Whether you are remodeling your bathroom or just doing some DIY tile work, knowing how to grout tile is one of the most important parts of the job. The tiling and grout work together to make a strong surface that will stand up to years of use. That’s why it’s important to know a little bit about grouting tile before you get started on your project.
For DIYers who are new to doing their own tile work, the following tips for grouting floor tiles will teach you some of the basics of grout removal and applying grout to a tile floor.
For homeowners that want to know how to grout existing tiles, the first step is to remove the old grout. If you are laying new tiles, you can skip this section on grout removal and go to the next section on applying grout.
When it comes to tile grout removal, you could use a tool like a grout rake to remove it by hand. However, the job will be much faster and easier if you use an oscillating multi-tool. A model like the Sonicrafter F30 3.5 Amp Oscillating Multi-Tool can be one of the best grout tools available. It’s easy to handle and will make your grout removal work much faster.
The first step in the process is to fit the oscillating multi-tool with a grout attachment. For the purposes of removing grout, you want to use a carbide semicircle oscillating blade.
With the grout removal attachment in place, turn the oscillating tool on and gently work it straight into the seam. Once you have made your straight cut through the grout, you then want to slowly angle the oscillating multi-tool back and forth in the seam to clear out more grout. You just need to be careful not to damage the tiles.
Once the seam is mostly clear, you can then use something like a small flathead screwdriver or your margin trowel to clear any leftover grout from the seam.
Whether you are laying a new tile floor or grouting tile after removing the old grout, you should start by vacuuming the seams. Ideally, you want the seams to be as clear as possible before you start applying grout to tile.
Pour some of the dry grout into a bucket and then slowly add water. You can then mix the grout using your margin trowel. To make it easier, tip the bucket on an angle toward yourself and slowly roll the bucket as you mix. The key is to get all of the powder mixed in until you have a thick paste. Once the grout is thoroughly mixed, let it stand for five to ten minutes so the chemicals can activate.
Techniques for How to Apply Grout
With the grout ready, you can grab your grout float and start working on grouting tile. To load your grout float, just tip the bucket on an angle and use the float to pull some grout up on the side. Then use the float to scrape it up off the inside of the bucket.
Start applying the grout by spreading it on the surface, working diagonally across the seams. The idea is to push as much of the grout into the seams as possible as you work the grout float across the surface. Once you have a good amount of grout on the tile, you then want to work your way back across, pushing more of the grout into the seams.
With enough grout pressed into the seams, you then want to hold the float at an angle and work it like a squeegee to clean the excess grout off the face of the tiles. With this grouting floor tiles tip, simply hold your grout float on an angle and work your way side-to-side, making passes until you have cleared most of the excess grout off the tiles.
After letting the grout sit for about half an hour, you need to come back with a sponge to finish cleaning the surface. However, you do not want to use just any sponge. If you look near the grout tools and supplies at your hardware store, you should see some heavy sponges that are perfect for grouting tile.
Dip the sponge into a bucket of clean, cold water. Wring it out until it is only slightly damp. When it comes to removing excess grout with your sponge, you just want to work it across the surface of the tiles. It will probably take a few passes and you will need to clean the sponge a few times before the surface comes clean. After the surface is clean, you can then use the sponge to gently tool the seams to get them even.
Applying grout will take some time and attention to detail, but it is something most homeowners should be able to do on your own. With a good oscillating multi tool, you can also remove your old grout and make the job much easier.
Find the right oscillating multi-tool and grout attachment to make tiling and applying grout easier at Rockwell!