DIY - How to Apply Ceramic Tile Grout
Ceramic tile grout mix is a kind of filling material that is used in the construction industry, mainly for masonry works.
It is used to seal ceramic tile joints after installations, or to fill voids and cracks between ceramic tiles.
Materials used for grouting depends on what material are being joined together in the building industry. It can be composed of a cement and sand mix if it is required for filling cement block core.
Grouting material can also be a cement-based epoxy if required for ceramic wall or floor tiling.
If colour is required in tile grout works, a colour tint of any shade can be added to the mix so that it can be the same colour as the laid tiles. It can also be made to be a contrasting colour that highlights or complements the installed ceramic tiles.
Tools Required to Apply Tile Grout
To apply tile grout efficiently without creating a mess, you first have to prepare adequately. You'll need to get a few tools and materials to ensure a job well done.
These are the simple tools and implements you will need to perform your grouting task if you need to replace old grout:
- Grout Saw/Remover (the electric grout saw ensures a speedy job)
A grout saw is composed of tungsten carbide blades and is used to cut and remove old tile grout. This is required if renovation works are being carried out on existing laid tiles.
A scraper is a simple hand tool that is required to remove old grouting that has been discoloured with age.
A grout float is similar to a trowel used by masons but it has a sponge rubber pad at the bottom. It is used to smoothen the surface when it's just been freshly applied to the tile works.
The sealer is water-based and is applied over dried grout. They must possess qualities that resists water, oil or acid-based contaminants.
A grout attachment acts as a guide. It is placed over a rotary implement and it helps in a quick removal of old ceramic tile grout. It can be used in place of the saw for faster and better grouting works.
When laying ceramic floor or wall tiles you need plastic spacers. Plastic spacers are used to space tiles evenly and squarely so that the tiles are laid 'dead straight'. Spacers ensure the gaps are the same width whilst laying.
These little X-shaped soft flexible plastics should be removed before applying grout.
Next you mix the tile grout with water, remembering that the quantities required will depend on how much tiling needs to be done. Follow the instructions on the package carefully and ensure you use the right ratio of the ceramic tile grout and water (or the acrylic latex liquid) mix.
It is advisable to use grout that has an acrylic latex additive in its components. This will ensure good flexibility, and eliminate the chances of having fine line cracks after it has hardened.
If the tile grout purchased comes without this additive, an acrylic latex liquid admixture can be used to mix it, instead of water.
Grouting Methods for Ceramic Tiles
Learning how to apply tile grout is not as difficult as many believe. Many homeowners can apply it successfully to their kitchen or bathroom floors and walls, though mosaic tile grouting is a bit more challenging for most people.
- Spray the floor with a light mist of water. You can do this in sections so the water mist doesn't dry faster than you can work. This gives the ceramic tile grout mix some moisture that otherwise would affect its setting.
- Scoop some amount of grout onto the floor starting from the inner corner of the room. Spread the paste with a grout float held about 30degrees horizontally from the floor, and move in a wiping motion at an angle to the gaps.
- Avoid haphazard smearing.
- Carefully and evenly spread the mix into all the gaps and push in more grout into these gaps to ensure all the gaps for grouting are well packed and compacted.
- Use the edge of the float to scrape off the excess grout from the floor or walls and wait for 20 minutes (or whatever time is stipulated on the package). During this waiting period, clean all messy grout from the edges of the walls in case there has been a bit of smearing done whilst grouting.
- This is now time for sponge cleaning the tile grout. Cleaning with a sponge removes the thin film of grout from the tiles without affecting the grout within the gaps. It is important to keep to the stipulated waiting time or it will become difficult removing the tile grout film.
- Rinse the sponge often while cleaning, ensuring the water is wrung out well. Always wipe gently but firmly.
After about 40 to 45minutes, again depending on the stipulated drying period on the package, clean the faint residue of grout off the tiles using a simple paper towel. At this time the grouting has hardened though not thoroughly, but enough to give a good clean a chance.
Give the finished work a lightly sprayed mist of water 2 times a day for three days after grouting.
And remember to apply the grout sealer after full curing. This will prevent growth of mold and mildew and it will prevent staining or darkening.
Ceramic tile grout mix comes in a variety of colours so there is a good choice of colour in the market that will suit each individuals need.
And there is sanded variation which contains some sand for a special effect finish, and the 'un-sanded' grout which obviously is without sand.
The sanded type can be used for wider gaps because the sand serves as a filler, while 'un-sanded' grout is used to fill very thin gaps of mosaic tiles, marble tiles and granite tiles.