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Grout is the key to any tile installation. Grout helps hold tiles in place, creates a water-tight barrier and also adds a cosmetic touch. Sometimes, grout can offset uneven tiles as well, especially if you are using tiles without straight edges. But in order for it to work properly, you need to learn how to grout tiles properly, the right way.

Step 1: Select the right grout

Start by selecting the right type of grout for your tile installation. This isn’t as straight forward as it may seem. There are multiple grouts to choose from. If your joints are less than 1/8 inch thick, use unsanded grout. For joints wider than 1/8 inches, sanded grout is a must. Then choose a color. Select one that brings out a color in the tile for the best results.

Step 2: Mixing grout

Mix the grout by adding it to a bucket and pouring in water. Add water or grout until you have a pudding-like consistency. Allow ten minutes for the grout to absorb the water, or slake.

Step 3: Applying grout

Pour grout onto the tiles or scoop it onto the tile with a trowel. Only scoop enough to cover about 3 square feet of joints at first.

Step 4: Spreading and filling grout

Spread the grout over the tile joints with a float, forcing it into the joints as you work along the joint. Keep the float perpendicular to the joints at all times. Scrape diagonally across the corner intersections (if you have corners) to fill them with grout.

Step 5: Scrape off excess grout

Use the edge of the float to scrape off the grout on the surface of the tile. Then continue on to the next section, repeating the process in the above two steps.

Step 6: Wipe remaining grout

After about ten minutes or so, start wiping away the remaining grout on the tiles with a sponge. Wipe in one direction, flip the sponge over and wipe again. Then rinse the sponge and repeat until the tile is clean.

If necessary, wipe down the joint with a damp sponge after the grout has set for awhile to create an even channel between each tile.

Step 7: Let it dry

Let the grout dry and cure. Check the curing times on your particular grout. Wipe away haze from the tile surface with a damp cloth to clean tiles.