Guide to Ceramic & Stone Floor Tile Grouting Materials & Procedures
GROUT INSTALLATION, TILE - CONTENTS: Grout Installation Guide for Ceramic & Stone Tile Jobs. Properties of Sanded vs. Un sanded Tile Grout. Polymer Additives for Tile Grout. Use Epoxy Tile Grouts to Resist Stains. Instructions for Tile Preparation & Tile Grouting. Grout Installation Details: Mixing & Application. Damp Curing Recommended for Portland cement grout. Guide to Using Tile Grout Sealers.
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Tile grout installation procedures: how to grout tile floors or walls. this article discusses the types and installation of grout for ceramic, stone, and similar floor tiles.
We address the installation details for each of these tile types. This article series discusses current best design practices for kitchens and bathrooms, including layout, clearances, work space, and accessible kitchen and bathroom layout, clearances, turning space, grab bars, controls, etc.
Grout Installation Guide for Ceramic & Stone Tile Jobs
We include advice on choosing and installing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and kitchen or bathroom flooring, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures and fixture controls such as faucets. A list of kitchen and bath product manufactures and sources is included. This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.
Our photo (left) illustrates a ceramic tile bath floor having been set using spacers. The floor tiles are allowed to set completely in the thin-set mortar before removing the spacers to begin the grout job. Photo courtesy Galow Homes.
A high-quality grout job makes a tile installation stronger,
more attractive, and easier to clean. Properly formed joints
are generally flat for square-edge tiles and slightly concave
for rounded-edge tiles.
Standard grout is a mixture of
Portland cement and additives to control its texture and
cure time, along with pigments if the grout is colored. In
general, floors do best with a basic gray or other dark
grout. White and light colors show stains the most. Most
grouts also contain latex or acrylic additives to improve
Properties of Sanded vs. Un sanded Tile Grout
Sand is added to grout to strengthen
the grout where joints are wider than 1/8 inch. For joints
wider than 1/2 inch, special grout with coarser sand is
Our photo (left) illustrates the tile grout job at the intermediate stage of partial cleaning. Final cleaning of the champfered edges of these floor tiles was very important for an attractive end job, but we had to complete the grout haze cleanoff in stages.
The first two cleanings left a bit of grout on the edges of the tiles that could not be cleaned properly until grout in the tile joints had set more completely. But if we had not performed an initial cleaning of the upper tile surfaces while waiting for that set stage, tile surface cleaning would have been quite difficult.
Polymer Additives for Tile Grout
Most grouts now have latex or
acrylic compounds added either to the dry mix at the factory
or as liquid on the job site.
These polymer additives
make the grout more water-resistant, flexible, and stain resistant,
and, with colored grouts, better able to maintain
a consistent color.
Although cured grout, like other masonry
products, is unaffected by water, it cannot be relied
on as a waterproof material.
Our photo (left) shows the completed tile and grout job. Notice that we did not install the floor trim tile baseboard until the floor itself had been completed.
Use Epoxy Tile Grouts to Resist Stains
For a higher degree of stain-resistance as
well as moderate resistance to some chemicals, epoxy
grout is a good option for applications such as showers,
bathroom floors, or heavily used kitchen counters. One
type, called epoxy-emulsion grout, mixes a two-part epoxy
with Portland cement and sand.
Another, called 100%-
solids epoxy, mixes two-part epoxy with silica sand filler.
Both types require precise mixing and installation. If joint
cleaning is rushed, the grout pulls out and smears the tile;
too much delay causes it to harden before you can shape
the joints. If installed correctly, however, epoxy grout
offers excellent protection against staining and does not
require sealing. Epoxy grout will yellow slightly over
time, however, particularly if exposed to direct sunlight.
Instructions for Tile Preparation & Tile Grouting
Allow the adhesive to dry at least
overnight, or longer if recommended by the manufacturer,
before grouting. Clean any adhesive or foreign matter from
the grout joints. If the tiles are nonvitreous and unglazed,
as with handmade pavers, they may need to be sealed prior
to grouting to prevent staining. Also, light-colored glazed
tiles may need to be sealed to prevent stains from dark colored
With nonvitreous tiles, which soak up moisture, it is best
to mist or sponge the tiles just before grouting so the grout
will cure properly. For best results, maintain the room temperature
between 50°F and 80°F during grouting and curing.
Grout Installation Details: Mixing & Application
Mix the tile grout by hand or with a paddle bit
run at slow speed (air bubbles from fast mixing will weaker
[Click to enlarge any image]
After letting the grout “slake” for 10 minutes,
which allows the ingredients to fully react, the material is
remixed and ready to apply as follows, working one small
area of several square feet at time (see Figure 6-40 at left):
1. Using a rubber grout float held at about 45 degrees to
the tiles, force the grout into the joints from several
2. Scrape away the excess grout with the float held at
about 90 degrees to the surface.
3. Once the grout is firm, typically in 15 to 30 minutes,
clean the surface of the tiles with a sweeping motion,
using a large clean round-edged sponge squeezed as
dry as possible (water splashed on the joint lines can
weaken the grout or cause splotchy coloring).
4. First remove the excess grout from the face of the
tiles, then concentrate on shaping the grout joints.
Rinse the sponge frequently, always keeping it as
dry as possible.
5. Clean until just a light haze remains, which can be
wiped off with a damp rag when the grout is dry.
Now is also the time to pack fresh grout into any voids
you discover and clean the grout out of any “soft joints”
that are to be filled with sealant.
Use the tip of a margin
trowel to clean up any corners or problem joints.
sanded grout, it is also a good idea to strike the joints with
a curved metal implement, such as the back of a spoon, a
steel chisel handle, or the side of a nail set to help force
any exposed sand below the surface.
This make the joint
smoother and easier to clean.
Damp Curing Recommended for Portland cement grout
Traditional Portland cement grout requires
several days of damp curing to reach its full
strength. This was typically done by covering the freshly
grouted tile with Kraft paper and periodically misting or
sponging the tile.
Most modern grouts with latex or acrylic
additives, however, do not require wet curing except in
very hot, dry weather. As with all tile products, check the
label for instructions.
Guide to Using Tile Grout Sealers
While latex or acrylic additives help
protect the grout from staining, sealing the grout after it
cures provides the best protection. There are a wide variety
of products on the market.
Consult the directions
regarding when and how often to apply. Many require
reapplication annually or more often, depending on the
specific use. Regardless, to keep grout from darkening and
staining, it will need regular cleaning with a grout cleaner
or mild detergent. Avoid oil-based soaps as they tend to
Ceramic Tile-Setting Material Manufacturer List
Setting compounds, grouts, preformed shower pans, curbs,
and niches. Also, distributor of backerboards, isolation
membranes, and other tile-setting products
Color Caulk, div. of Roanoke Companies Group
Custom Building Products
Elastomeric and liquid-applied membranes, self-leveling
underlayments, setting compounds, and grouts
Trowel-on membranes, self-leveling underlayments, setting
compounds, grouts, and sealants
CPE sheet membranes, trowel-on membranes, clamping
ring drains, and preformed slopes, niches, and curbs
Trowel-on and sheet membranes, self-leveling underlayments,
setting compounds, grouts, and color-matched
Ceramic Tile Backerboard Producers
Custom Building Products
Wonderboard cement backerboard, Easyboard cement and
polystyrene lightweight backerboard, and Rhinoboard
Denshield gypboard backer with glass-matt facing
James Hardie Building Products
Permabase lightweight cement and polystyrene
Kerdi tile membrane goes directly over drywall or other
T. Clear Corp./Fin Pan Inc.
Util-A-Crete lightweight concrete backerboard
Durock cement backerboard
W. R. Bonsal
Extruded polystyrene backerboard with fiberglassreinforced
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers(AHAM)
National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)
Ceramic Tile Institute of America
Home Ventilation Institute (HVI)
Marble Institute of America
Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI)
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Questions & answers or comments about how to grout tile joints for a clean, lasting grout job. .
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Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
"The Elimination of Unsafe Guardrails, a Progress Report," Elliott O. Stephenson, Building Standards, March-April 1993
"Are Functional Handrails Within Our Grasp" Jake Pauls, Building Standards, January-February 1991
Access Ramp building codes:
Access Ramp Standards:
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Public Law 101-336. 7/26/90 is very often cited by other sources for good design of stairs and ramps etc. even where disabled individuals are not the design target.
ANSI A117.4 Accessible and Usable buildings and Facilities (earlier version was incorporated into the ADA)
ASTM F 1637, Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces, (Similar to the above standards)
American Plywood Association, APA, "Portland Manufacturing Company, No. 1, a series of monographs on the history of plywood manufacturing",Plywood Pioneers Association, 31 March, 1967, www.apawood.org
ASHRAE resource on dew point and wall condensation - see the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook, available in many libraries. The following three ASHRAE Handbooks are also available at the InspectAPedia bookstore in the third page of our Insulate-Ventilate section:
2005 ASHRAE Handbook : Fundamentals: Inch-Pound Edition (2005 ASHRAE HANDBOOK : Fundamentals : I-P Edition) (Hardcover), Thomas H. Kuehn (Contributor), R. J. Couvillion (Contributor), John W. Coleman (Contributor), Narasipur Suryanarayana (Contributor), Zahid Ayub (Contributor), Robert Parsons (Author), ISBN-10: 1931862702 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862707
2004 ASHRAE Handbook : Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning: Systems and Equipment : Inch-Pound Edition (2004 ASHRAE Handbook : HVAC Systems and Equipment : I-P Edition) (Hardcover)
by American Society of Heating, ISBN-10: 1931862478 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862479
"2004 ASHRAE Handbook - HVAC Systems and Equipment The 2004 ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Systems and Equipment discusses various common systems and the equipment (components or assemblies) that comprise them, and describes features and differences. This information helps system designers and operators in selecting and using equipment. Major sections include Air-Conditioning and Heating Systems (chapters on system analysis and selection, air distribution, in-room terminal systems, centralized and decentralized systems, heat pumps, panel heating and cooling, cogeneration and engine-driven systems, heat recovery, steam and hydronic systems, district systems, small forced-air systems, infrared radiant heating, and water heating); Air-Handling Equipment (chapters on duct construction, air distribution, fans, coils, evaporative air-coolers, humidifiers, mechanical and desiccant dehumidification, air cleaners, industrial gas cleaning and air pollution control); Heating Equipment (chapters on automatic fuel-burning equipment, boilers, furnaces, in-space heaters, chimneys and flue vent systems, unit heaters, makeup air units, radiators, and solar equipment); General Components (chapters on compressors, condensers, cooling towers, liquid coolers, liquid-chilling systems, centrifugal pumps, motors and drives, pipes and fittings, valves, heat exchangers, and energy recovery equipment); and Unitary Equipment (chapters on air conditioners and heat pumps, room air conditioners and packaged terminal equipment, and a new chapter on mechanical dehumidifiers and heat pipes)."
1996 Ashrae Handbook Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Systems and Equipment: Inch-Pound Edition (Hardcover), ISBN-10: 1883413346 or ISBN-13: 978-1883413347 ,
"The 1996 HVAC Systems and Equipment Handbook is the result of ASHRAE's continuing effort to update, expand and reorganize the Handbook Series. Over a third of the book has been revised and augmented with new chapters on hydronic heating and cooling systems design; fans; unit ventilator; unit heaters; and makeup air units. Extensive changes have been added to chapters on panel heating and cooling; cogeneration systems and engine and turbine drives; applied heat pump and heat recovery systems; humidifiers; desiccant dehumidification and pressure drying equipment, air-heating coils; chimney, gas vent, fireplace systems; cooling towers; centrifugal pumps; and air-to-air energy recovery. Separate I-P and SI editions."
Building Research Council, BRC, nee Small Homes Council, SHC, School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, brc.arch.uiuc.edu. "The Small Homes Council (our original name) was organized in 1944 during the war at the request of the President of the University of Illinois to consider the role of the university in meeting the demand for housing in the United States. Soldiers would be coming home after the war and would be needing good low-cost housing. ... In 1993, the Council became part of the School of Architecture, and since then has been known as the School of Architecture-Building Research Council. ... The Council's researchers answered many critical questions that would affect the quality of the nation's housing stock.
How could homes be designed and built more efficiently?
What kinds of construction and production techniques worked well and which did not?
How did people use different kinds of spaces in their homes?
What roles did community planning, zoning, and interior design play in how neighborhoods worked
Energy Savers: Whole House Systems Approach to Energy Efficient Home Design [copy on file as /interiors/Whole_House_Energy_Efficiency_DOE.pdf ] - U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Whole-House Supply Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Whole-House_Supply_Vent.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11880?print
"Energy Savers: Whole-House Exhaust Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Whole-House_Exhaust.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11870
"Energy Savers: Ventilation [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Ventilation.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Natural Ventilation [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Natural_Ventilation.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Energy_Recovery_Venting.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11900
"Energy Savers: Detecting Air Leaks [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Detect_Air_Leaks.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Air Sealing [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Air_Sealing_1.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
Gypsum Construction Guide, National Gypsum Corporation
Construction Handbook [purchase at Amazon.com] H17, Technical
Folder SA920 and PM2, PM3 and PM4, United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin ST., PO Box 806278, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones