Grouting tiles: how to get a professional finish in the bathroom or kitchen

Grouting tiles yourself in a shower or kitchen is easily done. Use our how-to for clean looking, professional results.

Blue tiles with blue grouting
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Grouting tiles is relatively easy DIY job that can freshen up your kitchen, bathroom or any floor or wall tiles in your home in just a few hours. It is also a great way to get rid of mould-ridden and damaged grout...

So whether you are re-grouting a tired-looking splashback, or starting from scratch and in the final stages of laying new bathroom floor tiles, follow this simple step-by-step guide to how to grout tiles and get it right first time. After all, it's going to come in handy whether you're tiling a wall or not.

What is the best way to grout tiles?

Amanda Telford, Marketing Manager at CTD Tiles in the UK says 'When it comes to grouting your tiles, it is particularly important to ensure that you are using the appropriate grout for your home. It’s especially fundamental to ensure that you use a flexible grout for floors and to avoid using a wall only grout on the floor. 

It is also beneficial to use a high-quality grout rather than an already mixed grout and fix. This will result in a stronger finish that lasts longer and much easier to keep clean.'

Bathroom with pink square tiles

(Image credit: Tile Mountain)

Can you put new grout over old grout?

'It is possible to grout over existing grout however it isn’t as simple as mixing new grout and putting it into the joint.' Says Telford.

If you want to know how to re-grouting old tiles there are are few steps you need to know about. You will have to remove the old grout before you go in with the new stuff. 'If customers do decide to do this, it is important that most of the grout has been removed with a grout removal tool first, this is to ensure that the new grout has something to hold onto.' For this you will need a grout rake and to work methodically removing the grout between each tile by moving the rake up and down all the gaps. You can now find electric grout rakes that makes the job quicker.

'Once the old grout has been removed, you will need to clean the area of any loose bits of grout and dust. You can then mix your new batch of grout and follow the instructions stated by the manufacturer.' Continues Telford.

Be patient and take your time so you don't damage the tiles themselves, and once you have removed the grout, clean up any dust and debris before you start the regrouting.

How to grout tiles yourself

You are now ready to grout. Make sure sanitaryware is covered in sheets and protected. Taps and fixings nearby should be covered, too. We'd also recommend wearing gloves.

What tools do I need to grout tile?

Telford recommends the following for a professional finish when grouting tiles yourself:

  • Grout
  • Measuring bucket
  • Cleaning mixing bucket
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Scourer
  • Grout sponge
  • Grouting washboy
  • Grout float /squeegee
  • Mixer
  • Bucket Trowel
  • Cleaning/Polish Cloths
  • Scourer Pads
  • Cement Residue Remover

1. Mix the grout

If you are working with a powdered grout your first step is to mix it. We recommend using a bucket with a pourer for this. Follow the instructions that come with your grout to get the water to powder quantities right. If you are using something like caulking grout that comes pre-mixed you can skip straight to the next step. 

2. Start applying the grout in small sections

Work in sections for the best results. Pour, or squeeze, a small amount of grout on to the tiles and start working it into the gaps in the tiles using a grout float. Work in sweeping arcs, making sure the grout fills all the spaces.

Blue tiles with blue grouting

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Leave grout to set

'Once the grout has been filled in, it is important that you wait fifteen minutes until the grout is touch dry.' Adds Telford.

4. Clean off excess grout from tiles 

Once you have let the grout set for at least 15-30 minutes, you can start gently cleaning off the excess using warm water and a grout sponge or microfibre cloth. 

'Once done, use a damp wet sponge to clean down the surface whilst making sure that you do not over wash the grout, as this will cause it to go patchy.' Adds Telford.

So, be sparing with the amount of water you use as you don't want to wipe away the grouting in between the tiles. Make sure you change the water often too and keep your sponge clean. Wait 10 minutes and then go in and clean again, repeat this until your tiles don't look cloudy.

grout brush

(Image credit: Jakub Ustrzyck/Shutterstock)

5. Seal the grout 

To make your grout waterproof you will need to seal it with grout sealer. Follow the instructions on the one you have picked as different brands and different types will have different application processes. Just be sure to quickly clean away any drips. 

6. Leave the grout dry 

All that's left to do is let the grout dry, again check the instructions on the grout you are using and go by the time they recommend but this will usually be about three hours total. Ensure there isn't a lot of excess grout or sealant on the tile face or outside the grout line.

White kitchen by Martin Moore with range cooker and green splashback

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

7. Clean up!

Once dry, you'll want to clean that hazy film of grout off the surface of your tiles shower or kitchen surface – trust us, it will be there. Start with a dry towel and sweep up the residue that comes off. Then you can move on to using warm water and a microfibre cloth to buff it up for that pro looking finish.

Glitter or gray? 

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.