When tile is installed, spacers are placed between each tile to ensure even line spacing. Once the tile has set, the spacers are removed and grout is pressed in between the tiles. The grout can be a neutral color or act as a colorful accent to the tile. Inserting the grout between the tiles is a simple process but it does require some special tools to press the grout in place, even it and seal it to prevent discoloration.
Use either a caulking gun or a grout bag to squeeze the grout into the spaces between the tiles. Caulking guns use prefilled tubes of caulking grout, which comes in limited colors. Grout bags, filled with grout you mix yourself, are used like a pastry bag to press the grout into the inter-tile spaces. While the grout bags require more effort to use, they allow you to use any color of grout or even mix a custom color.
Floats are another tool used to press the grout into place. With a float, you sweep the it across the top of the tiles and press the grout into place and then level it off. Floats come in various types, but the two main types are for epoxy grout and regular grout. Floats for normal grout are usually made from rubber. Epoxy grout is much stickier than normal grout, requiring a different float composition.
Tile needs to be cleaned after the grout begins to set. Use wet sponges first to wipe away the grout on the top of the tiles. Rinse the sponge frequently and wring it out to prevent water from getting into the grout. Grout not removed from the tile with a sponge is then tackled with either a brush or cheesecloth. Don't scrub the grout between the tiles with these tools as it could mar the final appearance.
After the grout has completely dried, seal it with silicone to protect the color from stains and mildew. To apply the sealant, use either a rotary brush or felt-tipped applicator. The sealant shouldn't go on the tile surface as it will make the tile slippery. The rotary wheel applicator and the felt-tip applicator help you only place the sealant where needed. Dip the wheel applicator into the sealant and then wheel it along the grout line to apply it. The felt-tip applicator has a refillable reservoir and you use it like a felt marker, drawing the tip over the grout.
- Photo Credit Boden image by Milosz Bartoszczuk from Fotolia.com
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