How to install ceramic tile flooring Part 8 - Applying Grout
By now you've taken your installation from the "rehearsal" stage or dry run �
laying out your
ceramic tiles as you�d like them to be � to the point where you�ve added the
mortar adhesive to
install ceramic tiles in your space permanently. At this point, you�ll need to
fill in the gaps, or
joints, that you�ve allowed between the ceramic tiles. This is where your
choice of grout comes
Grout is a cement-based bonding material used for filling joints between tiles
and is offered in a
variety of colors. Generally, sanded grout should be used in grout joints 1/8
inch or larger and
unsanded grout may be used in joints less than 1/8 inch.
You can also choose regular, Portland cement-based grout or latex and Portland
You can use stain-proof epoxy grouts for a better result and less maintenance,
but epoxy is very
expensive compared to regular grouts. Here are a few more pointers:
When purchasing grout make sure to buy enough to cover the entire project. It
good idea to buy extra for repairs later.
Allow the floor to set overnight before grouting.
Mix the grout in a small bucket. Add the powder first and then add water to the
bucket and stir with a wooden stick. Do not use a paint mixer attached to a
stir. This can create air bubbles in the grout.
Mix the grout into a thick, yogurt-like consistency. Allow this mixture to set
minutes and recheck to make sure it remains to be the same consistency. If not,
more water or additive.
While applying grout, you will still be working in quadrants as you were when
applied the mortar adhesive. Apply a moderate amount of grout on your putty
Press grout into the joints to an even level with the tile, keeping your knife
angle. Skim excess grout.
You may notice a mild 'grout haze' on your tiles. Use a damp sponge to remove
haze, but make sure you don't press too hard on joints. This works best by
using a dry
terry cloth towel. Damp mop the floor afterwards. Be careful that you do not
grout out of the spaces.
When the grout has set for 24 hours, remove the spacers between the tiles.
Repeat this process with other joints in the remaining quadrants.
To help the grout cure to a solid, resilient surface, mop the floor daily for
the first 3
days. Allow it to cure for a full week. Then brush it with a silicone sealer.
Note: Be careful... if you start washing the grout off the tiles too
soon, you might wash down the
joints at the same time. However, if you wait too long, it is even worse: you
will have a very
hard time cleaning the tiles. Start washing the tiles to remove any excess
grout when the grout
After you're done with the grouting and/or caulking, the installation is almost
complete. Wait for
the entire floor to cure for about a week. Later, you can give it a good mop to
remaining grout haze. You may also choose to seal the grout with a sealer to
lock out dirt and or
grease. But it is best to wait at least 10 days before applying a sealer.
A smart tip to remove excess grout is to frequently rinse your sponge, and use
clean water. Also
keep several buckets of clean water ready beside the floor.