Choosing and Applying Tile Grout
LESLIE: April in Maryland finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And you’ve got a tiling question. What can we do for you?
APRIL: Well, I just got done putting tile all over my bathroom floors and my bathroom walls and I have to grout.
APRIL: So, I need to know do you use the same type of grout for the walls and the floors, what’s the best way to go about it and what type to use.
LESLIE: Well, what is the spacing between your tiles? What is that measurement? Is it an eighth, is it …?
APRIL: Probably about a fourth.
LESLIE: About a quarter. So for a quarter you would use sanded grout. Is that correct, Tom?
TOM: Well, yes. You want to use a sanded grout and you want to mix it up so that it’s not too loose and not too stiff so that it flows …
LESLIE: Kind of like peanut butter.
TOM: Kind of like peanut butter, right. That’s the … that’s the key. If you make it too stiff it’s real hard to work with and if you make it loose it’s just a big, stinking mess and it never seems to dry. So the peanut butter is a good consistency for you to shoot for.
LESLIE: And then what you want to get is something called a grout float, which is like a rubber-backed trowel. And then you scoop up some of your grout on that trowel and, holding it at a 45 degree angle, you want to go across the joints on your tile. So you’re filling it in and you’re really sort of pushing it into that space. But by holding it at a 45 degree, you’re going to get it in there pretty nicely. And you want to cover up that entire floor and then what you want to do is you want to wait until it hardens up a little bit – maybe about 20 minutes – then you want to go back in with a damp sponge – not too wet – and wipe off all of that excess grout. But don’t rub it too much because then you’ll start affecting the integrity of the grout and the joints. And then let it set up a little while more and then you can go back in with a nice soft cloth to get rid of the cloudiness that you’ll see on your tile. And that cloudiness is going to come back for a couple of hours over that day as it’s curing. You can keep going back and wiping it away. And that should do it for you.
APRIL: Do you use the same type for the wall as you do for the floor?
LESLIE: Well, I’ve always thought, depending on what the spacing is between your tile, is that’s how you determine what type of grout you get. If it’s an eighth of an inch spacing or smaller, I go with non-sanded. And if it’s larger than an eighth I go with sanded because obviously there’s sand in the grout component which helps it to fill up a larger space. So I go by joint size.
TOM: April, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.