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Ceramic Tile Grout Installation

2012-01-31   Views:1

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Grout is laid between tiles to seal the surface against moisture, secure the tiles to each other and for decorative effect. There are two main types of grout, sanded and non-sanded, which are sold as a dry powder that need to be mixed with water befo

Ceramic Tile Grout Installation

Grout is laid between tiles to seal the surface against moisture, secure the tiles to each other and for decorative effect. There are two main types of grout, sanded and non-sanded, which are sold as a dry powder that need to be mixed with water before use. Whether you use sanded or non-sanded, the process of grouting is the same. Mixing, applying and sealing the grout properly will help preserve your tiled surface for years to come.

Skill level:Easy

Things you need

Grout floatSmooth spongeGrout sealer (optional)

Instructions

1 Prepare your grout. Follow the directions on your package to ensure the proper consistency and strength of the finished product. Mix the grout powder with enough water to a thick but fluid consistency that allows it to slide or drip off the float but not spread after it has landed. Thinner lines will require a slightly thinner consistency, as thicker grout will not go into the lines easily, but it should never be runny or soupy.

2 Load grout onto the float and push it diagonally across the tile surface to force grout into the lines between the tiles. Corners and gaps between the walls and the floor will be caulked later, so they should not be grouted. Work over a small area, no larger than one square foot at a time, with just a little more grout than you think you will need -- twice the size of a softball is a good amount to start with; you will use less or more as you discover how much grout fits between your tiles. Work in small sections until the entire surface is grouted and the grout is flush with the edge of your tiles. Use the float to remove any large dabs of grout from the tile surface.

3 Wet the sponge and wipe it gently in a circular motion over the tiles. This will clean the grout off the tiles. Rinse the sponge to remove any large bits of grout and run the sponge over the grout lines lightly to even and level it. After levelling the grout, it will be slightly lower than the surface of the tile, but not so low as to show the rough sides of the tile. Rinsing between each swipe, gently sponge off the surface of the tiles again, in long strokes. After the surface dries, any leftover grout film may be gently rubbed off with a rag; be careful not to mar the wet grout lines.

4 Allow the grout to dry and set for three full days (72 hours) and then seal the grout using a commercially prepared sealant. While this is optional, it improves the durability of the grout and allows it to repel water more efficiently. Grout sealers are applied by brushing them directly onto the grout lines or by spraying the entire tile surface. Check your product for specific instructions.

Tips and warnings

As you are applying grout, it is better to initially use too much than too little; if you put too much grout on your working section, scrape the excess off with the float and use it in another area.

Be sure to rinse your tile sponge thoroughly between each pass over the tile to keep the tile as clean as possible.

At the corners or gaps between the walls and floor are called expansion joints. They are caulked instead of grouted because caulk is more flexible than grout and it allows for movement as the surface shifts and expands due to moisture, heat or the building settling. If they didn't flex, the ceramic surface could crack from the strain.

Don't worry if your tile is still cloudy after the grout has set -- once you seal your grout you can use water and a soft cloth to polish the grout off the tile.

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