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Unread 02-13-2009, 05:02 PM   #1
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Painters tape for grouting

Has anyone ever used painters tape when grouting polished marble tile?

I am going to be using spectralock (not the pro) for grouting my new polished marble shower surround that I have just completed the installation of and spraying on a sealant. After doing quite a bit of research on the subject, it seems my main concerns will be scratching the surface and ending up with a grout haze. The initial packing of the grout in will probably be the highest concern for scratching. Properly cleaning promises to cure the haze concern but entails quite a bit of scrubbing which increases the possibility of scratching .. seems like a catch 22.

So, being a entrepreneurial DIY engineer (WOW!! just reading that combination again sounds dangerous to me) a grand idea came to me. What if I put painters tape against all the joints; Use a grout bag to add the grout; then use the float to pack the grout in properly, carefully avoiding getting any on the tile; Wait the 20 minutes; remove the tape and sponge off looking closely for any grout which may have gotten under the edge of the tape.

The tape will take some extra time, but as a DIY'er, that is not a big concern and it should be offset somewhat by less cleaning.
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Unread 02-13-2009, 05:22 PM   #2
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painters tape

Hello got a first name?

If you have the time to do the taping then it is probably a good idea, the best thing would be to test on of your marble tiles, to see if it scratches it but then if you mix up a batch of SpectrLock your wasting it cause it will be just for a test purpose. If you have sealed the marble then you shouldn't have any hazing if you wipe if off right away with clean water, using clean water is important and and they usually come with a cleaning agent to mix with the water for initial cleaning and final cleaning. If your gonna tape it, do it the day of, don't do it night before and also I would be pulling the taped off as you go and wiping with clean water in case you go over the tape. Your being cautious and thats okay, its important to finish off this project so its what you wanted it to be. Grouting should never be taken lightly, I see a lot of problems coming in the grouting stage because people are in a hurry and don't take precautions. You don't need a grout bag, just pack it in with the rubber float, get the widest tape you can buy so you have more space to work the grout in without worrying so much about getting it on the marble.

Jon Donmoyer

JD Tile

CTEF Certified Installer #825

Custom Tile Installation in Hershey & surrounding areas

Serving Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Chester, & Montgomery Counties PA
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Unread 02-13-2009, 05:42 PM   #3
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Hi Phoenixe, welcome. if you're gonna use tape along each joint, use two inch tape. I wouldn't use a grout bag, just force it in the joints with the end of a grout float keeping the grout within the taped area.

Wash off the grout before pulling the tape, let it set a little and then pull the tape and fine tune any sponging

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Unread 02-23-2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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Painters Tape Worked Great

I have completed my grouting and the painters tape did exactly what I wanted. No scratched Marble or hazing and final cleanup was a breeze.

As expected the application of the tape was time consuming. I don't know that I would recommend this as a normal way of applying spectralock, except possibly in the case of polished marble. I am pretty sure I would have had scratched marble otherwise.

Some tips for anyone who may find this thread:

I used two rows of 2 inch tape

Place the inner row first so the outer row (against the tile edge) will overlap the inner row slightly.

PRE-CUT strips of tape with scissors (This is an absolute must for time savings). Find a convenient place to stick the strips, unroll the tape and cut. Precision lengths are not necessary, if done as follows. With a little practice you can eyeball the proper length pretty close and save some tape. The inner row just has to be less then the tile width and cross each other at the corners. The outer row will need an angled cut (~30 degrees) to go in the corner. By placing two strips with opposite angles in the corner, you can create a precise corner effortlessly. These strips are cut a little longer than half the tile width so when two pieces are placed on the edge of the tile, they overlap in the middle. I would precut 20 or so pieces with the angle in one direction and then switch to cutting with the opposite angle.

Apply the grout normally, push it in then cut off the excess with 45 degree wipes being careful to avoid the untaped center of the tile. Let set for 20-30 minutes and then sponge off being sure to pull off the bulk of the grout on the tape from the gout line. Let set for 10-15 minutes more, then carefully pull the tape away from the edge. Neaten up any rough edges and inspect for any grout on the tile surface. I used a small metal mudding spatula and my nitrile glove covered fingers. As long as you keep the spatula at a very low angle to the polished marble and don't let the grout mixture under neath the edge of the spatula it will not scratch. There is no need for a final wash since the "haze" was pulled off with the tape

Make no mistake, this is time consuming. I found I was able to complete about a third of a 6 ft high wall on a standard 5 ft tub in about 8 hours counting taping, mixing, grout application and clean-up. I made use of the technique of putting a third of my mini-unit mixture in the freezer and pulling it out when I was ready (it takes about 10 minutes to thaw out, longer if left in overnight).
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