If you want a new ceramic tile floor in your kitchen or bathroom, then you may groan at the thought of grouting the joints once all the tiles are secured in place. This is a normal response since grouting is a messy job that can easily turn out poorly. While this is true, there are a few tips that you can use to make sure your grout turns out the way you want it.
Mix Properly And Let The Grout Rest
There is a certain tactic you should use to mix grout. First, you need to gather the right supplies. You will need a large five to ten gallon bucket, your grout mix, a bucket of water, and something called a margin trowel. A margin trowel is commonly used for stucco and other types of masonry work. It is rectangular, small, beveled, and the perfect tool for mixing and scooping grout. You will need a notch trowel as well to spread the grout, but you will use the margin trowel for mixing.
Start by placing your grout powder in your bucket and slowly start to add water. Mix the powder and the water together by moving the trowel in a circular motion. Make sure to scrape the bottom and the sides of the bucket as you stir so the powder and water mix uniformly. Once all the powder has dissolved, mix until the mortar or grout is the consistency of peanut butter. You may need to add water and powder grout intermittently until the mixture is the right consistency.
Once you have thoroughly mixed the grout, you should resist the urge to start spreading it in between the joints of the ceramic tiles. You need to allow it to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes first. This is called slaking, and it allows the binders in the grout to properly absorb as much water as they need to activate and adhere properly in each seam.
If you do not allow the grout to sit, you should know that it can and will crack. This is especially true if pressure is placed on your ceramic tile floor.
Cover Your Floor
Many people make the mistake of pressing grout directly into the joints. However, certain motions can cause the mortar to be sucked back out of the cracks instead of staying put where it is supposed to. When you spread the grout, start by piling a good amount of the mixture on a float tool. Start by moving the loaded float along the tile floor diagonally so the grout is forced into the joints. If you spread the grout correctly, you should see a great deal of it across the floor.
Now that your floor is completely covered, use your notch trowel and run it up and down the joints. This will help to press the grout into the openings and fill in spaces where the mortar may have not collected properly. When you are finished, clear your float tool of grout and start running it horizontally across the tiling to pick up the excess grout. You can drop it into your bucket as you collect it.
To finish up, run a damp sponge across the floor with very little pressure. This will clean the leftover grout away and create the aesthetically appealing indentations in the joints. Be careful not to remove too much grout as you sponge. If you do, add more, scrape, and sponge the area again. You also may want to keep some of your mixed grout in a plastic bag or a sealed plastic container in case you need to repair an area in the future.
If you feel you cannot do this on your own, contact professional contractors for ceramic tile or a local flooring company to help you.