Grouting [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-02-2004, 01:08 PM
In reading a number of threads on grouting I have come up with a few questions: (I will be using Mapei Ultracolor Pearl Gray grout)

1) Can I use tap water of should I use distilled water?

2) Mix one batch, or will I have certain color problems if I do small batches?

3) It has been recommended that I caulk at the edges. Do you keep the grout out of this area or do you caulk at the wall-grout interface?

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John Bridge
06-02-2004, 01:52 PM
Hi Fred,

Keep the grout out of the joints you wish to caulk. A good way is to caulk first, let it cure a day or two and then do the grouting.

Measure out a small batch of grout and write down your recipe so you can repeat it accurately. :)

06-02-2004, 08:12 PM
If your area doesn't get much water, is it still highly recommended that you caulk? Area should only get wet from mopping.

06-02-2004, 08:17 PM
The caulk is intended to act as a flexible joint. It really has little ( or nothing) to do with water. Grouting the wall joinst will not allow for expansion of the wall/tile joint and could lead to problems down the road.


06-02-2004, 09:34 PM
OK, I get it now. When your tiles butt up against a surface where you can not hide an empty grout line with a modling or such, you caulk. Thanks, I missed that point earlier.

I remembered that I read here that someone sealed there porcelain tiles before grouting. Is this a required practice? Also, I saw somewhere that moistening the tiles before grouting helps. Is this true?

06-04-2004, 02:46 PM
I remembered that I read here that someone sealed there porcelain tiles before grouting. Is this a required practice? Also, I saw somewhere that moistening the tiles before grouting helps. Is this true?

Any tips on keeping the grout out of the void between the tile and the wall, but still get a good grout line up to where the molding will go?

06-04-2004, 06:37 PM
Hi Fred, you shouldn't have to seal the porcelain tile before grouting, I never have.

Scrape unwanted grout out of the joint with a margin trowel and sponge it down.;)

John Bridge
06-04-2004, 06:44 PM

We've had some horror stories here lately -- people grouting too large of an area before beginning the wash cycle. If your tiles have depressions and crags in the surface, please take it slow. Grout only a few tiles and wait for the grout to set a few minutes. Then begin cleaning that area. Don't wait too long. If there is anything I've said there that ANYBODY doesn't understand, please speak up. We don't want anyone else spoiling their hard work.


On the sealer, no. :)

06-04-2004, 10:37 PM
My tiles are flat and smooth, not polished, but not pourous, so I can probably do more than a few tiles at a time. Only a few minutes before cleaning? This first clean up should be with very little water, correct? Just a few minutes seems rather soon. Won't that put more moisture into the grout and cause some of the problems I have read about on this forum?

06-05-2004, 06:56 AM
Grout can get away from you real fast !

Take Johns advice ,It is the last step to a great looking tile job:)

Take your time ,small areas are best !

Water won,t hurt the grout , I wet the sponge and only wring out the excess water lightly so it does'nt puddle on the floor when wiping
Good luck

Bea Tyler
06-05-2004, 07:34 AM
Hi Fred,

As I'm sure you've read my thread on grouting, I feel pretty well qualified to give you a few tips.

1. Make a mock up of about 4 square feet of tiles and practice grouting on it. Keep an eye on the clock so you get a feel for how long it takes for you to apply, and how long you should wait to start washing. The pros here have given great tips on proper washing - do a search for "grouting".

2. Read the mixing instructions VERY thoroughly. Add dry mix to water, NOT water to dry mix. Mapei gives good instructions on this. Wetter is generally better, and it can be *almost* soupy. Remember the Ultracolor sets up faster, so make your batch sizes pretty small.

3. Use measuring cups if you REALLY want exact batch sizes. Lowe's paint dept has some nice cheap ones in various sizes. You can start by dividing up a bag in equal amounts (maybe 1/5 bag) and then calculate the corresponding amount of water to use. Mapei instructions say you can add MORE water than specified for doing floors.

4. Let your mock up fully cure (24 hours) once you're satisfied you've applied and washed correctly. That will let you see if your final result is going to be OK. If you mess up before curing, hose it all out, let it dry and try again. Don't get in a hurry, and don't try to do more than about 50 sq ft at a time. Keep your wash sponge clean and dry, and you're buckets changed often. On your FINAL wash, use each side of the sponge only once between rinses. DON'T dry buff haze until grout is hard, if at all. TYW Tile Cleaner and a paper towel substitutes nicely for dry buffing.

5. I recommend using distilled water. It probably won't make a difference, but for $2 you won't ever have to wonder about it if you get whitish haze. You've made the best choice of grout product to prevent that IMO.

Hope your project goes well - it's not hard to do it right if you're avoid most of the obvious pitfalls. Find your comfortable working consistency of grout and remember how you made it - DRY grout is NOT GOOD.

Good luck, Bea

06-07-2004, 07:42 PM
OK, I read the Mapei instructions and this stuff does setup fast. The instruction say to wait only 5-10 minutes before cleaning. Everyone keeps recommending doing small areas, but doesn't really define what that is. How far grout will go in a 1/4" x 3/8" grout line, I don't have a clue. So, would say, like Bea suggested, 5-lbs of grout at a time be resonable for grout which has a 30-45 minute pot life?

06-07-2004, 11:15 PM
See page 7 on the following url for grout coverages

Mapei Installation PDF (


06-08-2004, 07:18 PM
OK, the grouting is done. Thanks for the tip on doing small batches. This grout was nothing like I have used in the past. 5-lb batches was pushing it for a one man operation. I went to 2.5 lb batches when there was a lot of things to go around. Measuring containers from Lowe's help, thanks Bea. ;) I actually used my wife's electronic kitchen scale to make the batches. Overkill, I know, but hey, I didn't want to become another horror story. :D I do have another problem that came up though. Pictures to follow, on both the grout job and the problem.

06-08-2004, 07:27 PM
I ordered some caulk to match the grout for the landing to the basement, because none of the sides have any modings. I picked up the caulk today, and this evening went to use it. Apparently, I must have gotten the first, or only, tube made this color. The stuff came out looking like kids toothpaste! See picture. I thought well OK, poor quality control on mixing, so I would "mix" it with my finger once it was in the joint and it wouldn't be so bad. The white caulk was already cured. :bang: So, I dug out all the caulk I just put in. After awhile I went and squeezed out a 1/4 of the tube and it finally went to solid gray. Is this a typical occurance or should I have been charged extra for a "speciality" item? :D

06-08-2004, 07:30 PM
Grouting job. Noticed what I learned how to do over the weekend? Hang doors! What fun.

06-10-2004, 01:59 PM
If anybody is checking, I would like to know about the caulk problem mentioned above. Is that a common problem?

John Bridge
06-10-2004, 05:53 PM
No, the caulk is usually pretty well mixed. ;)

Steven Hauser
06-11-2004, 03:05 AM
Hi Fred,

No it isn't common.

06-11-2004, 04:24 AM
Hi Fred :)

Nice looking tile job! Straight lines, no grout on tile - Where did you learn to tile like that? :D

As far as the caulk - All I ever get is air bubbles! :( :D

06-11-2004, 03:46 PM
Hi John -- Learned a whole lot on this forum. Thanks again for all the help and advice. As for no grout on the tiles, that can be attributed to the great advice I got here on the forum too. Do small batches, write down your formula, and start cleaning really soon.:bow:

Scott Harvey
06-11-2004, 04:36 PM
I have used Mapii Camel grout. It seems to have the grout haze, even after we have wiped the tiles several times with water. Any ideas?

06-11-2004, 05:59 PM
Hi Scott, welcome. Try a mixture of water and white vinegar, 50-50 mix then rinse with water again. If that doesn't work go with 100% vinegar.;)

06-13-2004, 08:23 PM
How long should you wait before sealing the grout?

Steven Hauser
06-14-2004, 02:52 AM
Hi Fred,

24 hours after grouting. Use a water based sealer rather than a solvent based one.


John Bridge
06-14-2004, 04:55 PM

I for one want to know whether the vinegar worked for you. ;)

06-14-2004, 07:50 PM
Steven, why the water based instead of solvent?;)

06-16-2004, 09:42 PM
Sorry John -- Tiling protion of this project is pretty much done, so I havn't been checking here to often. I didn't need the vinegar, I think Scott did. I was a fortunate one, NO grout problems.

I too am interested in why only the water based sealer.

Just a note: They delivered the new washer and dryer today, those new style Whirlpool Duets. ARE THEY HUGE! That and the fact that the spin cycle is something like 1200-1500 RPM is really going to test my tile job. The whole room shakes (including the floor) when this thing gets going.