- Cement-based sanded grout for gaps 1/8 inch and wider
- Non-sanded grout for narrower joints
Make sure to get the right type of grout for the width of your tile joints. Using sanded grout for narrow joints can leave gritty residue.
A grout float is a trowel-like tool used to spread grout evenly on the joints between tiles. It has a rubber edge that allows smooth application of the grout.
Sealing the grout prevents staining and makes cleaning easier. Use a water-based sealer for cement grout and epoxy-based sealer for epoxy grout.
Sponge and Bucket
Have a damp sponge and buckets of clean water to wipe away excess grout. Change the water frequently to prevent hazing on the tile.
Grout Removal Tool
A grout saw or grout removal rake helps scrape out old grout when regrouting. Make sure the edge can fit comfortably in the grout lines.
Knee Pads (Optional)
Knee pads provide comfort and support when grouting lower wall areas.
Cover the countertops and floor with a drop cloth or towels to catch spills and drips during grouting.
Prepare the Tiles
Before applying grout, ensure the tiles are clean and free of spacers, dirt, adhesive globs, and dust:
- Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe off light dust and dirt.
- For a deeper clean, use a pH-neutral tile cleaner.
- Allow the tiles to dry completely so the grout adheres properly.
- Remove all the tile spacers with needle-nose pliers.
Mixing the Grout
Follow the mixing directions on the grout bag but here are some general tips:
- Start with less water for a thicker consistency. You can always thin it out.
- Only mix up as much grout as you can use in 30 minutes. It will start to harden.
- Use a margin trowel and stir vigorously until smooth and lump-free.
Applying the Grout
Now comes the fun part. Here are some pointers for grouting:
- Hold the float at a 45° angle to the surface and work in a circular motion.
- Spread the grout diagonally across the tiles to fill all joints.
- Apply even pressure and keep the float edge flush with the tile surface.
- Occasionally remove excess grout with the float edge moving diagonally.
- Fully pack the joints but don’t overfill.
Cleaning and Finishing
Follow these steps once all joints are filled:
- Let the grout become firm, usually 10-15 minutes.
- Use a damp sponge in a circular motion to lightly clean tiles and smooth joints.
- Rinse the sponge frequently and change water often.
- Check for low spots and reapply grout as needed.
- Avoid wiping grout out of the joints completely. Just clean off the haze.
- Allow the grout to cure completely, generally 24-72 hours.
- Apply grout sealer according to manufacturer directions.
- Avoid heavy cleaning for about a week while it fully cures.
Common Grout Problems and Solutions
Grouting issues can occur but here are some quick fixes:
Cracking – Indicates too much water in the mix or rapid drying. Scrape out and re-grout the cracked areas.
Powdery Residue – Means not enough water was used. Try washing with pH-neutral cleaner.
Discoloration – Can be cleaned with whitening cleaners or completely regrouted.
Holes or Pits – Caused by air bubbles. Re-grout just those problem spots.
With the right preparations and techniques, grouting a backsplash is a straightforward DIY project. The key is taking your time to apply the grout thoroughly and cleaning gently. Sealing and proper maintenance will then keep your grouted backsplash looking great for years. Let me know if you have any other grouting questions!
Frequently Asked Questions About Grouting Backsplash
What type of grout should I use for a backsplash?
For backsplash joints that are 1/8 inch or wider, use sanded grout. For narrower joints, unsanded grout is the best choice. Make sure to use grout suited for wall use rather than floor grouting.
How long does grout take to dry?
Grout begins drying in about 15 minutes but takes 24-72 hours to fully cure and harden. Avoid heavy cleaning and wet spills on the grout during this time.
Do I need to seal the grout?
Sealing is highly recommended to protect cement-based grout from stains and discoloration due to moisture. Use a water-based sealer made for grout.
How do I clean grout haze off tile?
Use a minimally damp sponge in a circular motion to lightly buff away grout haze. Change the rinse water frequently to prevent smearing. Don’t aggressively wipe the tiles immediately after grouting.
Can I use bleach to clean grout?
Yes, bleach can help remove stains and discoloration. Dilute it and limit contact to 5 minutes. Thoroughly rinse afterwards and keep it away from the tile glaze.
What’s the easiest way to apply grout?
Using a quality grout float makes applying grout much easier. Hold it at a consistent 45° angle and spread using a scrubbing circular motion. Let the float do the work.
How do I fix cracks in existing grout?
Use a special grout removal saw to clear out the old cracked grout at least 1/8 inch deep. Clean thoroughly and allow to dry before regrouting those areas.
How soon can I get the backsplash wet after grouting?
Avoid wet cleaning or exposing the backsplash to moisture for at least 24-48 hours after grouting. This allows the grout to begin curing properly.
Grouting may seem daunting but just follow these tips for neat, clean grout lines:
- Choose the right grout for the job
- Prepare and fully clean tiles beforehand
- Mix to a smooth, thick consistency
- Apply with consistent pressure in circles
- Clean gently with damp sponge
- Allow proper curing time before sealing
- Address any issues promptly before re-grouting
With the proper tools and techniques, you can achieve beautiful, professional-looking grouted backsplash results. The finished look will be well worth the effort.