Grout Application and Finishing Tiles: A How-To Guide

Grouting and finishing your tile floors can be the final step in a home improvement project that will have lasting effects. It is important that it is done correctly and that you are well prepared for this portion of the project.

Chances are you have already picked out your grout color. But if you have not already done so, you will want to do this before you get started. It is important that you test the grout color before you begin, or that you have a sample, as the color may change upon drying. You can get free samples of products to try out.

This will help ensure that the color you have chosen will work with your color scheme. Also, take into consideration how much grout you may need. If you used 1/4-inch spacers, you will use much less than if you used 1-inch spacers.

Here is a list of things that you should have before getting started:

  • Broom
  • Grout
  • Multiple pails
  • Sponges
  • Gloves
  • Sealant

Here is the order in which your grouting and finishing process can begin.

1. Remove spacers. Once your tile has been set, and the thin set has dried, you can begin to take out the spacers used in between the tiles. They should pop out easily, but if they are laying flush against the thin set you may need to pry them out with tool like a flat-head screw driver.

2. Clean the surface and grout lines. Once the first step is completed, you will need to clean the areas that grout will be applied. This will help prevent a loosening or cracking of the grout once it has dried.

3. Mix the grout. The mix should have a recipe on the bag, but if it does not, then mix the grout to a thick putty consistency. It needs to be fluid enough to press into the lines, and stiff enough to not run. Think stiff mashed potatoes.

4. Float the grout. Take your trowel and smear the grout all over the grout lines. You will also need to press the grout into the spaces to make sure that all the spaces, corners and gaps are full.

5. Clean off the tile. This is the portion of the task that will take patience. It is not difficult to clean off the grout, but it does take some technique. First, you want to make sure you have plenty of large yellow sponges, and pails of clean water. You will be refilling your water buckets often, so having a few that are already full will help save time. While the grout is still fresh take the sponges and clean the tiles and grout lines by running the spongue over the top of both.

You want your motion to be scooping up the excess grout off of the tile, but not pressing indentations into the grout lines. Grout is very sandy, and the more swipes of the sponge will mean that there is less clean sponge. You will need to make two or three passes, flip the sponge, repeat, then either get a new sponge or clean the one you are using very well. You want to get all of the grout off the tiles or when it dries it will also adhere to the tile. If you notice that grout is just smearing everywhere, or sand is getting on things, then replace your water and sponge.

6. Apply sealant. Once the grout has dried, you need to apply the sealant so that the new grout will not absorb stains. Grout is very porous, so this is an important step. The sealant has a tip that looks like a glue stick. Just run the sealant over the grout, and let it dry.

The key with this type of project is making sure the surfaces are clean before and after you are done. This will be the best way to guarantee fantastic results.

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