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How to grout tiles with a float?

How to grout tiles with a float

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Rubber float with blue handle Grouting tiles, whether on walls or floors, is usually carried out with a rubber float. The rubber is hard enough to push grout down into the gaps, but soft enough to avoid damaging the surface of the tiles.
Dipping rubber float into bucket of water All plasterers have their own way of working. Some like to dip their float in water first, which they say helps the grout to stick to it, while others start off with a dry float.
Stopwatch denoting lack of time You need to work at a brisk pace without stopping – after about 20 to 30 minutes the grout will start to set and you won’t be able to easily clean off the excess.

Aim to grout and clean up no more than about one square metre at a time.

Finger indentations mean floor tiling grout is right consistency

Step 1 – Check grout consistency

For floor tiles, the grout should contain plenty of sand to give it strength. If you poke your finger into it, the consistency should be stiff enough for the marks to remain.

You can either mix your own grout or buy it ready-made.

Creamy white grout in a bowl If grouting wall tiles, the grout should be about the consistency of cream cheese, so it won’t fall off the surface.
Tub of waterproof tile grout and adhesive Grout for bathrooms must be waterproof and resistant to mould. There are many ready-mixed varieties on the market.
Scooping up brown flooring grout with float

Step 2 – Scoop up grout

Scoop up some grout on the end of the float – a generous amount for floor tiles, covering about a third of the float, or a spoon-sized blob for wall tiles.

Transferring grout from trowel to rubber float Many plasterers prefer to scoop up the grout with a trowel and then transfer it to the float. This allows for more accuracy.
Push grout into grout line - flooring tiles

Step 3 – Apply grout to tiles

Holding the float pointing downwards at an angle of about 45 degrees, spread the grout over the tiles.

Push firmly with the tip of the float to work the grout fully into the gaps – known as the grout line.

Grouting bathroom wall tiles If you’re grouting a wall, start at the top and work across, completing small sections at a time. Use masking tape to protect adjacent surfaces.
Grouting tiled floor diagonally Work diagonally across the tiles to avoid pulling the grout out of the newly filled grout lines, and make sure you fill any gaps completely to avoid shrinkage or cracking later on.
Turning float on side to scrape up excess grout from floor tiles

Step 4 – Remove excess grout

Turn the float on its side to scrape off the worst of the excess grout as you go along.

Cleaning bathroom tiles with sponge

Step 5 – Clean up tiles

Dip a decorator’s sponge in water and wring it out thoroughly. If the sponge is too wet it will wash grout out of the grooves.

To clean the tiles, swipe the sponge once across the surface, turn it over and swipe again with the other side. Wash the sponge, so you don’t smear grout back onto the wall, and repeat until the entire surface is clean.

Wringing out excess water from sponge float using rollers Some plasterers prefer to use a sponge float instead of a decorator’s sponge to remove the excess grout.

This is best done using a bucket with fitted rollers to remove water from the float when you’ve cleaned it, as you can’t wring out a sponge float.

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