More and more homeowners are experiencing the satisfaction of repairing their tile and grout. The high cost of labour for even small jobs, has driven people to the stores looking for tile, materials, products and information.
This is GREAT! Why shouldn’t homeowners learn to tile and grout?
I’ve seen many new homes with completed ceramic tile jobs that have made the hair on the back of my neck stand up in fright, especially in new builds where the bottom line for the developer is speed and corners to cut. So the more we learn about the different trades and the applications and techniques thereof, the better we will recognise a well performed and finished product to be proud of.
With this in mind, here are some grouting techniques to remember for your next tile or stone job around the house.
Step 1 – Preparation
Whether you have laid new tiles or have scraped out the grout from an existing tiled area, make sure you clean the grout joints thoroughly and have taped off the areas you don’t want the grout to spill over.
Wiping grout off of sealed cabinets and semi or glossy paints won’t hurt those materials if you use care when wiping, but sometimes a little labor invested in taping adjacent areas will make the job easier in the long run.
Step 2 – Mix the grout
When the grout joints are clean and ready to fill; mix the powdered grout with clean water and according to the package specifications. The grout should be lump-free and a consistency that will not easily pour out of the bucket.
Use the appropriate grout for your application. A non-sanded grout should be used for grout joints that are 1/8 and smaller in widths, while sanded grouts are to be used in joints which are larger. Typically you’ll find the smaller grout joints with the non-sanded grout in the bathroom and shower areas.
Step 3 – Protection
Use some latex gloves to protect your hands and nails and to make clean up a little easier.
Step 4 – Grouting method
With a grout float held at a 30-45 degree angle, spread the grout firmly into the grout joints.
Don’t worry about the mess on the tiles as this will clean up with your sponge at the proper time. Some areas that are hard to float, you can force the grout into the joint by hand.
Step 5 – Remove excess grout
When all the joints are filled completely, scrape the excess grout off the tiles by holding the float at an almost 90 degree angle and pulling diagonally across the joints so you don’t remove grout from the joints. Put all the remaining grout back in the bucket.
Step 6 – Wait for the grout to dry and set
Allow the grout to set for about 10 minutes until semi hard.
Step 7 – Clean up
With a clean bucket of water and grout sponge, lightly wipe the tiles with a damp sponge, (not a dripping sponge). Always wipe with a clean side of the sponge, flip the sponge over and wipe another section, then rinse the sponge clean.
The initial sponging wipes most of the unwanted grout from the surface. The second sponging smoothes and neatens the joints and the third cleans the haze or residue from the tile.
Always allow a few minutes between the three sponging cycles as this will allow the grout time to properly set.
Tip – Remember, you don’t want water from the sponge to puddle on the grout as this weakens and deforms the consistency.
Lastly, a final wipe will smooth any remaining high spots in the grout joints and clean the tiles of the remaining haze. After the grout dries, you can polish the tile with cheesecloth or a soft cotton cloth to remove any remaining residue. Nice Job!
How to Cut Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tiles can be used throughout the house to add an extra element of design to any room. You can put ceramic tiles behind the stove to add a decorative accent to the kitchen. You can put them in various places in the bathroom and other places throughout the house.
In order to install the ceramic tile yourself, you need to learn essential skills. The most important skill is how to cut ceramic tile. Here is some advice.
When learning how to cut ceramic tile, you need to first understand that there are some safety considerations.
You must always wear goggles. When you cut ceramic tiles, dust forms and it may have sharp edges. If this dust lodges in your eyes, it can cause some damage. Also make sure you learn and use the proper technique when using power tools to prevent injury.
The next step to take when learning how to cut ceramic tile is to measure the area where you will put the tile. Calculate exactly how many tiles you will need and figure out how many tiles need to be cut. Remember that you will need to take into account the space needed for the grout when making your calculations.
Cutting the tiles
Once you measure, you are ready to start cutting the ceramic tile. You can either use a tile cutter or tile jig.
Tips for cutting tiles
- If you decide to use a tile cutter, measure the area to be cut.
- Use the tile cutter to make an indentation in the tile.
- Take a straight edge and hold it next to the cut.
- Move the tile cutter up and down the straight edge to make the indentation deeper.
- Once it is deep enough, slowly work the tile back and forth in your hands or with a pair of pliers to eventually break the pieces in half.
- If you decide to use the tile jig, remember to use proper safety procedure and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Learning how to cut ceramic tile is a valuable skill. Ceramic tiles are a great way to add accents to any room. Remember to use proper safety techniques and wear goggles. Before you begin cutting, make sure you measure and learn the proper use for your tools.