Porcelain tiles and natural stone tiles have adorned the floors and walls of many homes for centuries, and one of the main ways they’ve kept their timeless lustre is by making sure they have the correct level of grout to go with them.
Of course, grouting, while vital to ensuring the longevity of your tiling, needs to be done properly, and if mistakes are made, then it could impact the overall lifespan of your tiles. Fortunately, one of the key things you can do to prevent this is by thoroughly cleaning your tiles before your start the grouting process.
To help you get started, and to demonstrate how easy the process is, here is everything you need to know about cleaning tiles before grouting them.
What are grout lines?
In case you’re not already aware, grout lines are the gaps you see between tiles that are often filled with a coloured and rubbery texture. This grout is what provides rigidity and strength to your tile set-up, by, in effect, solidifying your individual tiles into one singular sheet.
But besides strengthening, grout is also there to prevent your tiles from rubbing against one another. The nature of buildings means that the surface your tiles are attached to often warp due to structural changes, room humidity, and outside temperature, all of which will shift your tiles and might cause damage if they’re pushed against one another.
The addition of grout stops this from happening, instead providing a flexible surface between your tiles that can absorb this movement. And as an added bonus, grout can prevent dirt and debris from nestling beneath your tiles and provide a waterproof barrier to protect your tile adhesive.
Why should you clean your tiles before grouting?
Put simply, the main reason you want to clean your tiles and the gaps between them before grouting is to ensure that your grout sets properly. The last thing you want is for your grout to have gaps.
Of course, cleaning your tiles before grouting also means that you can wipe off any adhesive that might have attached to your tiles during the installation process, and prevent dirt from entering the tiles gaps.
On top of this, any dust and dirt not wiped off will often be locked in place when the grout dries, leading to a smeared look that is difficult to buff out once dry. In other words, a clean tile makes for a better finish all around.
How to clean your tiles before grouting
When preparing your floor, knowing how to clean tile adhesive off tiles before grouting is among the most important steps to understand. Fortunately, the cleaning process is very simple.
- You should always look to clean off any adhesive from the outside of your tiles before it sets. This can be done with a putty knife, soft brush, or adhesive remover, whatever you feel works best for you.
- Follow this up by wiping your tiles down with a damp cloth to catch any dirt.
- Clear out the area between the tiles, to allow for a smoother grout finish and eliminate the potential for grout to spill over and onto your tiles as you apply it.
- For a buff finish, we recommend cleaning your newly laid tiles with LTP Grimex to remove surface residues and impurities.
- If you do find that some tile adhesive has dried before you start grouting, then the best solution is to use a grout rake to clean the adhesive off, followed by a stiff scrubbing brush and warm water to remove any persistent spots.
How to clean existing tiles before regrouting
Naturally, while long-lasting, you may very well find yourself needing to replace your grouting in the future. Of course, this means you should once again make sure you clean your tiles before regrouting the area.
Start by taking a grout rake and clearing off the old grout, being careful not to damage any surrounding tiles. Once this is done, clear out the area you plan to grout before wiping your tiles down in the manner stated previously. With this done, you can start regrouting.
And there you have it; you now know exactly what you need to do when cleaning tiles for grouting. Of course, for more information on how to apply grout correctly, and tips for tiling your home properly, you can get in touch with the Stone Superstore team, today.
Our experts are on hand to help you with all your tiling and paving needs, whatever questions you have. Alternatively, you can find more tile installation advice from our team of experts, including how to seal natural stone tiles before grouting.