How To Grout Floor Tiles
Grouting floor tiles is not that difficult but you must keep your grout cleaned up and not left to dry too long around the areas you are trying to grout (don’t leave it to dry onto the tile surfaces to long as it can be difficult to remove after). And do not grout a tiled area that has not had time to completely cure after laying it. Grout comes in basically two types sanded and non-sanded. Generally use non-sanded if your grout lines are less than 1/8″ wide and sanded if your joints are larger than 1/8″ wide.
Difficulty Level: 3/12
- rubber grout float
- 11/2″ stiff putty knife (to mix grout)
- 3-4 sponges
- small container to mix grout (large margarine container works)
- grout joint scraper
- clean water bucket
How to grout floor tiles
Before starting to grout, check over all of the grout joints and make sure you use the grout joint scraper to scrape out any excess thinset that has squeezed up between the tiles while you laid them. Also be sure to vacuum up all of the loose bits left behind.
Here is a photo of the tiles ready to be grouted:
Start by deciding where in the room you would like to start. Try to not work yourself into a corner or a space where you need to walk across the areas you just grouted and are still not cured. You also do not want to do to big of a area at a time or you will not be able to reach across it to sponge it clean later. So now you can put some dry grout into the small clean container and add little amounts of water into it as you mix it by hand. I usually mix about 1 cup of powder at one time. You want a fairly dry but smooth mix that will still stick together but is not to crumbly. If it is too wet, it will have less strength and usually shrink and crack as it dries. So like when you mixed the thinset to lay the tiles, mix the grout, let it sit for 10 minutes and re-mix again before applying to the grout joints. The grout mixture should remain workable for about 2 hrs but try to use it up quicker then that. If it sits for more than 10 minutes re-stir again.
TIP: Do NOT re-apply more water to already setting grout that is mixed in your container. This will only make the mix weaker. If stirring the grout mix does not seem good enough to use, mix a new batch.
So now we can start applying the grout. Use the rubber grout float and force mixture into the joints working diagonally when ever possible to keep from gouging the grout out of the joint as you work. Use the float to remove excess grout from the tiles surfaces as you go. Apply the grout to an area you can easily reach with out having to walk over the are you just grouted.
After about 15 minutes of set time use a damp sponge to wipe tiles clean of excess grout, regularly rinsing sponge out in bucket of clean cool water. I do each area twice before I move on to more grouting and will use more than one sponge through the process of the whole room. Try to work diagonally while sponging as well, just like when you where using the rubber float.
TIP: You will need to change rinse water often to keep it fairly clean. Do not dump this water into the toilet to get rid of it as this usually leaves a stain in the bowl.
Continue this process over the whole room one area at a time. Try to keep your grout mixtures fairly consistent in wetness or some times when it’s dry you will see a difference in the texture of it in the joints from one area to the next. You will notice that as areas that you have cleaned start to dry that there will be a haze or film on the surface, this is the fine particles in your rinse water that where left behind after the water dried. This is normal and can be buffed off with a soft clean cloth after the grout joints have set firmly (usually 60 minutes). The cleaner you sponge the tiles, the less work to remove the haze later. Be cautious when sponging though to not get excessive water from the sponge into the grout lines.
In this photo you can see the top of the photo is the tile that has been sponged off, and the bottom shows how it looks just prior to that:
After grouting is complete, clean all tools to remove grout before it dries on. Keep people off the freshly grouted floor for 24 hours. You may also want to seal the grout lines and or tiles if they are in a wet area or may be prone to staining. Wait about 72 hours after install before applying a sealer.
Also, be sure to check out our article on How To Install Ceramic Floor Tiles