You may consider yourself pretty good at do-it-yourself projects, but even the most dedicated home improvement enthusiasts can be intimidated at the thought of learning how to grout tile floor. Rest assured, you can handle this project, and with the wide variety of tile colors and styles on the market, it might even be an exciting mode of self-expression. No matter how beautiful your tile, though, it’s the grout that pulls the look together and can be the difference between a professional looking job and a real mess. So what’s the secret to grouting floor tile?
The truth is, there’s no mystery about it. The secret to grouting floor tiles isn’t a secret at all, but a collection of tips and techniques that the experts apply to make grout jobs easier, and give tile a beautiful, finished look. Learn these tips, and you, too, can install tile that looks like the work of a professional.
1. First, be careful in your work. Grouting comes at the end of the project, when you’re already tired and ready for the job to be over! Don’t allow this fatigue to undermine the care you take in finishing the job. Start with a clean slate by vacuuming out the joints, and tape off painted walls, as well as trim or inset tiles, before beginning the process of grouting.
2. Next, choose the right kind of grout. There are three major categories of grout: Portland cement based grouts, epoxy-based grouts, and furan-resin grouts. Portland cement grouts are the ones most commonly used when there are no special considerations involved. Epoxy-based and furan-resin are more expensive, but may be necessary when the tile installation is going to face certain chemicals. Other considerations when choosing to grout tile floor is the impact UV light or moisture may have on the area.
3. A caveat regarding the pricier grouts. If you do need a grout that will be easy to maintain and install, is highly stain resistant—ensuring that your grout retains its beauty for years—and will stand up to chemical punishment, we recommend Starlike® for both its durability and its style. Easy to install yet tough enough to stand up to aggressive chemicals, it is useful for a wide variety of applications. In addition, it comes in 94 different finishes, including metallic and high fashion colors, allowing you unprecedented opportunity for creative design.
4. Sanded or unsanded? Once you’ve narrowed it down to one of these three types of grout, it’s not narrow enough! You still have to decide between sanded and unsanded; the rule of thumb is to use sanded in joints larger than 1/8th of an inch, and unsanded in smaller joints. Sanded grout is stronger and less likely to crack. An exception to this rule is that with soft stone tiles like polished marble, you’ll want to use unsanded grout, to avoid scratching the surface. The Tile Doctor offers additives for sanded and unsanded grout, making our grouts more stain resistant. The additive product—Grout Admix 2—seals from the inside out, making the grout more impervious to mold and mildew.
5. To mix or not to mix? Some people prefer pre-mixed grout, but mixing the grout by hand with a trowel gives you good control over the consistency. You should mix your grout until the powder is dissolved, and it’s the consistency of peanut butter, and then let it sit and “slake” (absorb water) before applying it. Grout that isn’t allowed to slake for 10 minutes or so can be prone to weakness and cracking.
6. Spread your grout diagonally. This will help drive it into the joints and prevent it from popping out as you go. If you have to grout both walls and floor, do the walls first, so that any mess doesn’t fall onto an already finished floor.
7. Clean up after yourself! This is one secret of learning how to grout tile floor that is key to a beautiful end result. Residue left over from grout can make tiles hazy and ruin the look of your tile floor, so make sure you do a thorough job of removing the excess. First, use a squeegee in a serpentine motion to remove the bulk of the extra grout. Next, use a damp sponge to wipe off the rest of the grout, and follow up once the grout is dry by buffing off the haze with a cotton or microfiber towel.
Whether you’re trying to learn the secret to grouting tile floors, or you just want to know where to find the right tile and grout to complete your project, The Tile Doctor can help. A leader in the fast growing tile industry, The Tile Doctor offers groundbreaking products, helpful advice, and innovative solutions for all your tiling needs.
Before grouting floor tile, give us a call at 1-877-TILE-DOC and we can help walk you through your project. Discover more about our Starlike® grout online at www.theTileDoctor.com, or connect with our online community through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.