As I mentioned, April and Robear came over to help grout the slate floors this past weekend.
Grouting is a lot like tiling, except rather than smear mud on the floor and then heft stones upon the mud, one simply squishes mud in between the secured tiles. Basically, it’s easier…. kind of.
Using a float push the mud deep into the spaces between the tiles (avoiding the 1/8″ around the perimeter where you’ll use caulk to allow for expansion).
Working perpendicular to each joint, spread mud in, and then using the float, remove the excess mud.
The removal of excess is an important part of grouting. Basically the more you leave behind, the more you have to clean up later and it’s the clean up that makes it less easy than tiling.
Grout your way around the room making sure not to disturb the joints that are already filled.
After the grout has set up a bit, then you get to begin the cleaning process. (Note: don’t wait too long to get to this step, you want the grout to be firm in the joints but wipe away from the surface.)
With a clean sponge wipe the excess mud across the tiles at a 45 degree angle to the joint. Keeping the angle is important because if you wipe in the direction of the joints then the sponge can pull too much mud from the joints.
Wipe across once.
Flip the sponge.
Wipe once with the clean side.
The point of rinsing the sponge so often is that it keeps you from smearing grout across the floor over and over. The cleaning process already takes a while, no need to fight yourself by continuing to spread the chaos.
It is also important to wring the sponge well so that too much water isn’t introduced to the mud. The goal is remove the surface layers while letting the joints settle in.
A few more strokes with the sponge and this floor will be ready to cure for 48 hours. Then it will be time to seal, again.