Many successful home improvement projects require skill in applying grout. Fortunately, learning how to apply grout correctly isn’t that difficult. With a little practice and instruction, you’ll be applying grout like a pro.
Preparing for Grout
Tiling jobs follow a specific pattern, no matter what you are tiling. First you prepare the surface, and then you lay your mortar and set your tiles. Grouting happens after letting the mortar set for at least 24 hours. Tiling is a two-day project, so it makes a great weekend home improvement project. Applying grout is the last important step before your tiling project is complete.
Before you begin applying grout, clean the tile surfaces and the grout joints. Remove any excess mortar and any other unwanted debris that could get in the way of your grout. You may want to use a shop vacuum in the tiled area to prevent sawdust, drywall or mud splatter from being incorporated into the grout.
To wipe the joints, you’ll need to use cold water, a large tile sponge and a small putty knife. Wet the sponge and wring it out as much as you can, then wipe the joints to remove excess mortar. Make sure to rinse the sponge frequently so you are always working with cleaner water.
If there are large pieces left in the joints, you will need to use your small putty knife to gently scrape out the problem areas. While you work, be careful not to strike tile corners at the grout joint intersections. This process must be done very gently.
The next step in applying grout is to mix the grout itself. For most home jobs, hand mixing will work just fine. Make sure to use a good quality grout with dry latex additives. Each bag of grout will have complete instructions on how to mix the grout.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions on mixing. Start your mix with a little liquid in the bottom of your bucket. Add a bit of the dry grout to it and stir. Add more liquid a little at a time until you achieve the right consistency. The consistency will depend on the type of grout you are using. Generally speaking though, the grout should be just loose enough to flow easily into the joint space.
Applying the Grout
Once you’ve got the right mix of grout and your rubber grout float, it should flow easily into the joint. For grouting floors, pour or scoop out the grout from the bucket into the floor. You can then begin applying the grout. Hold your grout float at a 45-degree angle, and sweep across your tiled floor.
This will allow the float to pass across the top of the tiles and remove grout where it is not needed. For walls, your grout should be a little thicker and stiffer so it will stay in place. Apply the grout with your float, and proceed from the top of the wall to the bottom.
After you are done applying grout, you’ll need to wipe down the tile surfaces. Wiping down prevents grout from marring the face of your new tile. Timing is essential in the wiping process. As you move from one grouted section to the next, you’ll see the first sections beginning to dry.
It is essential to wipe the grout before it dries. Wipe down the grout and tiles with cold water. Wipe about three times, once about 20 or 30 minutes after the grout has been applied, again 30 minutes after that and then finally at the hour and a half mark.