Tile grout strengthens the tile and keeps water from entering the joints. As well as the practical purpose of grout, it also adds aesthetically to the tiling project or job. Usually tile grout is a neutral color but there are so many colors available now that any tile grout color combination is possible. In general, it is best not to pick white or a light color for floor applications since dirt will quickly make it look dingy and you will end up with a mucky off white colour or yellowish tinge to your grout. This may lead to you having to repeat the grouting to your tiling job again.
Tile grout application is actually a fairly simple job after the harder parts of laying and leveling the tile. The tools and equipment you need for your tiling grouting job are tile grout, bucket, kneepads, tiling grout float, tiling grout sponge and waterproof gloves.
Tile grout is available in premixed tile grout form or in tiling grout powder form. The premixed tile grout depends upon evaporation for drying and therefore is really only appropriate for small wall tiling applications which will not be in contact with water. The powder form of tile grout is cement based and therefore dries chemically which provides a much stronger and harder joint. Powdered tile grout is available in sanded or non-sanded mixtures. Sanded tile grout is appropriate for tile joints larger than 3mm and usually used for floor tiling applications. Non-sanded tile grout is for wall tile applications with a tiling joint width of less than 3 mm. It is possible to purchase a polymer-modified flexible tile grout or a tile grout polymer additive, which adds flexibility and provides more water resistance but it is a little more difficult to work with on your tiling job. Polymer additives are indicated when the backing surface onto which your tiling is to be applied is wood since the wood will bend and flexible and a polymer-modified grout will flex without cracking.
Tile Grout Mixture – The first step to applying tile grout is to mix the tie grout. It is very important to use gloves, goggles and a mask when dealing with cement based flexible tile grout powders. The tile grout bag has the proportion of water to tile grout for mixing but factors such as heat will affect the mixture so add water only a little at a time to the tile grout mix. The consistency of tile grout should be about the same as peanut butter. A watery tile grout mixture will take much longer to dry and is harder to work with. Once the tile grout is mixed, it has a working time of 20-40 minutes so only mix small batches of your tile grout or it will be necessary to throw away tile grout and you will have to start your tile job all over again.
Tile Grout Application – Apply tile grout to the tiling joints with a rubber tile grout float. Press the flexible tile grout into the tiling joints by holding the tile float at a 30-degree angle and applying pressure as tile grout is dragged over the tile gaps. Be sure that the tile grout is filling the tile joint to the bottom surface. Once the flexible tile grout fills all the tile joints, scrape the excess tile grout by holding the tile float almost vertically as you drag. It is helpful to drag diagonally across the tile joints to prevent digging in and accidentally removing flexible tile grout from within the tile joints. Once the tile grout has begun setting, use a large tile sponge and wipe the excess from the tile joints; do not use too much water in this process. Once the tile grout hardens, go back with a soft rag and buff the tile to remove tile grout film. Depending on the tile application, the last step is a tile grout sealer, which will help it repel stains and prolong the water-resistant life of your tile grout and your overall tiling job.