Preparation and application of tile grout

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Preparation and application of tile grout
Preparation and application of tile grout

Preparation of mixtures and work with tile grouting, their types and composition, material calculation, methods of applying solutions and final processing of tile joints. Tile grouting is the final stage of tiling. It provides for the preparation of a special composition and filling the seams between piece materials with it. In this case, the finished coating becomes airtight and acquires an attractive appearance. You will learn all about the correct grouting of tiles today from our article.

The main types of grout mixtures for tiles

Dry mix based on cement

Before starting grouting tile joints, you should decide on the type of mixture and the requirements for it. Currently, there are two main types of such material:

  • Dry mixes based on cement… They, in turn, are divided into two types: formulations with and without filler. As a filler of the first type of mixtures, quartz sand serves, which performs a reinforcing function and makes the hardened seams of the cladding more durable. The second type of mixture is characterized by a fine-grained structure. These grouts can be used without fear of scratching the delicate surface of the glazed tile. In addition to the cement base and filler, both compositions for grouting tiles include various additives that provide the joints with certain properties: plasticity, water resistance, protection against fungus, frost resistance, color, etc.
  • Two-component synthetic blends… They are based on epoxy or furan resins containing dyes. In the process of preparing the grout, a hardener is added to the composition, which provides the mixture with polymerization after filling the joints of the lining. Furan resins are used to a greater extent for the preparation of tile grout used in production, since the process of working with them is quite technically complex. The most common are epoxy grouts. They have high strength, elasticity, a huge variety of colors and resistance to chemicals, including acids.

After choosing the type of grout, you need to decide on its desired color. This stage is very important, since the future appearance of the entire cladding depends on it. Skillfully color-matched grout can enhance the dignity of the tile and even take on a significant part of the surface decoration, transforming the interior of the room. Conversely, the wrong choice of color can ruin the impression of the most expensive and high-quality tiles.

Calculation of the amount of tile grout

Mira Glitter copper grout

It is rather difficult to calculate the estimated consumption of the mixture for grouting tiles. Even the numbers that the manufacturers of the goods indicate on the packages often differ. An unpleasant moment comes when the grouting ends unexpectedly, not justifying the consumption rates stated in the instructions.

To minimize miscalculations when buying grout, you need to consider:

  1. Tile texture… The consumption of grout, taking into account the collection of its surplus from the embossed surface, will be higher.
  2. Tile dimensions… From the point of view of mathematics, everything is simple here: the seams on the surface of the cladding will be the smaller, the larger the area of ​​each of its fragments. That is, when processing the seams between small tiles, the mixture will be consumed more, and vice versa: the larger the tile, the less grout will be consumed.
  3. Width of seams… It is characterized by the size of the plastic crosses that were used when laying the tiles.

Usually the ratio is taken as a basis: 0.4 kg of grout per 1 m2 standard tiles.With a small thickness of tile joints, to calculate the amount of grout, you can use the following formula: Z = (A + B) x H x W x P / (A x B). Here A is the length of the tile, B is its width, H is the thickness, W is the width of the joint, P is the density of the trowel mixture. All dimensions are in millimeters.

Preparatory work before grouting tiles

Metal spatula for mixing the mixture

Do-it-yourself grouting of the tile joints should be done no earlier than a day after laying the coating, but it should not be postponed for a longer period. This is due to a number of reasons:

  • The day after laying the last tile, the adhesive has not yet gained its final strength, so it is possible to easily remove stains and dirt that were missed the day before.
  • Residual moisture in the tiles ensures better adhesion of the grout to the material. Conversely, special moistening of dried out joints causes an increased content of water in the grout, which makes the mixture liquid and reduces its elasticity. It is much more difficult to apply and distribute such a composition along the seams.
  • Leaving the lining seams open for a long time is not recommended due to their possible contamination. Small debris and even dust trapped in the gaps between the tiles can complicate the application of any grout.

The color of the grout should be matched to the color of the tiles laid. Generally accepted design rules do not use more than two primary colors in the interior of one room. Therefore, slight variations in the brightness of the grout shades are permissible, but not differences in color. When combining tiles of different colors, you should stock up on the appropriate grout mixtures.

If there is no grout that matches the color of the tile, you can make it yourself. To do this, you need to buy a white mixture and add the required amount of pigment to it, which is used for water-based paints. By gradually adding it and stirring the composition, the grout can be given the desired color.

Appropriate grouting tools are used depending on the method of work. But the basic set is as follows: a metal spatula for stirring the mixture, a small plastic bowl or bucket with a capacity of no more than 2 liters, a bucket of water and a clean rag, a rubber or plastic spatula with a rubber tip.

Tile grout rules

Preparing tile grout

The grout mixture must be prepared immediately before starting work, since it is not stored for a long time and hardens after a short period of time. For the same reason, it is prepared in small portions, especially in cases where the performer does not have a solid skill in performing such work.

When preparing a cement grout, the dry component of the mixture must be poured into a clean plastic container and then added to it the required amount of water indicated by the manufacturer on the product packaging. Mixing should be done manually at first, and continue mechanically using a construction mixer. It is a special nozzle with blades that is clamped in the chuck of an electric drill.

The result of the work should be a homogeneous solution of a thick consistency. If liquid dye is used to color the grout, it must be added to the finished paste, and then mixed again with a mixer. When using dry pigment, it is added to the base composition before diluting the mixture with water. After mixing, the solution must be left for 10-15 minutes to complete the chemical reaction in it, and then mix again using a mixer.

Epoxy grout is prepared from two components. One package contains epoxy resin with pigment, the other contains a hardener. It is added to the resin and then the solution is thoroughly mixed. When introducing the hardener, it is very important to respect the proportion of the grout components. It is also indicated in the instructions attached to the material.

It should be studied very carefully, since different manufacturers produce grouts that differ in the content of components and recommendations for mixing them. Epoxy grout is also prepared in batches, but its polymerization time is much shorter than that of a cement mixture. Therefore, the work must be done quickly and accurately; beginners often cannot do this.

Before diluting cement or epoxy grout for tiles, you should get eye, skin and respiratory protection. This is because the cement and epoxy hardener are harmful to the body. Therefore, thick overalls, goggles, gloves and a respirator will be very useful.

Tile grouting technology

Grouting with a trowel

There are several ways to apply grout to tiles. Each of them is used depending on the amount of work and the texture of the cladding surface. Let's consider them in detail:

  1. Grouting with a trowel… On the working part of the tool, you need to collect a little grout mixture and, moving it across the seam, press the solution with force into the gap between the tiles. Then, passing a spatula along the seam, it is necessary to remove the excess mixture. The force must be sufficient so that the grout, pressed by the rubber plate of the tool, fills the entire cavity of the seam, because only under this condition will the tile lining be guaranteed tightness. In this way, cement and epoxy grouts are applied.
  2. Grouting with a float… This method is less accurate than the previous one, but with a significant amount of work, they use it. The finished mixture must be applied to the cladding and evenly spread with a float in a diagonal direction relative to the seams, carefully filling them with the composition. Pressing grout into the joints, you need to fill to the top all the voids that are not filled with tile glue. In the process of work, the liquid fraction of the mixture will gradually come out, and the joints will be filled with a dense grout composition, including filler, cement and polymer additives. The grouting paste does not need to be applied immediately to the entire surface of the cladding. After processing 1 m2 coatings should determine how quickly the solution hardens, and after that decide on the frequency of stops in the main work to clean the treated areas.
  3. Sack cone grouting… The trowel is similar to a regular tipped baking bag. Before applying the grout to the tile, it must be filled with a mixture that will come out of the container through the tip when squeezing the bag with your hand. In this case, the nose of the cone must be firmly attached to the seam. The grout needs to be squeezed out a little more than is required to fill the joint to the top. The movement of the cone starts at the top and ends at the bottom during the consumption of the mixture. At the beginning of the grout setting, it must be pressed into the gap between the tiles using a piece of rubber cable having a diameter slightly larger than the joint width. After 30 minutes, excess mixture? pressed between tiles? should be removed with a stiff brush. This method is used when grouting tiles that have a porous surface that is difficult to clean with another grouting method, such as natural or artificial stone.
  4. Grouting with a syringe gun… This method is used when working outdoors, with a large volume of work, or when processing the seams of sandy and porous surfaces of stone and tiles. When grouting tiles with a gun, work is carried out with accurate filling of the entire cavity of the joints, excluding the formation of voids and air bubbles. At the same time, the cleanliness of the tiles is maintained, the loss of materials is minimized, and the grouting speed is increased. The finished mixture should be loaded into the gun using a trowel or spatula.Then, by gently squeezing out of the tool, the grout fills the vertical joints between the tiles from top to bottom, and the horizontal joints from left to right. The gun provides with its work an attractive appearance of the lining and the long-term preservation of its seams.

Features of processing tile seams

After filling the joints with the grout mixture, it is necessary to dry and wet them. This is a very important stage in the work, on which the tightness of the gaps between the cladding elements and their appearance depend.

Dry seam treatment

Tool for removing excess grout

It is carried out using a special float and serves to remove excess grout from the tile. The tool should be held perpendicular to the surface of the cladding and made movements in the direction of the seams diagonally, while being careful not to touch them.

If, getting on the seam, the grater picks up a lump of grout, the dent remaining from it must be filled again with the mixture, and the seam surface must be leveled. For the final polymerization of the mixture, a certain time is required, its duration depends on the composition of the grout.

In the process of cleaning the previous section of the coating from excess mixture, it is necessary to periodically stir the paste in the container so that it is always ready for processing the joints in the next section of the lining.

Wet seam treatment

Wiping the tiles with a damp sponge

On average, it takes 10-30 minutes to evaporate moisture and harden the grout in the joints. The speed depends on the type of substrate, type of adhesive and tiles, temperature and humidity. Moreover, the surface of the seam can become hard rather quickly, while its inner part will remain viscous. Therefore, before rubbing the joints on the tiles with a wet method, you should check the readiness of the filled joints for such processing. To do this, they need to be tested on a small area of ​​the cladding with a well-moistened sponge.

The mixture in the seams should not be hard, but elastic and dense. If grout is drawn behind the wet sponge, it means that it is not yet ready for wet processing. While you can remove the paste that has dried to the tile with a special float, which does not leave any scratches on the glaze or enamel. After such cleaning, the tiles should be wiped with a damp sponge.

To clean the lining and seams, you should have a bucket of clean water and a soft sponge with rounded edges. In this form, it will not leave grooves when grouting. By wetting the sponge liberally, you need to remove the excess mixture in a circular motion from the tiles and the seams of the coating. After cleaning 1-2 m2 lining the sponge should be washed and slightly squeezed, and after processing 8-9 m2 - change the water in the bucket.

After the end of the first stage of cleaning, you should inspect the rubbed seams and align them, if necessary, first with a smooth plastic or wooden stick of a rounded shape, and then with a sponge squeezed out of the water.

The shape of the seam is chosen according to personal desire. If the cladding consists of tiles that have sharp and even edges, the grout is usually flush with them. With a round upper edge of the tile, the shape of the seam is most often chosen by the performer, but the grout should not protrude beyond the surface of the facing.

At the final stage, you should again wipe the ceramics and seams, removing not the excess grout, but a whitish cloudy coating. The process must be continued until the cladding takes on its final appearance. After that, it should be left to dry.

Grout containing latex or acrylic additives adheres more firmly to surfaces and can therefore be more difficult to clean. In such cases, traces of the mixture can be removed with special acid-containing agents. But they can only be used after the grout has completely polymerized.

To remove traces of epoxy grouting of tiles on the walls, special means are used, they are not afraid of the acidic environment. They can be purchased immediately when purchasing the material.The kit should include a special "furry" napkin, which will be needed to clean the tiles.

Advice! In order to additionally protect from moisture the joints, trowelled with a cement mixture, they can be covered with a layer of sealant. This is done easily with a thin brush. How to grind tile seams - watch the video:

The tile grout will take about three weeks to dry completely. After that, you can enjoy the beautiful bathroom cladding, the sealed floor or the chic apron on the wall near the stove.

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