GROUT & ABOUT: A guide to grouting

Grouting is one of the easiest DIY tasks to master. With just a few tools and tips, you’ll be a pro in no time. 

Before you head to the hardware store, here are a few things to consider:

  • The size of your tile joints – ensure you buy a grout suitable to the size of your tile joint.
  • The tile you are using it with – there are different products available for different materials such as natural stone and marble.
  • If you need a grout that combats mould – great for use in wet areas such as bathrooms.
  • If you need a flexible grout for areas where there’s movement in the wall/floor.
  • Premixed v’s powder – the premixed usually costs a little more but it saves you a bit more time and fuss. I usually go powdered.

TOOLS:

  1. Grout saw – costs around $5 and removes unwanted grout or adhesive from tile joints.
  2. Grout squeegee or float – between $8-$20 depending on size. For smaller jobs, a squeegee is a great choice.
  3. Bucket/container – to mix grout in if you’re going with the powdered variety
  4. Sponge – a nice big foam sponge to wipe off excess wet grout
  5. Soft cloth – to buff up and remove dry grout dust off tiles

Remember, tiles should be firmly set before you start grouting and ensure all tile spacers are removed.

STEP 1

grout copyMake sure your tile joins are clean and free from any tile adhesive that may have squished  up between the tiles – run your grout saw in the joint to file away any unwanted adhesive. You want any remaining adhesive to sit well below the tile surface to allow a decent amount of grout to fill the joint. Use this tool to remove existing grout if you’re re-grouting also. 

STEP 2

If using a powdered variety, mix according to the manufacturers instructions. Generally, you want it to be the consistency of toothpaste. Easy peasy.

(At this stage, you might also want to reference the manufacturer’s instructions whether your tile type e.g natural stone, needs to be slightly damped prior to applying the grout.)

STEP 3

20141110_170439 copy

Working small sections at a time, use your squeegee or float, to spread the grout across the face of the tiles. Sweep it in all directions to ensure each joint is firmly packed. There will be some grout left on the surface of the tile. This is normal, just try to avoid leaving chunks of the stuff!

STEP 4

Once all the joints in the section are filled, use a damp sponge to wipe off the excess grout. A diagonal motion is best used here. Your sponge will fill up quickly so keep on rinsing and changing the water. Continue grouting small sections until you’re done.

STEP 5

At this stage, your tiles will be looking a little cloudy. Once your grout is completely dry (again refer to manufacturer’s instructions on drying times), use a soft cloth to buff away the dried grout on the tile surface. Some areas may need a little bit more grunt work than others.

You might want to consider using a grout sealant for areas such as the kitchen. It helps resist stains such as food splatters while cooking.

Ta-da! You have mastered the art of grouting.

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