Haven’t read part one, which covers cement backer board, tile layout and mortar? It’s right here.
Once the mortar is fully set, you can move on to grouting. We chose charcoal gray grout to hide our dirt and grit; white grout would look pretty for a week or two, but I know after that I’d regret it ;)
We bought one bag of sanded “polymer-modified” grout. The grout comes in powder form, and is mixed with water. Follow the instructions on the bag, mixing well with the trowel. We used a shallow mop bucket for mixing, which makes it easier to scoop the mortar out.
We mixed the grout right in the bathroom, since our faucet is all hooked up. Convenient, eh?
Using a grout float, which has a spongy bottom to it, start at the back corner of your floor and put a big glob of your grout down. Spread the grout with the float by holding it at about a 30 degree angle and wiping it across the tiles. Keep pushing the grout around until all of your gaps have been filled. Then angle your float up closer to 90 degrees and and grab as much excess grout as you can.
(Teague was just behind me commenting that his hair didn’t look too bad in these pics. He didn’t see this one! Obviousy, we’re far too busy to bother with silly things like combing our hair when we have exciting projects to get to.)
We went about 2′ deep with the first pass, and then went back and wiped everything with a wet sponge to get more of the excess off. About two minutes into it, we realized why dark grout kinda sucks. It’s really, really messy work getting the residue up off your tiles. It required lots of trips up and down the stairs for clean water. Somewhat frightful trips that had me praying that neither of us spilled the dark and murky water that sloshed in our buckets with each step. We kept two water pails in the room at all times; one large paint bucket filled with warm water for our first sponge pass, and another large plastic bowl filled with warm water for the second sponge pass. We alternated bucket fill-ups so we could work continously.
When I ran the sponge over the tiles, I made sure to keep my pressure very light and my sponge wet. You don’t want to pull grout out of your gaps; you just want to clean the surface of your tiles. I found it best to make one pass with one side of the sponge, one pass with the other side, and then rinse and wring it out before going back for more.
Here you can see that the left corner has had 2 passes with the sponge, while the right corner has only had one. You can also see what a nasty mess the black grout was!
We continued in this fashion, doing sections at a time, until the entire floor was mortared. Then we let the grout sit long enough to harden up (about half an hour) so that we could take a final cleaning pass with a damp sponge.
And here is the final product, looking totally amazing! It’s still drying so I couldn’t get full beauty shots, but you can at least see how the charcoal grout looks with the black and white tile. We’re very pleased with the effect, but I will say that my hands and fingernails are disgustingly black right now despite multiple scrubbings, and the black grout makes any variation in the tile layout pretty noticeable. Despite these minor issues, I’m in love with it.