How to Grout Tile in 6 Simple DIY Steps

Wondering how to grout tile correctly? It’s a fair question, given the task is seen by many as a challenge juuust beyond their DIY abilities. But with a bit of confidence, a little patience, and a lot of expert input—which we’ve rounded up here—you’ll be able to grout floor tile, wall tiles, backsplashes, and more, without the help (or expense) of a professional.

Whether you’re looking at a brand-new tile job or you want to replace old grout with a new batch since things have started to look a little grimy, we’ve got you covered. And while it’s certainly not the most luxurious material you’ll use in a renovation, grout plays a big role in the final look of your tile project. With an array of colors to choose from, grout can be used to add contrast or to create a sleek and unified space.

But before you break out the trowel, you’ll need to be prepared for the task; after all, poorly grouted tile doesn’t just look bad, it’s also less stable and more likely to chip or need repairs. To make sure you get the DIY job done right, we reached out to some experts to create a comprehensive guide on how to grout tile, which also addresses some of most commonly asked questions. Read on for a step-by-step outline on the process to get you grouting like a home improvement pro.

1. Choose your grout

There are three main types of grout: cement-based (with or without latex), epoxy, and urethane grouts. “All work, and all have their pluses and minuses,” says Dan Chollet, contract and installation lead at Fireclay Tile. Chollet has supervised large installation projects in Silicon Valley and Las Vegas, including at the Apple II campus in Cupertino, California. Whether you’re working on installing floor tile, a kitchen backsplash, wall tile, or doing any other type of tile job, it’s important to know what your options are.

The hand of person holding a rubber float and filling joints with grout

Work the grout into the joints while holding the float at a 45-degree angle.

Photo: yunava1/Getty Images

Cement-based grout

The most common variety used in projects is a cement-based grout, which Chollet notes is also the easiest to use.

“Not all grout is the same,” explains Drew Mansur, cofounder and director of TileCloud. “The type of grout you select, either sanded or unsanded, depends on the width of your tile joints. If you have joints that are wider than 1/8 inch, use sanded grout; if you’re looking at narrower joints, unsanded grout will be your best bet.

Epoxy grout

“Epoxy grouts are expensive, and are usually two-part mixtures with solids and color additives,” Chollet says. “They are used mainly for commercial projects, are much more difficult to install than cement-based grouts, and therefore take more labor.” They can also develop a hard-to-remove grout haze. Chollet does not recommend this type for first-time grouters. (He also cautions that some people can be allergic to epoxies.)

Urethane grout

“Urethane grouts are also expensive, and are premixed in buckets,” Chollet says. “You open the bucket, remix it up, and use what you need. Close the bucket back up, and it should be good to use later. You need to use a very dry sponge when cleaning a urethane grout off tile during grouting.” Urethane grout also needs seven days to cure before being exposed to water, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of using it in your only shower or near the kitchen sink.

2. Gather your tools and supplies for grouting

According to Chollet, you should have these basic supplies at the ready before you get too deep into your DIY grouting project.

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