You have set all your tiles making sure the grout lines are even and straight, and if they were floor tiles your knees are sore and you are glad to have all tile laid. It is now time to let the tile job set overnight or 24 hours if you can, before finishing the job by grouting.
Grouting is the finishing process of your tile job and is very rewarding. With these simple tips your grouting will go easier and avoid some common problems.
· Let the grout slake, this process will allow the water to penetrate all the dry ingredients.
Let grout set, and then remix the grout after letting it set for 10 or 15 minutes. Add a little water if the grout is too thick, or more grout if it is too thin. Be careful it doesn’t take much material to change the viscosity. Don’t mix more grout than you can spread in an hour, it is better to mix small amounts of grout than to have it harden before you can use all of it.
· Don’t spread too much grout at once
Scoop the grout from the mixing bucket with your grout float and apply it to the tile diagonal with the grout lines. This will force the grout into the joints.
Temperature and humidity will affect how quickly the grout starts to harden after you spread it. Once it does start to harden, you’ll really have to hustle to get it cleaned off the tile before it is too late. Only grout a small area at a time a 3 x 3 foot area will be best to start with. Finish grouting, and cleaning each section before proceeding.
For a successful grout job, make sure all the joints are completely filled with grout. To do this best is to make several passes over the same area from different directions with the grout float. Hold the float with its face at an angle of about 45 degrees to the joint lines to force the grout into the joint. When the joints are filled, remove the excess grout from the face of the tiles by holding the float at almost 90 degrees to the tile and scraping it off.
· Use a clean, damp sponge to remove grout
Remove excess grout with a sponge by removing grout from the face of the tile with one of the edges of a damp sponge, using a clean edge of the sponge for each stroke.
Start with a clean bucket of water. Wet your sponge and wring it out until it’s damp. Use the sponge so that the edge of the sponge is in contact with the wall and drag the sponge in a continuous stroke across the tile. Rotate the sponge to expose a clean edge and repeat the process alongside the first stroke. When you’ve used all four sides of the sponge, rinse it in clean water, wring it out, and continue the process until you’ve cleaned the entire area once. Clean the tiles two or three more times using the same process until the tile are free of grout residue. A thin film of grout may appear when the water evaporates. Buff this off with a soft cloth.
· Don’t over scrub the grout or use too much water
Don’t use a wet sponge to clean grout from the tile. Let the grout harden slightly before you start to clean off the excess. Test the grout by pressing on it with your finger. When it starts to harden, you can start cleaning the excess grout from the face of the tile. Two common mistakes are using too much water, and scrubbing the tile like you’re washing a wall. Too much water will weaken the tile and cause the grout color to be uneven when it dries. Excessive scrubbing doesn’t remove grout efficiently; it just moves it around.
· Remove grout from corners before caulking
Remove grout from along the tub or counter top to make room for caulk. You will want to use caulk in these areas as grout is not flexible, caulk is used at corners instead of grout. For a good tile installation, apply a neat bead of matching caulk at vulnerable areas.
· Seal porous tile before grouting
Apply a thin coat of sealer to porous stone. Follow the application instructions on the label. Wipe up excess sealer with a cloth to avoid puddles. Then let the sealer dry before you grout.
If you don’t seal porous tiles and stone, grout will stick like glue and be nearly impossible to clean off. Check with your tile supplier for recommendations on what product to use.