Grout is the material that is applied to the spaces between the tiles on a wall or floor. It is a versatile product that can be tinted various colors or textured. It can be a sanded or unsanded product. Sanded grout is usually used on tiles with spaces greater than 1/16th inch. Unsanded grout, by contrast, is used in tiny spaces between tiles. Grout is basically a mortar or plaster compound. It is also a porous substance and needs to be sealed after it has cured. Applying grout to a tile job is easy and provides the perfect finishing touch. Sealing the grout, however, is a much more labor-intensive job. Few tools are required to apply grout to a tile job.
- Make sure that the tile has had an opportunity to set up in its mortar bed. The tile should be properly spaced and the mortar bed should be hard and dry.
- Remove all the tile spacers.
- Vacuum up the loose mortar crumbs and dust.
- Mix up a small quantity of grout in a tray or pan, or purchase the ready-to-apply grout of your choice. Do not mix up more grout than you can apply in a short time.
- As already stated, if the grout spaces or lines are 1/16th or less in width, use unsanded grout. If the spaces are greater in width than that, use a sanded grout product.
Applying the grout
- Mist the entire tile surface with water.
- Holding a rubber grout float or tile float at about a 30 degree angle from the flat surface, work a small amount of grout into the spaces working diagonal to the tiles.
- Go right over the tiles with the grout.
- Tip the tile or grout float up at almost a 90 degree angle and scrape off the excess grout.
- After covering the entire wall or floor, let the grout set for a brief period, usually about 20 minutes or so.
- Using a good damp sponge, wipe the grout from the tiles. If the grout comes out of the spaces, wait a little longer before cleaning the tiles with the sponge. If the thin film of grout on the tiles is hard to remove, wipe the grout off the tiles with the sponge sooner.
- Let the tiles dry.
- After at least 45 minutes, wipe the haze on the tiles away with paper towels and polish the tiles with a soft cloth.
Rinse the sponge out frequently and wring it out thoroughly each time you rinse it.
For non-glazed tiles, marble, and other soft tile materials, you may want to mask off the grout lines before applying the grout.
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