Over time, most physical properties depreciate. In the case of our dwellings, it comes in various structural defects and deterioration such as peeling and fading of paints, dents and scratches in beams and panels, and fissures in concrete. For tileworks, it can be the cracking of tiles and the degradation of grout. If you are living in old apartment buildings or other rental properties, outdated tile whether as flooring or walling material could be a common problem.
Even for new units, the tiles will eventually get old and worn. However, you can bring a fresh look into those tiles by simply applying new grout. It will not only protect your tiles from dirt and moisture that can accumulate between seams but will also bring out their natural beauty. Plus, you can do the job with ease and joy. So how do you accomplish? Here are the basic steps on how to grout tiles.
First and foremost, gather up the materials you need. You will be needing a sponge bucket, a squeegee or plastic spreader, a piece of clean cloth, and of course, a good quantity of grout. There are actually four main types of grout which you can use – the cement-based, epoxy, latex-modified sanded cement, and caulking grouts.
Among the four, cement-based grout is the one most commonly used for do-it-yourself tile projects. It has a weak consistency so it is very much easy to work with. If the tiles require a high degree of water resistance like bathroom tiles, consider using epoxy grout. It may be slightly more expensive but it is worth the cost. With higher water resistance and bonding quality than cement grout, latex-modified sanded cement grout is very ideal for bathrooms and countertops. Lastly, if you need to fill hard-to-reach areas, caulking grout is best to use since it can be conveniently squeezed out from a tube or from a caulking gun.
If you are done with the initial preparations, you can now proceed with the actual physical work. Begin by creating the grout mixture. To do this, pour a little water into a bucket and slowly add grout. Using a stick, keep stirring the mixture while adding the grout until you get the right consistency which is similar to a whipped cream.
If you are grouting freshly installed tiles, you can follow these simple steps. Using a squeegee or spreader, apply the wet grout to the tiles. Take a small quantity and force it into the gaps between tile seams. Rule-of-thumb is that you work diagonally across at a 45-degree angle. The grout dries once it is applied so while it is still fresh, work it carefully into the joints. For the exact curing time, check the labels on the packaging. Immediately, wipe off all the excess grout with a damp sponge. Wait for at least ten minutes then go over with a wet sponge again.
Make sure you properly seal the joints to make them water-proof. You can do it in two applications of grout sealer to ensure sealing was done right. Wipe away any drips off the tile since some tile materials are sensitive to this. Remember to never add water to make the grout spread easily because it will actually weaken the grouting. Finally, let the tile sit for the recommended time. Once dried, polish it with a piece of clean cloth.
If you are working with old tiles that has become moldy and dirty-looking, you can easily regrout them with this simple procedure. First, you need to remove the old grout. Before you that, ensure the overall safety of the working space. Cover the floor with dust sheets and put the plug back into the openings of the sink, basin, or tub to prevent the grout from clogging it. Open windows and doors to adequately ventilate the room. For your own safety, wear a safety mask and put on clear goggles.
You can remove grout using a nail or any pointed object. If that is too laborious or time-consuming, better use a grout rake or an electric grout remover. When using a rake, properly align the tool into the line of grout. Apply the right amount of pressure as you draw it along the line in a slow yet steady movement. If you are using an electric remover, there is no need to apply pressure. However, make sure you select the correct head size as the improper size and movement can damage the tile edges. Do the vertical lines first before the horizontals. Once done, wipe over the tiles to remove the dusts.
Afterwards, you can then follow the same procedures for grouting. Prepare the mixture by mixing powdered grout into a bucket of water. Using a spreader, apply the wet grout into the lines. Clean off the excess grout with a clean sponge and let it harden for at least half an hour. For tidier lines, apply a grout finisher. Let it dry again for a few hours and polish away residues with a clean cloth.
Voila! Your tiles will then look new and fresh again!