cheesecloth or a soft cotton cloth to remove any remaining residue. Nice Job!

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