How to Buff Grout Off of Tile Before Sealing

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Installing tile in your home is a great way to add character and interest to an otherwise bland wall or floor. Whether you are creating an intricate glass tile backsplash in your kitchen or placing large subway tiles in a shower, certain steps are necessary to properly complete a tiling project. To bring out the full beauty of the tiles, they must be properly buffed before applying a sealant.

Things You'll Need

  • Grout sponge
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth or other small cloth
  • Knife or screwdriver
  • Let the grout dry for about 20 minutes before removing the residue left behind.

  • Wet a sponge and ring it out thoroughly. Gently wipe the surface of the tiles, removing any excess grout. Let it dry for two hours.

  • Buff each tile clean with a piece of cheesecloth or other soft fabric. This will remove the layer of dust that has accumulated, called haze. Depending on the size of the project, this can be time consuming. The haze will disappear and reveal gleaming tiles.

  • Clean any lines or small crevices that remain on certain types of tile, such as glass, with a knife or screwdriver. Grout can get stuck in these crevices. For other tiles that are smooth and have an even surface, buffing may be enough.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best type of sponge to use is one that is made specifically for grouting tiles. You can find one in any home improvement or hardware store, usually with the grout and other tiling materials. It is usually a larger, soft sponge that is rounded on all sides to prevent any sharp angles.
  • It is important that the sponge is moist but not too wet. Any extra moisture could seep from the sponge and compromise the integrity of the grout. If the grout becomes too wet, it won't dry as effectively and could crumble eventually.
  • You may want to wear protective gear such as rubber gloves and a face mask. Any concrete material like grout can be harsh on the skin and the dust can be inhaled.

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