Allocate Enough Time! Make sure allow enough
time to complete the grouting process. How it looks when you go to
bed that night is how it will look forever. Try not to grout more
than you can complete in 2 hrs.
tools. You'll need a grout
float (or the side of your hand for small projects), a grout sponge,
a large bucket of clean water, rubber gloves, clean rags, paper
towel, a container to mix the grout in, and a trowel or putty knife
Protect areas you don't want to be damaged by
grouting. Such as mirrors, frames etc. Simply mask these
areas with low tack painter's tape. After grouting pull back
the tape and smooth out any rough edges.
sealing section to determine if you should pre seal any of
area of your piece.
Once you have all of your tools assembled it's
time to mix your grout. You want a consistency similar to
cookie dough. There is no exact proportion, it depends on the
manufacture and the humidity. Thicker is better is easier to
clean up and is less likely to crack or have air bubbles.
How much grout? Estimate 1.5 - 2 cups of dry
grout per sq. foot but it really depends on how far apart and how
deep your grout joints are. I usually have leftovers but prefer
that to stopping in the middle of a project to mix more grout.
This is an area where it a matter experience. The more you do
it, the better you will get at judging how much to mix.
For large projects, like walls, where you may
use more than 1 bag of grout, mix 2 bags together as color and dye
lots may differ between bags.
If you are custom coloring be sure to reserve
some dry mix if possible and to mix enough to finish. You
don't want to run out, it is always difficult to color match later.
I like to find disposable plastic container to
mix the grout in. That way when I am finished I can just toss
When mixing it is easy to get the grout too wet at the last
minute of adding liquid. When you feel like you're getting close
add water is small increments. If it gets to wet add a little
Once mixed allow the grout to slake (rest) for
10 minutes before using this allows the chemical hardening to begin.
Then restir and apply. This is a necessary process and makes
the grout stronger. Do not add more water or grout once the
grout has slaked this will weaken the grout.
Your goal in applying the grout is to fill all
of the spaces between your tesserae. Force the grout into
these spaces by applying pressure with the float or the side of your
hand and pulling it diagonally across until all of the joints are
filled. Scraping the excess off as you go.
Here's the hard part. Once you have most
of the excess grout removed. Wait! Until the grout has set
up. How long this is will depend on the humidity etc. Usually
in 20 - 30 minutes. Then gently wipe with a very dry damp sponge.
The less water you use in the clean up the better. Next polish clean
with paper towels or a soft rag. I like old sweat shirts and
Sometimes you will get a "grout haze" that will
not polish off. If this happens wait a week or so and then use
an acid wash. First try white vinegar. If this does not
Sulfamic Acid. This is a mild acid and will usually
take care of any haze. Wear rubber gloves and have a clean
bowl of water nearby. Rinse thoroughly with clean water when
finished to stop the chemical process.