Grouting

 

Time to get started!

  1. 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. 

  2. Assemble your 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 for mixing.

  3. 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.

  4. See our sealing section to determine if you should pre seal any of area of your piece.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. I like to find disposable plastic container to mix the grout in.  That way when I am finished I can just toss it out.

  10. 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 more powder.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 t-shirts.

  14. 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 work use 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.

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