Grouting Method Question From 'Want-a-Be-Beginner

susiewantsrosesApril 6, 2009

Ya'll. I have learned form everyone here that 'sanded grout' is best.

Please give me your methods of grouting. Ex. apply grout, wait ___ minutes. Wipe with cloth, sponge, dry, wet ect.

Thank you for your help and the benefit of your experience.

I wish you could know how excited I am about learning!!!!


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I'm thrilled that you're gonna start something. You w/LOVE this thing called mosaicing. I can almost guarantee it, and I'd be willing to bet that you'll be obsessed after the first project. Yes, sanded grout is the best IMO, although I have used unsanded on occasion - don't like it - applys like honey sorta. I mix grout pretty dry, so that by the time I've finished a medium-sized project, it's already to wipe. I don't use water for cleanup. I use half one of those grouting sponges you get at Lowes for applying smooshing on the grout, in a circular motion. This also protects my hands from sharp edges. I slap it on w/a gloved hand, then use the sponge to spread it. I take a dry sponge and start wiping off all the excess, then wait until the grout is dry - about an hr - maybe two sometimes, then a dry cloth to polish. Only when the project is so large, do I have to sometimes dampen an area to take a small wire brush to take out areas my sponge/cloth missed. Sometimes I take a screwdriver to dig out the very tips of spots w/dried grout. I KNOW how excited you are - been there and still at it. Hooked from my first project.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 3:04PM
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You will find as many answers to that as there are mosaicers. I try to keep it on the driers side. but that could depend on the project. I'm a no-glover, I'd rather smoosh it so I can feel around ( yep occasionally I get "bit") I don't wait a whole long time..and I don't time it. I sorta start with where I have a big "glob" of grout,sort of get the loose stuff off, then a deeper cleaning. I usually end up with an old rag. Sometimes a little water. After that it's scrape and dig with pick, fingernail, toothbrush...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 10:08PM
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i mix my grout so it's about the consistency of mayo and i just use my hands to spread it instead of a float or whatever. i tried a float a couple of times but wasn't happy with the results.

after i'm done working the grout in to all of the spaces, i let it sit for about 15 minutes and then wipe everything down with a barely damp sponge. about 30 minutes after that, i wipe it down again and then just leave it. the next day, i use a toothbrush with a bit of vinegar to clean off any haze that's left behind.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2009 at 11:08PM
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Oh heck, I need to put in my two cents.
Dryer side is good, peanut butter consistancy I call it.
I use those "noodles" the kids swim with. I slice it then quarter the slice. I use these to apply the grout.
To clean it once it is dry, I use dry grout. Just sprinkle some and rub it all over the place.
Clean with a old tee shirt with some vinegar.
That's my story and I'm stickin to it!
Can't wait to see your work.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 10:16AM
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I hope I can add my question about grout here ~ how do you decide how much grout to use for a project? I've been doing the add the grout to the bucket, add water. If not right consistency, add more grout or water. I always end up with enough grout to do 5 or more projects. Is this a learn as you go process?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 2:05PM
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It does take a little experience. Survey your area, and start w/a cup full. It's better to start small than waste, IMO, unless you're mixing your colors. For me - I only use two - black and gray. For my door, I estimated it pretty closely - only had about 3/4 cup left over. I used three cups black to three cups gray. Mixed the powder together first, then add a little water at a time. Most people add too much water in the beginning. Add it slowly, stir, add a little more, stir, and when it gets aaaaalmost just right, use a spray bottle to add small amounts.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 2:55PM
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Thanks so much, slow! Your door is absolutely breathtaking, especially the view showing the surrounding gardens. You are so energetic!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 4:10PM
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I agree w/ Slow and the rest on the drier grout method altho I use the consistency of oatmeal or thick peanut butter. I estimate one cup of grout per sq ft of area to be grouted. This generally works for me. I mix my grout drier than most except when I a doing a large area, then I use it wetter. I do not use water either for cleanup. Dry rags, pool noodles, toothbrushes,dental picks and lots of patience.
LOL I'm a fine one to talk, I have at present at least 15 or 20 usfinished projects waiting for grout..If I ever get them done, I will have a yard full...maybe today as I tell myself every morning, then I end up working on another project that is in my head.
Good luck on your first project, soon you will be as crazy as the rest of us.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 8:54AM
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Can you stand another post on grouting? lol. I only use sanded grout, but if your interstices (spaces between tesserae) are quite close, you can use unsanded. I just don't like the consistency - a little like toothpaste - and it is quite hard to clean! If I want a smoother groutline, I sometimes mix sanded and unsanded together. Please, please use a dust mask when grouting! Grout is a cementitious product - when the dust gets into the moist environment of your lungs it hardens!

I use the dry method also - I use deli containers (with a lid and I cover the grout when I'm not using it) - put on your mask and pour out about a cup of grout, make a well in the center and add about 2 tbsp of water - I mix this with a plastic fork, then add drops of water until I get a consistency of brownie batter or when I stand the fork into the middle and tip the bowl the fork stays put.

Allow the grout to "slake" (uncovered) for about 10 minutes and mix thoroughly again. At this point you cannot add more water or dry grout as the chemical process is starting - if you think it is too thin or thick throw it out and start again.

Use blue painter's tape to mask off any areas you do not want grout (i.e. painted/unpainted edges, mirrors, etc.) Lay down several layers of newspaper and place your mosaic on top. This makes it easy to keep your mosaic on a clean surface - just remove a layer when it becomes dirty with grouty dust.

Put your gloves on (grout is too harmful to skin not to use gloves) and scoop out the grout onto your mosaic (put a dish or cover on the bowl when the grout is not in use). I use a potter's rib (flexible rubber spatula thingie) or my fingers and push the grout around and into the interstices - you can start in the middle or anywhere you want! While doing this, you can also be wiping excess grout off the tesserae and into the spaces. When you've grouted the entire piece, use the rib or your fingers to remove more of the grout from the tess.

Allow this to stand for approximately 10-15 minutes and then start cleaning the piece. I use thin foam sheets (the kind that you pack between dishes for moving) folded in quarters and keep unfolding as they get dirty. I DO NOT use water for clean-up! When most of the grout is removed, there may still be a haze on the piece - you can use lint-free cloths or white newsprint paper to polish the pieces.

When you're finished, pour a little white vinegar onto your hands and wash thoroughly - this restores the pH of your skin (in case you got grout on your hands, which always happens).

Allow the mosaic to dry overnight. I sometimes put the piece into a plastic bag and spritz it with water occasionally to slow down the drying time. You don't need to do this, but if your grout was mixed quite dry it is a good idea!

After about 2-4 days I will seal the mosaic with a good quality penetrating grout sealer (TileLab makes a good one with a little brush at the top), wiping it off of the tess immediately! I usually do about 2-3 coats (allowing each coat to dry for about 15 minutes before applying another one) or until the sealer doesn't soak into the grout anymore. Make sure you wipe the sealer off of your tesserae immediately!

And, your finished! Stand back and admire your mosaic (and the hard work that went into creating it)!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Thanks so much for the great information!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:44AM
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You're very welcome! I forgot to say I also use dental picks after cleaning to get grout out of holes in the tess or anywhere that needs special cleaning. I also use a Dremel lightly on the edges of china to smooth down sharp edges - just be careful not to gouge the groutlines. Also remember to smooth the grout lines with your fingertip while cleaning grout off the tess.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 11:09AM
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Thanks to everyone's willingness to stop and teach us newbies proper technique!!!!! I will benefit from every post. Or how about ya'll just coming to TX and show us how it's done. LOL
Appreciate you so much,

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 10:15PM
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