Grouting is the product that is visible between tiles on a floor or backsplash. Grouting is done after installing tile. It’s the equivalent of icing a cake and just like icing, it can cause a bit of a mess. Grout also adds strength to a floor and helps lock in the tiles.
There are three types of grout. Epoxy, resin and concrete. Grout can also have sand and sanded grout is required for tile joints of 1/8 of an inch or greater. Grout also comes in colors to compliment the tile. Epoxy grout is special and is based on alcohol instead of water. It usually only comes in black and is not recommended for do it yourself projects.
Regardless of the grout you select, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying and cleaning up the grout.
Before you apply the grout, first remove any excessive tile adhesive with a utility blade prior to grouting. Some grout requires you to moisten the joints between the tiles. You can use a large sponge to do this. If you are unsure if you need to moisten the joints, read the grouts instruction label for guidance.
To force the grout into the tile joints, use a hard rubber grout float at a 45 degree angle. This forces the grout into the joint. Start working in a small area (two to four feet), complete it, and then move to another. Once you start grouting try to keep going until the entire floor is done.
Before the grout hardens (cures) you can “tool it”. Basically that means that you can make it look nice.
Once you have forced the grout into the joints, use the same float to scrape or “skim” the excess grout off with the edge of the tool. Do this at a 45 degree angle to the tile and try not to dig into the joints. You basically are trying to remove the excessive grout from the surface of the tiles.
Now let the tile sit for the recommended time to start the curing process. To clean the surface of the tile, use a damp sponge or towels and lightly remove extra grout. Be sure to have plenty of clean water. I usually keep two buckets. One to rinse out the sponge and second to dip the sponge into to get clean water. Just take your time and you will be fine. While cleaning the surface try not to disturb the grout between the tiles. Once done. Wait an hour and then repeat the cleaning process as you will start to notice a haze form on top of the tile. This haze is caused by left over grout.
After you have finished cleaning the tile you may want to seal the grout. Sealing is often recommended for most grout types. Check the grouts instruction label to make sure you use the correct sealing product. Most sealers will require two applications. In between sealing applications wipe away any drips off the tile.
The last step is to once again go over the entire surface with a dry cloth to remove any left over haze. Using a dry cloth, rub any remaining haze off of the tile. With the grout sealed, you can be a bit more aggressive and for stubborn spots, apply a bit of water or use a scrub pad.
As with most do it yourself jobs, grouting takes more time then skill. The tools required are inexpensive and if you read the grouts instruction label, you should have little difficulties.
On a do it yourself scale of 1 (easiest) to 10 (hardest), I give grouting a 4 due to the attention you need to give the grout and the time it takes to complete the job.