How to Grout Tile

Learning how to grout tile puts the do-it-yourselfer way ahead of the game if you're looking to redo the ceramic tile in a kitchen, bath, or other area. Doing it right saves time, headaches, and expense. Tile falling off can break, look terrible, and wind up causing water to seep through and rot the support panels in some cases, so knowing how to grout and how to grout correctly is important.

Buy the Right Grout & Go Easy on the Water

What's the Number 1 thing to know about how to grout tile? Don't buy the premixed grout that comes in a little tub! These pre-made concoctions are invariably too watery and when grout is too watery, it won't do the job it's meant to do, that is, hold the tile firmly without crumbling and cracking away.

Always buy tile grout that comes in a bag dry, in powder form. And when buying dry grout, always feel the bag (as much as possible) to make sure it's not full of hardened lumps. When lumps appear in powdered grout, it means that water has gotten into the bag, which greatly affects how well the grout can be mixed. And if can't be mixed well, it won't work properly. Dry grout mix should be the consistency of flour; nice and fine and powdery.

The next most important thing to know about how to grout tile is to not get the mix too wet. Don't make grout in large amounts and when you do, add water in small increments. Ideally, for the grout to adhere firmly and without problems, add water until the mixture resembles that of thick cake batter. After mixing in the water, the grout should not slip off your trowel as you work, but adhere to it in a relatively intact glob so that you can smear it easily on the wall or counter.

Apply it Properly

Another critical thing to know about learning how to grout tile entails ensuring that the grout gets worked well into the joints. This means that you'll need to angle your trowel, pushing the wet grout in between the tiles, making sure to get it well packed into the corners as well as into the straight-line areas.

After applying the grout, the next step involving how to grout tile involves not waiting too long for cleanup. Don't wait more than a few minutes before going over the entire area with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any of it that is not in the lines and corners. Otherwise, you'll find yourself scouring the surface of your brand new beautiful tile with chemicals like mineral spirits trying to get the hardened grout off. It's much easier to remove damp grout than that which has become hardened concrete.

Patience, Patience

The last critical thing you need to know about how to grout tile simply translates into being patient. Give the grout at least 24 hours to set up properly. If the grout becomes wet again, for instance from someone showering before the 24 hours has passed, the grout will absorb the extra water. This weakens the grout, just as if you'd added too much water to it in the first place. The grout will undoubtedly fail, and you will be seeing crumbling and cracking in only a few short weeks, if not sooner.

It doesn't take a lot to learn how to grout tile right and for taking the time and effort, you'll be rewarded with a reliably grouted wall or counter that stays gorgeous for years to come.

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