When we last left off here on the blog, we had just finished tiling and things were finally starting to come together. Then Shayne went to Dallas for a week for work. Then we went away for a week and a half to Florida. Last weekend we had planned on grouting but we ran into a few snags so I'm so glad we finally got this step done!
Just like the posts on installing backer board and tiling, I just want to share a few tips we have instead of a full on run down of how to grout. We are not professionals in the least. There are lots of tutorials out there if you're looking for how to grout. In the meantime, here are things we learned along the way!
1. Take the time to prep your tile for grout. Wipe your tile down to remove any residue or dust on the tiles and be sure to look over the grout lines while doing this. Check that there is room for the grout between all tiles- if the thinset has squeezed out between the tiles in any places, remove it using a flat head screw driver. We paid attention to this while grouting so we didn't have many places that we needed to adjust but it's something that is good to look for before beginning.
2. Decide on how you want to treat the corners of your shower. It's best to do this before you get to grouting (ie- decide before you tile). We had left a gap to fill in with grout along the side walls of our shower in the corners. Then we got to grouting and were torn on how to treat the corners. There are three different ways to treat the corners in a tiled shower- you can grout them, caulk them or grout and then caulk with clear silicone. We talked to our tile supplier, talked to a tile installer and googled like crazy to try to decide. I think ideally we would have caulked them with 100% silicone that matches our grout colour but unfortunately, we had a colour that they didn't make matching caulk for (of course!). In the end, we went with what the tile supplier and installer suggested, grouting them and then caulking them with translucent silicone. We haven't got to the caulking yet and we hope we don't regret this decision. There were pros and cons for all three ways so it was definitely hard to decide.
3. Mix grout again if it starts to get too hard. The bag didn't say anything about this nor did any tutorials we saw but it was really helpful! We used a similar method with our thinset. We used half of a 25lb bag of grout mix to do our shower. We mixed it up according to the bag directions and started applying. It was a bit thicker than we were hoping for so we added a touch more water and remixed. It made a huge difference. Then, as we were working the grout in, it started to set and get harder to work with every so often. We would simply just mix it up again with our drill attachment (no need to add more water or anything like that- just remix it) and it became so much easier to work with again. It helped keep the grout workable until we finished applying it and prevented us having to mix more simply because the first batch got too hard.
4. Use team work - if possible. Grouting took longer than we would have expected. It took us a good hour and a half to get the grout applied on all three walls not including the extra time after wiping the tiles down and removing the grout haze. Shayne and I tackled this together. I was the grouter and he would follow behind me and do the wiping with the sponge. He started about 15 minutes after me to allow the grout to set in the seams a bit but this method worked great. I didn't have to stress about the grout setting on the tiles too much while I was also trying to get the grout in the cracks before the grout set up.
5. Remember to leave room for caulking. Any changes in plane should be caulked. This means transitions between walls, ceilings and floor. The gap between the shower pan and the tile should not be grouted. Neither should the reveal around the ceiling. These gaps get filled later with silicone caulking. Remember this when you spread your grout and be careful in these areas.
6. Consider the colour of your grout. Grout comes in a lot of different shades. I think sometimes people forget that grout really adds to the final look and choosing the right grout colour really enhances or takes away from your tile. I'm sure the natural pick would be white grout for our white tiles but I wasn't crazy about white grout with our marble mosaic strips. I also wasn't sold on trying to keep white grout really white. Instead, we went for a light grey/taupe colour that was in our marble and would be a contrasting colour against the white tile. I second guessed myself a few times but I love how it came out. I think it helps define the size and shape of our white tiles and really compliments the marble nicely.
7. Music. It makes every not so fun task more bearable.
Next up is caulking, installing the plumbing fixtures, painting and sealing the ceiling and installing the doors. We are inching closer to my goal of showering in here by the end of the month!