How to Grout Ceramic Tile?
Grout is the mortar that holds ceramic tile together and makes it look nice. It’s also a useful tool that helps prevent water damage, deterioration, and mold growth on your tile. If you’re a DIYer, you may want to learn how to grout ceramic tile yourself so you can save money on professional services.
(Looking for countertop tile resurfacing? Contact us today!)
Before you begin, check with your local ceramic tile retailer for the appropriate grout mix to use in your project. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and using grout to ensure you get an even and smooth finish.
Applying grout can be messy, so wear gloves and safety goggles to keep yourself safe. Depending on the type of grout you’re using, it can take up to 72 hours for it to harden fully.
Using a grout float, fill the joints between ceramic tiles to create an evenly-filled surface for the grout to adhere to. Begin by scooping up a small amount of grout onto the edge of a rubber grout float, then pull the float over the tile to fill the joint. Continue working from the bottom to the top of each section, and hold the float at about 45 degrees to the tile face. This allows you to pull the grout across the joints diagonally, keeping the tile level and preventing any gaps in the grout lines.
Once you have filled the joints with grout, make a clean sweep over the entire area by holding the grout float at an angle and wiping it in a serpentine motion, scraping off excess grout. Repeat this process until you’ve finished the entire first section of tiles.
Clean up any excess grout residue with a sponge, then buff it off the tiles with a dry sponge. Avoid using a standard kitchen sponge, which has sharp edges that can pull the grout out of the joints.
Remove any remaining grout by scrubbing it off with the damp edge of a sponge (not the face). You can also squeegee the excess grout off the tiles by pushing down on the sides with a plastic chisel or similar tool, but keep this method dry and not wet.
After removing the excess grout, wipe down the tiles with a sponge in a circular pattern until just a thin haze remains. If the haze is too thick, it may be necessary to repeat this process two or three times until the haze is gone entirely.
Wait about 20 minutes before cleaning the tiles with a sponge again, and rinse the sponge in a fresh bucket of water as needed. You should see the tiles start to reveal their white surfaces, and a smooth even finish will emerge.
If your tiling was done on the walls first, you might need to do this process twice, but it’s easier to do the floor and bottom rows of wall tiles at one time. This is because the bottom row of wall tiles needs to be firmly set and grouted in order to be stable enough for the tiles on top.