The month of bath and vanity flooring: Part 5, grouting

Joan Fieldstone

March 1, 2016

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: FlooringBathroom Remodeling

So, we made it through laying the floor, BFF being the only one doing the real work. I just had the inconvenience of having to use the bathroom downstairs for a couple of weeks -- not fun navigating the stairs half asleep in the middle of the night -- and the horror of seeing my living space transformed into a dusty construction zone. My carpeting is trashed.

If there is one tip I took away from all of this it's that you really want to put down plastic runners or drop cloths wherever you'll be stepping on your way to and from your work areas. In our case, it was from the garage where the tile cutting was done through the foyer, dining area, up the carpeted stairs and into the hall and bedroom. There were tile-dust, adhesive, and thin-set footprints everywhere. I console myself by knowing that I hate carpet as a flooring with pets and really want to get rid of it. But not quite yet.

Prepping and grouting

Once the thin set cured, the next step was grouting. BFF painstakingly and meticulously scraped and chiseled out any hardened thin set between the tiles.

floor tiles before grouting

We had spent more time than really necessary splitting hairs over the exact shade of grout to use -- there are many -- and finally it came down to a choice between Sandstone and Fawn. The difference was minor, with Sandstone getting my vote and BFF favoring Fawn, which was slightly more reddish brown, a little bit closer match to the cabinet finish. Both looked stellar with the colors in the tile.

I didn't read up on grouting. At this point, we were both anxious to be done with the project, and she had grouted tile for me twice before, so I let her do her thing. I usually like to know ahead of time what pitfalls can occur, but then I tend to stand around spouting dire predictions of all sorts of possible problems. Not knowing much about it prevented me from offering too many opinions, and when I did, to honestly admit I really didn't know what I was talking about. She, understandably, does not appreciate negative input from the sidelines when she's in the heat of a DIY battle.

I didn't watch her mix the grout either. It was still cold in the garage. What did I expect? It was January and there was no reason for me to stand over her shoulder, freezing and commenting. The first batch looked a bit watery to me when she started applying it, but I couldn't be sure. Aside from a couple of mosaic projects, I don't work with grout. The next batch seemed a much better consistency. As she filled the spaces and went back to wipe the excess off, it seemed there was too much water in the sponge to qualify as "damp." Again, I didn't really know. She has a little more experience with tiling compared to my complete lack thereof.

Floor tiles mid grouting

We both agreed the color choice was appropriate, even before it dried. I went to bed looking forward to seeing what it would look like in the light of day and hoping during the night the cats wouldn't etch their initials in grout with their claws.


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