Grouting large jobs? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Tile Rookie
06-28-2001, 10:07 AM
How do you guys handle grounting large jobs. I'm getting ready to do the grout on roughly 275 sqft of floor tile. Not that big, but I'm going to have to do this by myself. I'm concerned about the grout drying on the tiles. If I work in smaller areas, cleaning the grout off the tiles as I go, will that have a negative effect on the grout as it sits in the bucket. I'm grouting rough textured porcelain tiles, so I think I will be spending more time cleaning off the excess grout. Kind of a dumb question but I was curious as to how you guys would handle this.


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Bud Cline
06-28-2001, 03:54 PM
275 square feet? Big? This time last year I was finishing up at the local High School installing tile in The Commons between two gymnasiums, 5000 square feet. And that's not big you should tackle a Mall or an Airport Concourse.

Seriously, 275 is too big to do by yourself all at once. Take it a little at a time. You can easily complete it in about four hours, and your joints will blend without a problem. Mix a couple batches as needed. It's when you get that much on the ground all at one time when you can get in trouble, and you end up working your butt off to overcome the panic.

That's going to get you into a second bag and I would suggest you dry blend both bags together before you start your wet batches, just to be safe. Mix your batches consistently as far as water ratio goes and you'll be fine.

John Bridge
06-28-2001, 04:22 PM
"rough textured porcelain"

Hey Bud, what do you think about maybe applying a little grout release? He could maybe handle about a third of it at a time that way. Give a little extra time for the grout to firm up in the joints before he hits it with the sponge.

Maybe he needs to borrow my $140 mop bucket that hasn't been used yet.

Bud Cline
06-28-2001, 05:04 PM
"Rough Textured" is in the eyes of the beholder. I am installing some "stone look" rough textured porcelain on a job now and don't anticipate any problems cleaning the grout.

I guess I may not know what "rough textured" is because I've never had any serious problems cleaning most tile, well ok some can be a bitch, but if you don't bite off too much at one time it always seems to work out fine. The real problem tiles for me are the fancy "high relief" decoratives that pop up from time to time.

As far as grout release, I've used it a few times on high volume quarry jobs that I was machine finishing (the grout) and they (releases) work fine.

I do have a question about grout releases though. If the release agent aids in the release of the grout on the tile surface, what about the release agent that invariably finds its way into the grout cracks prior to grouting?

Years ago in doing "tilt-up" panels we used a lot of "form release" and "surface retarder" agents and you had to be careful where you allowed these products to go.

Rob Z
06-28-2001, 07:37 PM
Hi T.R.

John and Bud gave you the true scoop. The grout release question can be solved by grouting a few loose tiles and see how they allow themselves to be cleaned.

Just mix and spread small manageable batches at a time and you'll be okay.

Check back in and let us know how it goes.


Tile Rookie
06-29-2001, 08:45 AM
John and Bud thanks for the help! I think I'm going to go without the grout release, don't want to risk getting to much in between the tiles! I may buy some and see how it works on some scrap tile though.
Rob thanks! I will let you guys know how things go! Again thanks to everyone for all you help!


Rob Z
06-29-2001, 09:19 AM

When I apply grout release, I use a very close nap roller and apply diagonally across the field of tile. The grout release I use most of the time is made by Summitville and has the consistency of yogurt. Occasionally, some will get down in the joint and I'll clean it up.

Like most things, I have found if you read the directions it will work as advertised. It does involve extra work, so be sure to charge for it.

See ya later