8 expert tips for better grouting

September 8, 2015

If you've ever had grout turn rock-hard before getting it off the tile, you know how grouting can be a nightmare. Here are eight expert tips for better grouting.

8 expert tips for better grouting

1. Seal porous tile before grouting

  • If you don't seal porous tile and stone, grout will stick like glue and be impossible to clean off.
  • If you're installing a matte finish tile or other tile with a rough surface but don't want the sheen that a sealer would leave, apply a liquid grout release product.
  • Grout release forms a thin film that prevents grout from sticking but washes off as you clean off the grout.
  • Use a sealer rather than grout release if you want to enhance the colour of stone or leave a "wet" looking finish.
  • You may have to apply another coat of sealer after grouting for maximum protection.

2. Do let the grout slake

  • It's important to let the grout set for 10 minutes after mixing.
  • This step, called slaking, allows the water to completely moisten the dry ingredients.
  • Remix the grout after the slaking period and add a little more powder or water until your mix reaches the viscosity of mayonnaise.

3. Don't spread too much grout at once

  • Temperature and humidity affect how quickly grout starts to harden after you spread it on the wall.
  • Grout small areas at a time to avoid hardened grout.
  • Finish grouting, shaping the joints and cleaning each section before proceeding.

4. Tool the joints

  • To shape and compact your grout, drag a tool across every joint.
  • The tool can be anything from the rounded corner of the grout float to the rounded end of a toothbrush handle.
  • Avoid using metal tools, since they can damage the tile or leave marks.

5. Do force grout into the joints

  • For a long-lasting grout job, make sure all the joints are completely filled with grout.
  • Make several passes over the same area from different directions with your grout float.
  • Hold the float with its face at an angle of about 45 degrees to the tile to force the grout into the joint.
  • When the joints are filled, remove excess grout from the face of the tiles.

6. Remove grout from corners before caulking

  • Because it's flexible and can handle slight movement, caulk is used at corners instead of grout.
  • Apply a neat bead of matching caulk at vulnerable areas like along your tub or countertop and at inside corners.
  • Before you caulk these areas, you'll first have to remove the grout from them.
  • Most home centres and tile shops will have caulk to match the colour of your grout.

7. Use a clean, damp sponge to remove grout

  • Wet your grouting sponge and wring it out until it's just damp.
  • Then, starting along one side of the grouted area, position the sponge so that the corner of one long side of the sponge is in contact with the wall and drag the sponge in a continuous stroke up the wall.
  • Now rotate the sponge to expose a clean corner and repeat the process alongside the first stroke. Clean the tiles two or three more times using the same process until they're free of grout residue.

8. Don't scrub the grout or use too much water

  • Let your grout harden slightly before you clean off the excess.
  • Press the grout with your finger: when it's hard enough to resist denting, you can start cleaning the excess grout from the face of the tile and shaping the joints.
  • But remember that too much water will weaken the tile and cause the grout colour to be uneven when it dries,
  • Also, scrubbing doesn't remove grout efficiently.

Follow these eight expert tips to keep your grouting jobs going smoothly.

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