If you’re about to grout tiles for the very first time, you may be feeling a little cautious. Grouting isn’t as easy as it looks and there’s every chance you could end up with a bit of a disaster, but if you follow the guidelines that are listed below, you’ll find grouting your tiles a little less scary.
Always make sure you have the right tools for the job, especially if you’ve never grouted before. This will give you an extra boost of confidence and a better finish.
The tools you will need for this job are:
Grout float, utility knife, bucket, sponge, cloth, grout mix and caulk.
If you are working with porous tiles you will need to have some tile sealer as it will stop excess grout from sticking. Once you have sprayed the sealer, you can then apply the grout.
Make sure you add the desired amount of water to the grout mix, you should ideally achieve a consistency that’s similar to that of mayonnaise. When you first add your water, make sure you mix it all up thoroughly before allowing it to stand for about 10 minutes. A lot of people are tempted not to let it set, but you need to do this so the water is thoroughly absorbed.
Once the grout has slaked (absorbed the water), mix it up again by either adding more water or powder so you’re closer to that mayonnaise consistency. Chances are you won’t reach this consistency right away, but make sure you don’t add too much water or grout mix at any one time as you could potentially ruin the mixture.
Now it’s time to apply the grout, here’s where you can make or break your grouting experience.
Please note the grouting does not need to be perfect at this stage.
Here’s a tip: Make sure you only grout a small area at any one time as the grout will harden quite quickly. Hardened grout is difficult to clean off, so you might want to think about grouting an area of no more than three by three feet.
Make sure you finish grouting the three by three foot area before you move onto another section. This area needs to have all of its joints shaped and cleaned before you begin elsewhere.
To fill the joints simply hold you grout float to an angle of 45 degrees. Begin in a corner of the three by three foot section and work carefully so all of the joints are filled.
Here’s a tip: if you want to make the grout last, ensure every single joint is filled. To do this you should go over each of the joints a few times and from varying directions. When you have filled the joints, hold the float at about 90 degrees and scrape off the excess grout.
Next you will need to shape each of the joints so they have the right profile, you can do this by using the grout float’s rounded corner to give them a smooth effect.
Here’s a tip: drag the grout tool or even a toothbrush’s rounded handle across every single joint, this is in order to make a slight concave curve in the joint.
Now it’s time to remove any excess from the tile’s face (front). This can be done using the side of a sponge, which needs to be damp. Let the grout harden slightly before you clean off the excess. When the grout resists denting (test it with your finger), it’s ok to start removing any excess.
Make sure you wipe the tiles starting at the bottom and working you way to the top. Make sure you use a clean section of sponge with each stroke that you make.
Here’s a tip: Make sure you have a bucket of clean water at the ready, and dunk your sponge before wringing it until it’s damp. Try to drag the sponge up the tiles in one continuous stroke, before switching to a cleaner corner and starting again on the section of the wall that’s next to the first clean area you made.
Once you have cleaned the whole area, start again, but make sure you have rinsed the sponge out. You should ideally wipe the tiles another two – three additional times until there is no excess grout left.
It’s likely a very thin layer of grout will appear once the water has evaporated, you can get rid of this quite easily by buffing it with a cloth.
Grout needs to be removed from the corners where two walls meet, this is because caulk is a very flexible material and it can withstand movement. To make space for the caulk, use a utility knife as this will ensure easy removal. If you have some wide corners, an old screwdriver may suffice.
Here’s a tip: Caulk should also be applied along a bath tub or at the top of a counter as those areas are vulnerable to water.
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