One important factor to consider ~ once you start the grouting, you must see it though the finish. Grout is much more difficult to remove the more it cures.
No matter how careful you are, grouting is messy. Weather permitting, I grout out on the patio.
It is best to gather all the supplies you will need before you begin. Otherwise, you may be tracking wet grout throughout your home.
YOU WILL NEED
- Grout ~ sanded or unsanded (I prefer sanded) I use Laticrete. Lowes carries it.
- Weldbond Adhesive ~ you can find this on ebay, more expensive smaller bottles are available at hardware or hobby stores. I add Weldbond to reinforce and strengthen the grout.
- Small container with a lid ~ used for mixing grout. I save 24oz Sour Cream containers. You may store unused grout for about a week. I try to use it within 72 hours.
- Wooden paint stick for mixing grout (thank you Lowes!)
- Latex gloves to protect your hands. Grout will dry out and possible irratate your skin.
- Small float ~ you can substitute this with a stuff rubber spacula.
- Painters Tape
- Bottled water ~ in some areas, tap water can slightly discolor your grout. You only need a small amount of bottled water for mixing the grout.
- Paper towels
- Spray Bottle ~ you can use tap water to fill the spray bottle
- Pail or bucket ~ fill with tap water
- Electrical extension cord; if your Dremel is cordless, this is not needed.
- Plastic sheets for covering table work surface or floor surface.
Before you mix your grout, prepare your mosaic base by taping off areas that you do not want the wet grout to come in contact with. Painter's Tape works best. For this piece, I have several areas that I will need to tape off; the top edge, the apron under the top an the bottom shelf and around the legs.
I used a plastic bag to cover the bottom shelf and secured it with tape. When you are grouting a multi-level piece, always grout starting at the top and work your way down.
Be sure to put on your latex gloves! Pour approximately 1 cup of grout (about 1/3 of the container), 3 tablespoons of Weldbond adhesive, and 2 tsp of bottled water in your container.
As a general rule, it is always best to mix too much grout than not enough. You can always store the excess grout for a future project. Best way to store it is to moisten some paper towels and place it on top of the remaining grout and close it with the appropriate lid. You want seal it as air tight as possible. It should stay useable for about 10 days. After that, it will begin to harden.
Using your wooden stick, mix grout thoroughly. It should be ever so slightly less than the consistency of peanut butter.
Once the mix is ready, spread the grout to thoroughly cover the top and around the edge. Be sure to push the grout into all the cracks and crevices of the surface and the edges.
If you feel the grout becoming too thick, take your spray bottle had give the surface a light mist of water, then spread it around by hand. Once your have covered the surface thoroughly with the grout, use your float to lightly squeegee the surface to remove the excess grout.
Try not to press too hard. The goal is to keep the grout level to the china tiles.
Angle the float and use a criss-cross motion to clean off excess grout. To prevent excess grout from building up on the float, you should continuously clean off the float by dipping it in a pail of water, wipe off any moisture with a paper towel, then continue to squeegee until the surface appears level.
SINGLE SURFACE ~ If you are grouting a single-level surface, allow the piece to rest for 10 minutes. Skip down to "CLEANING MOSAIC TILES"
MULTI-LEVEL SURFACES ~ If you are grouting a multi-level surface, apply the grout to the next area; be sure to work from the top, down. On this piece, the apron is grouted before the bottom shelf.
When grouting a multi-level surface, mist grouted surfaces every 15-20 minutes while you are working on other areas. Misting prevents the grout surface from drying to quickly. The more evenly the grout dries, the strong the bond. Once you have finished grouting all areas, it is time to clean the grout film off the mosaic tiles.
CLEANING MOSAIC TILES ~ You should see a filmy haze over the surface. Clean the haze off the tiles by lightly misting a small area and clean the surface of the tiles using the paper towel. Take care not to rub the paper towels into the grout lines.
You will see the tile become more vibrant as you clean off the film. Continue cleaning until all the mosaic tiles until they are shiny and free of grout or haze. Again, take care not to remove grout lower than the height of the mosaic tiles.
To remove the Painters Tape, light spritz the edge with water, then score around the edge with a dull knife. I use an old butterknife and I work in sections. This enables you to remove the painters tape without removing too much grout from under the tiles.
Should you inadvertently remove any grout, using the reserved grout, carefully replace the grout taking care not to get any wet grout on your surface. If you do, immediately wip it off with a damp paper towel.
Once you have cleaned off the film and any excess grout, lightly run your hand over the surface. Dremel any sharp corners you encounter. Take care not to dremel off any of the grout lines or too much of the tile. A quick light touch with the dremel is all that is required.
It is a good idea to mist the surfaces for 15-20 minutes for the first hour or two, so that the grout will dry more evenly.
Let the piece cure for at least 72 hours before you seal the grout. Should you use the piece before you seal it, take care not to spill anything onto the surface as the grout is still vulnerable to stains. Once it is sealed, simply wipe any dirt or spills with a damp cloth.
Now is a good time to clean up your work area then sit back and enjoy your beautiful creation!
Remember, should you have any questions or comments, I am always happy to help!
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