Grouting Tile

5 min readSep 30, 2021

Continuing series about DIY tiling

So…after you put down your tile, what’s next?

You wait. Depending on your area, the humidity, and so on, you wait for at least twenty-four hours. Do not skimp on this time! It’s far, far better to wait until the thinset is completely dry than to come back early.

Once it’s fully dry, say, forty-eight to seventy-two hours after you finish tiling, you need to put grout into all those hard-earned spaces between your tiles.

Grout is where the art happens. Grout can take an ordinary-looking tile and make it spectacular. It’s really a finishing item. Your tile will look so much better once you put the grout in. (See picture above — the top half has grout, the bottom doesn’t.)

Before you start with the grout, the first thing to do is to clean up the tile. Do you have extra mortar anywhere? Now is a great time to sponge/scrub it off.

Are all your grout lines mostly clean? Or did the mortar smoosh up between a few tiles as you pushed them around? If it’s the latter case, you need to clean out those grout lines as well. They make tools for this, and if you’re dealing with really fine grout lines (say, between and around subway tile) these are your best bet. Otherwise, use a putty knife.

After you clean your grout lines, clean up your tile a second time. Trust me, the time you spend on it now is worth the effort.

Then, you can get ready to grout.

Like most tiling, grouting is exactly the same process:

Slop on goop. Scrape it off. Repeat.

Instead of a trowel, you’ll use something called a float to remove the excess. It’s a stiff piece of rubber connected to a handle.

Me — again, I find the smaller ones (margin floats) easier to use. Particularly when either dealing with a small area or grout lines that are far apart. For something like penny tile, I prefer the bigger float. It’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with.

Grout comes in all kinds of interesting colors. Sometimes you want a grout that…


Leah Cutter sold her first short story back in 1997, and continues to write and sell both her fiction and non-fiction. She supports herself with her writing.