Grouting Porous Tiles
If your kitchen or bathroom tiles have gaps between them larger than they should be, worry not, grouting is the perfect solution to your DIY dilemma. However, do not take this step in completing your tile installation lightly since a well executed grouting can save you from constant maintenance and cleaning.
Step 1 - Choosing the Grout
The kind of grout you use to fill the grout joints will depend on their width. Between large tiles with a gap of greater than 1/8 inches, use sanded grout. Grout joints with width less than 1/8 inches will require non-sanded grout. Using a light colored grout like white will bring out the tile color. Dark colored grouts enhance the pattern of the tiles but it is not a wise option if you made mistakes during installation. Mix the powdered grout with either water or latex additive depending on the manufacturer’s instruction on the grout bag.
Step 2 - Pre-Grouting Considerations
Seal the tiles before grouting since this will make the excess grout come off easier. Use a tile sponge and seal the floor in one go. Wait at least 24 hours to let it dry. Using a slightly wet mop, clean the floor and remove any dirt stuck in the grout joints.
Step 3 - Grouting the Floor
Mix the grout powder in one of the buckets only so much that you can use it in 30 to 40 minutes. Put sufficient amount of grout onto the tiles and start working with a rubber grout float. Diagonally move across the tiles as you push the grout into the joints. Do not worry if the grout is not perfectly placed within the joints and is spilling out since you will be cleaning off the excess later. Apply enough force to make sure the grout goes inside the joints and is not simply a superficial layer. Leave expansion joints (tricky corners between walls and floors or underneath tubs and sinks) out for caulking. Remove the excess grout by using the float at an acute angle and move it across the tiles.
Step 4 - Cleaning the Tiles
Since the grout has not hardened yet, be gentle in this step. Clean the tiles and the surrounding excess grout with a wet tile sponge. Keep dipping the sponge in the water bucket and clean the tiles in circular strokes. In order to firmly place the grout within the joints, lightly rub the stroke over the joint moving the sponge towards you. Flip the sponge and repeat this process on the neighboring joint. Regularly dip the sponge in the water and keep it clean. There may be a slight shade of the grout on the tiles after this step. Use a soft rag to wipe it off.
Step 5 - Caulk and Seal the Joints
Let the grout be for a period 2 to 3 days. Caulk the expansion joints mentioned earlier and do not be afraid to use your finger to push it in. Wait another 3 days and seal the joints using a sponge. Finally apply the penetrating sealer only on the grout joints and not on the tiles.