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How to Grout Tile Easily

Updated on October 13, 2015


Grouting tile is often seen as a difficult or redundant task for many home owners who want to take a DIY approach to home improvement. This is often because learning how to grout tile has no learning curve - there is no practice, and you usually only have one chance to get it right. In reality, grouting tile is very easy, and this article will teach you step by step how to grout tile.

Tiles Without Grout
Tiles Without Grout

Choosing Your Grout

Depending on your project's needs, whether you are grouting countertops, kitchens, showers, or even garage floors, you will need to choose the proper grout to suit your needs. There are several common types of grout to choose from. These types of grout have sanded and non-sanded categories, where sanded grout it used for joints larger than 1/8", and non-sanded grout is for 1/8" or smaller. Here are the pros and cons, as well as the common uses of each type

Cement based grout
This is the most common type of grout used for DIY projects.

Cement based grout is easy to handle and work with
Cement based grout is easy to clean
Cement based grout can be in a multitude of colors

Cement based grout is weaker than other types of grout

Resin based grout
This type of grout is often used in areas such as garage floors and chemical laboratories

Resin based grout is highly resistant to chemicals
Resin based grout has an alcohol base instead of a water base
Resin based grout is very strong

Resin based grout is usually only available in black
Tiles must be wax coated before applying resin based grout
Excess grout can only be removed by steam cleaning
Resin based grout is difficult to work with, and is not practical for most DIY projects

Epoxy based grout:
Epoxy based grout is commonly used in showers and countertops

Epoxy based grout is water resistant
Epoxy based grout is available in many colors
Epoxy based grout is highly stain resistant

Epoxy based grout is more expensive than other grout types

Other types of grout:
Caulk grout is great to use with cement grout, and is good for hard to reach joins.

Choosing a Grout Color

Choosing the color of your grout should depend on what color and pattern the tiles are in.  Light grout is great for bringing out bright and dark colors of tiles.  Dark grout is great for accentuating complex tiling patterns.  Dark grout is also effective at hiding dirt and stains more efficiently than light grout.

Before You Apply Grout

After you lay your tile, allow the adhesive time to cure, and clean any excess adhesive with a sharp tool such as a razor blade.  It is important to make sure that the tile adhesive has completely cured and hardened, and that each tile is perfectly in place before it is ready to grout.  Clean the joints that are to be grouted very well, and you will be ready to move on to the next step.  Also, read the instructions for your grout, as sometimes you must moisten the grout joints before the grout is applied.

Applying Grout to Tile

Using a rubber grout float, apply a generous amount of grout at a 45 degree angle (not along the grout joints) to force the grout down and spread it evenly into the joints.  Keep in mind that all of the grout should be applied at once; that is, to keep the color consistent, you must start and finish the grouting project in one time frame.  However, try to work small areas at a time, such as three square feet, instead of moving all the way across the surface.  This will ensure the proper consistency and depth throughout the project.  It is also a good idea to start on the far end of the room, when grouting floors, and work your way toward the door so that you do not have to step on any grouted areas.  Grouting can be very messy.  While the grout is still moist and the surfaces have been completely covered, tool the grout into the joints evenly to insure consistent curing times and even grout width and depth.

Clean this with a sponge
Clean this with a sponge

Cleaning The Grout

Initial Cleaning:
While you are grouting, the tiles will also be covered in grout.  Use the edge of your rubber float to remove the excess grout from both the tiles and the joints.

Secondary Cleaning:  First, make sure that it is okay to use water while cleaning your grout by reading the instructions on the grout package.  If it is, proceed to sponge off the entire surface, including the joints, which will remove all excess grout.  The grout may still be hazy after this step - this is normal, and proceed to the next steps.

Curing and Sealing Grout

Curing Grout:
Follow the instructions that involve curing time according to the grout manufacturer, which should be found on the grout package. Whatever happens, do not disrupt the curing process of the grout, or the project may be destroyed. Patience is a virtue when dealing with curing times, regardless of the project.

Sealing Grout
Follow the instructions and make sure that you are using the correct grout sealer for the project. Grout sealer is usually applied in two coats, so it is important to take your time to seal the grout properly. Make sure that any drips of grout sealer that hit the tile are immediately wiped off after the first application, and then proceed to apply the second coat of sealer, again making sure that the tile is not coated - just the joints. Again, work your way from the far end of the room to the exit.Finally, after the sealer has had some time to dry, wipe off the tile with a clean rag or cloth until all of the haze is removed. If some water must be used, that is okay. If any of your tiles still have stubborn sealer or grout residue, carefully remove the mess with some scotch bright or steel wool.


There you have it:  how to grout tile.  This project is very easy, assuming you follow the instructions, take your time, and use the proper tools and substances for the job.  Remember, patience is a virtue,  and grouting may take a long time to get it right - especially for beginners.  If you follow the instructions, the job you just did should have turned out beautiful and professional.  This will save you time, money, and allow you to do the job yourself to get the results you want.  Hopefully this was helpful to you!


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    • profile image

      Jeff Lenney 

      4 years ago

      This is good stuff, I picked up some grout by "custom building products" at home depot last week and it did a great job.

      Hope this helps!


    • profile image 

      6 years ago

      Great help in simplifying this task. Reading these instructions helped me to recognize that the supposed expert at Lowe's, sold me the wrong grout. Thanks for the concise information!


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