The process of applying tile grout has been the victim of bad press in recent years, with many home improvement and DIY tutorials claiming that it 鈥檚 an advanced skill only appropriate for those people wanting a real challenge. The reality is that applying tile grout is a relatively straightforward process, and is perfectly achievable by even the most amateur DIY enthusiast. There are only a few stages involved, and probably the most daunting is choosing the right kind of tile grout in the first place. Once you 鈥檝 e tackled that hurdle, you 鈥檙 e on the home straight. There are numerous types of tile grout available on the market, and it 鈥檚 always worth speaking to a tile specialist if you 鈥檙 e unsure of which one is appropriate for your project. Manufacturer 鈥 檚 websites are also typically really good for establishing the difference between the various types. In short, tile grout nowadays varies predominantly in terms of the joint size that it 鈥檚 appropriate for, in colour (which is obviously important when ensuring they complement your choice of tile), and also in terms of the setting they are recommended for use in, i.e. a general purpose area, or a kitchen, bathroom etc. You can also purchase tile grout that features various different kinds of technology, such a 鈥楽 uperflex 鈥?for applications when increased flexibility and enhanced durability are required, and 鈥楳 icroban 鈥? formulated with built-in antibacterial protection. The first step when applying tile grout, is to mix the grout. Ensure you wear a mask to prevent the inhalation of the dry grout mix, as well as eye and hand protection. Always mix your grout using fresh, cold water, and mix it with clean utensils, in a clean bucket. If you use purpose-build tile grout mixing buckets, they will guide you in terms of the correct ratios of water and grout to use 鈥?which is well worth doing. If you 鈥檙 e not using one of these buckets, you should find instructions on the back of the packet. Don 鈥檛 worry about mixing the whole amount of grout you plan to use in your project at once, as this can often be very difficult to estimate accurately. Mix small amounts at a time to prevent waste, since it is not advisable to try and store any unused, already mixed grout. A general rule is to mix no more than the amount you can apply in 20 minutes. Gently fold the grout mix in with water using a trowel, adding it gradually as you go until you achieve a smooth paste. Now you 鈥檙 e ready to start applying the tile grout mixture to your surface using a grout float. Using the edge of the grout float at a 45 degree angle to the surface of the tiles, fill the gaps between them. The more excess you can remove with the grout float the better, as this will reduce the amount of finishing that will be necessary. Be especially generous when filling in the gaps between your end tiles and the wall. Once you 鈥檝 e applied all your grout, leave it to dry for approximately 10 鈥?15 mins, until the grout feels tacky to touch 鈥?roughly the consistency of cream cheese for example. At this stage, use a sponge to wipe down the surface of the tiles at a 45 degree angle to the tile edges, so as not to remove any of the grout from the gaps, but to clean any excess from the surface. Then wait another 10 鈥?15 mins until you start to see a grey-whitish haze forming over the tiles as the excess grout dries. Now take a tile grout profiling tool, angling it at 45 degrees to the surface of tiles, and trace it along the top of the grout line applying a gentle pressure. This should smooth the surface of the tile grout, and remove any final excess, creating a clean, professional finish. Once you 鈥檝 e finished all of these steps, leave the grout or 24 hours to dry completely, and then apply a tile grout residue remover to leave your tiles really clean and spotless. Topps Tile 鈥檚 offers a wide range of high-quality Tile Grout, and offer expert advice on how to use apply it in your projects.
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