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Whether you’re adding a colourful splashback to your kitchen or laying a floor in your bathroom, you need to seal your tiles with grout to protect them from dirt and moisture. Fortunately, grout is quick and easy to apply, and by following our simple step-by-step guide on how to grout tiles (and how to regrout tiles), you’re sure to achieve a professional finish in no time.
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How to grout tiles
What you’ll need
- Tub of grout/adhesive
- Squeegee or plastic spreader
- Sponge Bucket
Most DIY stores and online retailers will sell different types of grout and all the products you need.
What are the different types of grout?
There are four main types of grout:
- Cement-based grout Often used for DIY tile projects. It’s weaker than epoxy grout, but easier to work with.
- Epoxy grout Slightly more expensive than other types but it’s effective for tiles that require a high degree of water resistance, such as bathroom tiles.
- Latex-modified sanded cement grout Similar to cement grout, but with an added degree of water resistance and bonding characteristics which make it great for bathrooms and countertops.
- Caulking grout Squeezed from a tube by hand or from a caulking gun, and great for filling tough-to-reach corners.
1. Prepare your grout
If you are using a powdered grout, pour a little water into a bucket, then add the grout. Using a stick to stir it, keep adding the grout and stirring until you get the consistency of whipped up ice cream.
2. Apply the grout
Apply the grout to the tile using a squeegee or grout spreader. Pick up some grout and force it into the gaps between the tiles. It helps to work diagonally across at a 45 degree angle.
TOP TIP: Work across small areas at a time to avoid the possibility of it drying before it’s in place.
3. Work the grout into the gaps
The grout cures once it is applied, so while it is still workable, tool it into the joints. Remember to check the drying times on the packaging and wipe off all the excess with a damp sponge. Wait 10 minutes then go over with a wet sponge again.
TOP TIP: Never add water to make the grout spread easily as it weakens the grouting.
4. Seal the grout
You will need to seal the joints to make it waterproof. Make sure you are using the proper grout sealer for the project – always read the instructions before applying. Seal the joints with two applications. Make sure you wipe away any drips off the tile, as some tiles will be sensitive to this.
5. Leave the grout to dry
Let the tile sit for the recommended time. When dry, polish with a cloth.
This guide might also help you: How to lay floor tiles
How to regrout tiles
Lovely white grout never takes long to become mouldy and dirty-looking, does it? Spend a weekend replacing yours – and while you’re at it, why not try something different from white this time, with a colour or even glitter grout?
Regrouting your tiles is easier than you think! Do-it-yourself with elbow grease and a grout rake, or with one of these off-the-shelf products.
1. Protect the area
Cover the floor with a dust sheet to make cleaning up quicker, and if you’re working over a bath, sink or basin, put the plug in to stop grout blocking the waste. Open windows and doors to ventilate the room as there will be a lot of dust in the air. If you can’t, wear a safety mask. Put goggles on, so you don’t get bits of flying grout in your eyes.
2. Remove the old grout
You can remove grout with a nail, but it’s very fiddly! It’s better to buy or borrow a grout rake, or better yet, an electric grout remover. It’s far less labour intensive, especially if you’re doing a whole room rather than just a splashback.
Fit the rake into a line of grout, starting in the middle of a tile. Apply pressure and draw it along the line in a slow, steady movement. If you’re using an electric tool, there’s no need to apply pressure, but be sure to choose the correct size head and be careful not to damage the tile edges as you go. Do the vertical lines first, then the horizontals. Wipe over the tiles to remove the dust.
3. Mix and apply the new grout
If using powdered grout, mix up just as much as you’ll be able to use in 20 minutes (it’ll start to harden after that). Apply a blob of your mixed powder or ready-mixed grout to a grout spreader (using a scraper or grout trowel). Use the spreader to work the grout into the lines, going over the tiles with the edge to clean off excess.
4. Clean and leave to dry
Use a well-squeezed damp tile sponge to clean off the excess. If any grout falls out when you do, just push a little back in with your finger. Let it harden for about half an hour, then use a grout finisher to give tidy, indented lines – you simply run the rounded end along the line gently. Leave it to dry for a few hours, then use a soft, clean cloth to polish away the powdery residue on the surface of the tiles.
Now your bathroom will look as good as new – and you didn’t have to splash out on a new suite!