After the tile is mounted, the next step is grouting the tiles, this is a less time-consuming and work exhaustive task than the installation, but it is actually more important for a long lasting job; it will also guarantee that the floor under the tile stays safe from moisture.
Grouting can be a rewarding task because filling those gaps will make the tiles look pretty.
What is grout
Grout is a form of concrete (fluid) that is used to fill gaps or spaces. Grout is a mixture of water, cement, and sand; although you may already find premixes in the market both in powder form (cement and sand only) or premixed fluid containers (easier but less recommended).
Tiling grout is often used to fill the spaces between tiles or mosaics, and secure tiles to its base.
What you need to know about grout
Regular grout comes in a diversity of colors, what you want to do is choose the one that matches the color of your tiles, also if you want to minimize color disparity you not only need to use as little water as possible (for powder mixes), but also mix as thoroughly as possible, it is best to mix it by hand, try to achieve a creamy peanut butter consistency.
Light grout tends to emphasize the individual tiles by blending in, or becoming invisible, while dark grout tends to emphasize patterns.
If you choose a color that matches your tiles, then you will have a continuous feeling. If you want your tiles to stand out, then choose a contrasting color for your grout. If you are grouting a high traffic area you are better off with a dark grout since light color ones tend to get dirty pretty fast, and it is difficult to clean.
There is sanded and unsanded grout. Sanded grout is stronger and more resistant, if your space between tiles is larger than 1/8 of an inch, then you should use sanded grout. Unsanded grout is recommended for soft stones tiles like polished limestone or marble.
How to apply grout
If you are re-grouting an old tiled surface, you first need to clean the area by scraping and vacuuming.
You are going to need a float to spread the grout. Smear the grout diagonally across the tile to force it deep into the joints and prevent it from being sucked back out as your float slides along. Grout walls first and floors last, that way you don´t have chances to ruin the already finished up floor. To remove the bulk grout, you need to wipe by doing a couple of “S” movements. You will also need to sponge off the surface with a damped (make sure it is not wet) sponge, this is also a diagonal movement, remember to rinse your sponge constantly. After it is completely dry (30 to 45 minutes), you will see a haze has formed, polish away this haze with a microfiber towel.
Corners do not need grouting, corners tend to crack, therefore you are best off with caulk.
A very important Tip
Re-mix the grout at least every 15 minutes, and check if it needs a little more water to keep the ideal consistency.