How Long To Wait Before Grouting

When it comes time to replace the floor tile in your kitchen, you might have a few questions. What happens if you grout tile too soon, or even worse, what happens if you walk on tile too soon? Newly installed kitchen floor tile attached to floors and walls using thinset mortar, and then you have your kitchen backsplash.

How long will it be before it is dry enough for you to start applying grout? As the drying process goes, any pressure could move your tile, so the thinset has not fully cured or dried enough for you to grout.

The amount of thinset, humidity, or working in chilly conditions can all affect how long you have to wait for the wet cement to dry before grouting, even if the edges of the thinset appear dry. Thin-set tile and countertop mortar, for example, dries in 24 to 48 hours, while others can take far longer. If you need tile surfaces you can use quickly, then, you will need quick-setting mortar. However, even these conditions need to be right before you can start grouting tile surfaces.

How long before grouting tile

For example, for grouting, this type of thin-set mortar can dry in as little as 2–3 hours and can be used for foot traffic in as little as 6 hours. (Learn How Long Does Thinset Take To Dry)

You can learn more about how long before grouting tile in our guide. By the end, you’ll see what happens if I grout too soon, and what if you notice that the edges of the thinset down the grout lines looks dry.

Can I Grout The Same Day?

After tiling, you must wait at least 24 hours before grouting tiles. This is because the mortar used in the tiling process needs to dry completely before grouting.

Mortar and adhesive used to adhere tiles to the floors or walls help the tiles to stick to the surface, so they don’t pop loose as you walk on them.

Before you start grouting, you must allow the mortar to dry sufficiently.

Grouting too soon may disturb the tiles and create more problems and extra work. How long it takes mortar tile adhesive to dry depends on the mortar solution, temperature, humidity, and if you apply too much grout under your tiles.

The consistency of the mortar solution is essential. The manufacturer’s instructions must be followed while mixing the mortar to get optimal results.

Tile adhesive should not be too runny, and an ideal thinnest mixture should hold its position on the surface where it is applied while being easy to spread.

The thinnest mortar needs air to cure, and if you grout tiles before the mortar has cured, you may disturb the tiles and seal the air inside the mortar.

Don’t be fooled if the thinset looks dry where you have thinset showing along the grout line or edges. All areas must be set before grouting.

It would help if you waited for the specified time before starting your grouting process, so wait at least 24 to 48 hours. (Learn How To Soften Grout For Removal)

When fitting wall tile first, one issue is that the bottom row of wall tiles must rest on something. The use of a ledger board can solve this difficulty.

Install the ledger board on the floor, taking precise measurements of how high to place it based on the size of the floor tile and the thinnest thickness you’ll choose.

Tiling and Grouting on the Same Day

Before grouting the tiles, you must allow the applied mortar dry.

Allowing thinnest to cure completely before grouting ensures the alignment of the tiles is not disrupted when you apply pressure.

When you grout the tiles before the mortar has set, you’re also sealing the air that the mortar needs to set. So even if you notice that the edges of the grout lines looks dry, the mortar underneath doesn’t get as much air as the edges of the thinset showing, and thus it can’t cure.

As a result, tiling and grouting on the same day are not recommended. To guarantee that the newly installed tiles have had time to cure, you must wait at least 24 hours before grouting.

You may wonder how long does it take for a quick-set thinset to dry. If all the conditions are ideal as you lay new tiles, the waiting time could be reduced, and you could begin grouting tile that has had the longest drying time on the same day.

However, even with this, on floors, you are best letting the drying time be overnight, and ensuring it is completely dry.

Tile and grout for home improvement tips

How to Grout Step-by-Step Guide

Once you know when to grout tile and have waited 24 hours before grouting, you can finish your tile and grout home improvement.

Here are the steps for grouting the tiles.

Clean Joints

With the help of a putty knife, clean the grout joints and lines. Scrape any protruding old thinset mortar from the grout lines and vacuum the gaps between the tiles.

Remove debris, dried thinset, or dust from the grout lines; tape off the tile surface for more straightforward cleaning, particularly those with imprinted patterns.

Mix the Grout

Grout is typically sold as a powder that will absorb water. To make a grout solution, you need to add water and mix it thoroughly.

  1. Begin by putting grout in a bucket and filling it with water.
  2. Continue mixing the grout until it reaches a peanut butter consistency, and all of the powdered grout has been integrated.
  3. Avoid using a drill or a mixing paddle to mix the grout. These methods churn the grout, introducing air into the mix, reducing the grout’s curing power.
  4. Allow 10 minutes for the chemicals in the grout to set (slake) in after it has been mixed. If you omit this step, the joints may weaken and crack.
  5. After slaking, the grout may appear firmer, but do not add more water to compensate for this. Re-mix the grout, and it will be ready for use.

Load Your Grout Float

The prepared grout must now be loaded onto the float. This is a simple procedure, but it may be inconvenient if the grout mixture spreads across the floor while being scooped onto the float.

Tilt the bucket towards you and drag some grout mixture up to the bucket to avoid any issues. This makes it easy to shovel the grout onto the float. (Read What Happens If You Grout Tile Too Soon)

Any excess grout will fall into the bucket rather than on the floor if you keep the float firmly against the bucket’s side.

Spread Grout Over Tiles

To avoid dropping grout on the floor, apply the grout in upward strokes over the tiles. Allow the grout to get deep into the joints by moving the float diagonally across the tile.

To avoid ruining any finished flooring, always grout the walls before the floor. Using the side of the float to drive the grout deep into the joints is also beneficial.

Squeegee Excess Grout

Move the side of the float at a 90-degree angle with the tiles to remove any excess grout. This ensures that the grout is dispersed throughout the joints and that the float does not dig into them. Next, remove as much excess grout from the tile face.

Cleaning Excess Grout and Tiles

Clean Tile Surface

After removing extra grout from the tile, wipe the tile with a damp sponge. Rinse it frequently and sponge diagonally. Clean the surface until just a thin grout haze remains.

The grout will appear to spread on the tiles at first, but don’t panic; just rinse the sponge with clean water and resume washing. The excess grout will eventually be removed, leaving only a thin grout haze.

Shape Grout Lines

Shape the grout lines with your index finger and smooth off any uneven grout. Avoid pushing too hard, as the purpose is to make the grout even and at the same depth.

Buff Off Any Grout Haze

Using a microfiber towel, buff out the thin layer of grout haze. After shaping the grout, wait for 30 minutes, then buff.

If grouting floors, using epoxy grout is advised as these are waterproof.

Can You Grout After 48 Hours?

Curing thinset mortar used to adhere tiles to surfaces takes 24 hours. This is because air aids in the curing process before grouting tilework.

The lack of air beneath the tile slows the curing process. If you ask how long does it take for grout to dry, you’ll find grout between tiles often has a shorter curing time than the mortar. As a result, outside edges may appear dry, yet the thinset underneath needs longer to fully cure.

Fully cure thinset mortar for at least 24 hours or longer, and the bond will last at least decades. Thinset exposed to air cures faster.

Although the tile mortar appears dry between the tiles and the tiled surface around the edges, it may still be soft and far from fully cured beneath.

Non-porous waterproof barrier restricts air flow to thinset, slowing cure time. Thinset applied over a waterproofing membrane will cure properly in 48–72 hours.

There is no danger in waiting 48 hours to tile grout.

You can wait longer before grouting as long as the tile surface is clean and debris is kept from the tile seams. (Learn How To Dispose Of Paint Thinner)

Prudence pays. Wait longer to grout if your ceramic tile installation still feels damp or isn’t set.

Walking on a newly laid tile floor disturbs the installation, causing the tile to slide away from the mortar and causing future loose tiles.

How Long To Wait Before Grouting

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