A Guide to Grouting Outdoor Tiles

Outdoor patio with plants

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List of Supplies, Instructions

Grouting tile is one of the final and most important steps of a successful outdoor patio installation. Grout is a cement product used to fill the joints between tiles. Let’s begin with a list of the tools and materials that you will need for the task:

Supplies List

    • Electric drill
    • Paint mixer/paddle
    • 25 Litre bucket and clean water
    • Tile sponge
    • Rags
    • Grout and grout float

There are three common types of grout from which to choose:

    • Sanded grout is a Portland cement product mixed with fine sand. It is generally used to grout tile when the joints are larger than 1/8 inch thick.
    • Unsanded grout is also a Portland cement product, but, since it lacks sand, is a finer product. It is generally used when the joints are 1/8 inch and smaller.
    • Epoxy grout contains no cement at all. It is made with epoxy resins and powder. This product is often harder and more durable than cement based equivalents, and it is practically stain proof. It is also much more expensive and can be more difficult to use than cement based grouts.

Step by Step Instructions

Follow these steps to grout tile for your outdoor patio:

  1. Clean first: Make sure all the tiles are clean. Using a utility knife, carefully scrape out any thin-set mortar (the tile adhesive that you used to bond the tiles to the concrete slab) that may have squeezed out between the tiles when you set them. This will be a different colour than the grout and will show through. Give all the tiles a wipe with a damp sponge.
  2. Choose a product: Choose one of the three grouts above, taking into account the size of your grout joints and the size of your budget. Grout comes in a variety of colours. Use the colour charts available at most home improvement stores to find one that works well with your tiles. Use the coverage chart on the back of the grout bag to determine how much you need for your project.
  3. Mix it: Follow the directions on the bag of grout powder carefully. Most grouts are mixed with water, but some are mixed with a liquid latex additive instead. This is recommended for outdoor applications as the latex can improve resistance to the elements.
  4. Spread it: Start with a small area. 3 feet by 3 feet is a good size. With your grout float, spread the grout, filling all the voids between the tiles. Do not worry about making a mess. It is all right to get grout all over the tiles.
  5. Remove excess: Use your float to wipe excess grout off the tiles. Cleaning up later will be easier if you do a thorough job here.
  6. Sponge it: Allow the grout to start drying before wiping it with a sponge. Make sure your sponge is almost dry. It should be moist, not wet. While being careful not to remove grout from the joints, gently wipe the tiles clean. Don’t worry about getting them perfect at this point. You will be wiping them again soon.
  7. Continue to grout the tile and remove the excess: Repeat steps 3,4,and 5 until all the tile has been grouted and wiped.
  8. Wipe it clean: With clean water, give all the tiles another wipe-down with a moist sponge. Rinse the sponge after every swipe to get them really clean.
  9. Buff it out: After the tiles have dried, some grout residue will remain. Buff the tiles with a clean towel or rag to remove the haze.

Now that you have learned all about grouting between tiles, you possess one of the most important pieces of information that you will need for successfully laying a tile patio  in your garden.

By Joe Norton