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Don’t Make These Mistakes While Grouting

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Learn how to grout a tile backsplash and fix dried grout mistakes.

If you’re new to grouting tile, be sure to check out this post on preparing the walls and installing the tile.

how to grout a backsplash

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Part 3: Grouting a Tile Backsplash

Part 1: Preparing the walls |

Part 2: Installing tile with thinset

Supplies Needed

  1. First, we’re going to get the area as clean as possible. I used a shop-vac to remove any loose, dried thinset pieces.
  2. Open the grout or mix it yourself. If you mix it yourself, you want the consistency of icing.
  3. Use the rubber float to apply the grout, and push it firmly into the spaces using a diagonal motion. A smaller float is easier to maneuver than a larger one because backsplashes are not very large.applying grout to tile backsplash
  4. Use the float again to remove the excess grout on the surface, being careful not to remove it from the cracks. Using an “S” shape pattern works well to remove all of the excess grout. I’ve read that working on 10-minute increments is a good rule. ***
  5. After applying grout for 10 minutes, fill a bucket with water. It helps to have more than one.
  6. Apply a damp sponge, wipe the tile down, and rinse it in the bucket as necessary. You’ll have to rinse it a lot! Use the grout scrubber on any stubborn spots. Smooth the grout lines as you go, being careful not to remove too much grout. It should be fairly firm at this point.
  7. When the water is gross, switch to a new bucket. Pour the old water outside. You don’t want it in your drains.
  8. A little leftover haze is normal and can be taken care of later.tile backspash
  9. Continue until the grouting is done. Don’t rush this part. I’ll tell you why in a moment. Trust me. Use the 10-minute rule!
  10. When you’re done, wipe off the layer of haze with a microfiber cloth.

***Don’t Make This Mistake***

My hands hurt and I was tired of not having a kitchen. Ironically, if I had done it correctly, I would have had my kitchen back the next day.

I grouted the whole backsplash and then went back to wipe it. My grout package said to let it dry for 30 minutes, but it was a really warm day, so I think it dried much faster.

I also did not wipe off enough of the excess grout in the initial grouting stage. Womp, womp, womp.

So it dried and was difficult to remove. But not impossible.

How to Fix Dried on Grout

Supplies Needed

  1. Scrub off what you can with the grout scrubber. Soaking it in vinegar helped, but be careful of this. Vinegar can stain some tiles, so use caution.
  2. Use the wooden stick for really stubborn spots. I think I waited too long for this part. It might work for you.
  3. At this point, I was exhausted and certain that this was the job for power tools. I went to the store to look for something to attach to a drill. They had nothing, but they did have buffing pads for a dremel. So I bought a few packs and came home.
  4. These worked well, but I used them up quickly. Buy twice as many as you think you need. I used about 4 packs.
  5. With this technique, I got it to a “good enough” stage. Be careful not to “polish” too much. I was concerned about removing the finish from the tile. A few turned a funny color but they always washed off just fine.
  6. Then, I washed the tile down with a washcloth. I dipped it in vinegar, and this seemed to take off the rest with some light scrubbing.
  7. Wipe it with the microfiber cloth.
  8. Voila! The tile job wasn’t ruined!

Finishing up

Supplies:

  1. Caulk where the edges meet the countertop and anywhere else necessary, like along the windows or cabinets. I used white to match the white grout. If you mess up, you can let it dry and then scrape it off.
  2. Let the caulk dry.
  3. Apply grout sealer. This part was really easy. I wiped a generous amount on, using the squeeze bottle to make sure that I got it really well behind the sink and the stove where I make the most messes. Let it sit for a few minutes, and wipe off the excess with a clean rag.
aqua kitchen cabinets and black and white tile backsplash
Still so much to do, but the tile sure looks lovely!

It still needs a few pieces of wood trim to be complete.

kitchen with aqua cabinets and black and white tile backsplash

See the finished kitchen here.

As hard as this project ended up, I still think of tiling fondly. It’s like having a baby. It sucks while you’re doing it, but eventually you want another. (Except I would much rather tile than have more babies.)

Updated: I’ve repainted my cabinets and gave the kitchen a budget friendly makeover.

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Grouting a backsplash. Plus tips to remove dried on grout in case you mess up. #backsplash #grout #kitchenupdate #kitchenmakeover
how to grout tile

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5 Comments

  1. i got new backsplash, it is beveled crema color .. marble tile sheets 2 x 4. problem is contractor put grout too thick (Whitish color ) and in a lot of spots i cant see the 3 d beveled, i want to see it. i paid extra money to get beveled. ;ots of areas look like subway tile. grout is now dry how can i get off some dried grout to get back my beveled edge.. any hope ??

    1. Hi Barbara,
      I would contact the contractor and let them know that you’re not happy with the grout. You paid good money and deserve good results. However, I know that not all contractors are going to be receptive to admitting they messed up. You can use a dremel and sanding bit to remove it. Just be careful, because it can scratch the surface if you sand too hard. Start in a corner or somewhere that’s normally hidden. I wish I had an easier answer for you. Good luck.

  2. Thank you for this article. I tiled a floor with hexagon tiles. Did exactly the same thing. Didn’t remove the grout soon enough. I will give this a try.

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