Mosaic is one of the most popular finishing materials. It is highly regarded for its beauty and practicality, inspiring the most creative ideas to come true. The organicity and integrity of the mosaic composition largely depends on the choice of grout. Its properties, color and quality of application largely determine the appearance and ease of use of the future coating..
Varieties: how to choose?
On the market of modern finishing materials, there are such types of these compositions as:
Grout cement based have a low price and are easier to apply and remove. These materials do not tolerate a humid environment well, and are also easily amenable to mechanical and chemical attack, but at the same time they are an excellent prophylactic agent against fungus and mold..
On sale, cement grout is produced in the form of bulk materials, which must be diluted with water or liquid latex to a certain consistency..
Some grouts contain sand or Portland cement to make them more durable..
Cement compounds in its pure form can be used for grouting joints no more than 0.5 cm wide. For wider joints, the material is mixed with sand, but such grouting is not suitable for every material. For example, they cannot be used together with enamel tiles, as fine grains of sand can scratch the coating. In addition, cement compositions are distinguished by a meager color range..
More common grouts are cement and resin based epoxies.. They were nicknamed epoxy by the people for the speed of setting with the base. A more correct name is two-component. Mixing epoxy resin and flint filler with a special hardener results in a plastic grout compound that is easy to work with. This type of grout does not fade over time, since not chemical additives are used as a dye, but colored quartz sand. He also plays the role of a mass filler.
The color scheme is quite varied. If desired, you can get any shade, sparkling grout or gold or silver finish.
Although the composition of cement mortars includes latex, they cannot be called two-component, since latex is an optional element in it. Unlike epoxy, in which both components play an important role. At first glance, the differences between the two types of grout are insignificant. But professionals know that over time, the cement composition loses its original appearance, and the cladding will look stale. Two-component analogs retain beauty and whiteness for much longer.
The mosaic can be used for cladding exterior and exterior walls of a house. When choosing a grout for a mosaic, it is important to know some of the nuances that will simplify the further use of facing materials. This applies to the place of use of the tiles, the environment, the effect of chemicals on the coating, air temperature and joint width..
In order to avoid mistakes in choosing one or another grout, you should pay attention to the following factors:
- abrasion ability;
- resistance to sunlight;
- high percentage of adhesion;
- moisture resistance.
Special requirements for quality are put forward for the compositions used in the lining of swimming pools..
In this case, only epoxy compounds known for their fast setting are suitable for grouting tile joints. In addition, they are resistant to chemicals, which is equally important when lining not only the pool, but also the shower, kitchen walls and surfaces in the bathroom..
There are several basic requirements for grouting..
- Elasticity. The composition must be of such a consistency that there are no drips during application. But it will be difficult to work with an excessively thick grout. Most modern materials retain their elasticity even after hardening, so that the seam layer does not crack even after displacement of the tiled masonry.
- Strength. Grout should not crumble or crumble. To avoid such a result, it is better to use only proven products and carefully observe the proportions when mixing the components..
- Water tightness. Tile joints must be well protected from the harmful effects of moisture, mold and dirt. Therefore, it is best to give preference to moisture resistant formulations..
Until recently, it was possible to choose the color of grouting compounds from only two options: white or gray. Today the range of colors is practically unlimited. But, even despite such a variety, the most popular is white grout. But the right color allows you to hide the unevenness and roughness of the surface..
Experts recommend choosing a grout either to match the mosaic itself, or a tone darker. Light-colored seams will merge with the general look, the mosaic will lose its attractiveness.
Mosaic properties are an equally important aspect in color selection. Glass, mirror mosaic or photo collage requires delicate handling, so it is better to choose a transparent grout. It is important to know that after complete drying, the grout can change color, therefore, when choosing a color, it is better to consult with professionals. It is better to choose and purchase compositions immediately together with the tiles – this will allow you to achieve one hundred percent similarity of tones.
If in doubt about the choice of color, you can give preference to a white shade or transparent compositions..
In some cases, contrasting colors such as black or red look nice. It should be noted that the use of rich colors requires a certain combination with the design of the room. Otherwise, the coating will visually disintegrate into fragments..
The rules for choosing the color of grout are as follows:
- compositions of light colors visually merge with the mosaic, and the surface seems to be cast. This is a great way to hide the imperfect tiling;
- dark grout is the best option for zoning space;
- for grouting floor tiles, gray and brown compounds are most often used;
- when decorating a panel or bright mosaic, the use of contrasting grout is inappropriate. Compositions of similar colors are more suitable for ideal surfaces;
- for grouting mosaics laid out in the form of a pattern or ornament, it is recommended to use compositions of neutral colors.
When choosing a grout color, it is worth considering in advance how it will be combined with the tiles, whether it will be appropriate in the overall design of the room, because only a competently folded interior can please the eye for a long time.
Consumption for 1 m?
Grout consumption is directly related to the width, thickness and dimensions of the mosaic tile. The amount of material spent is also influenced by the professionalism of the craftsman and the method of grouting used..
It is recommended to consider the parameters taken into account in more detail..
- Tile options. If it is shallow, then 1 m² will have more joints than usual, respectively, the consumption of the composition will be higher. The same can be said about the thickness of the ceramics – the thicker the coating, the more the grout will be consumed..
- Width of seams. This indicator is directly influenced by the parameters of the tile. Small mosaics will look beautiful in the frame of narrow joints. For wide tiles, 2 mm are left for the joints, and for the floor – 3 mm.
- Depth of tile joint. This indicator is measured by the distance from the wall to the tile itself, created by a layer of applied glue. Grout should fill all the empty space tightly..
- Density of grout. Different manufacturers offer formulations that are completely different in their consistency..
- Quality of work. Even if a real master is in charge of the process, the material consumption can be high due to unforeseen circumstances. It is worth considering the need to hide flaws, chips, uneven coverage.
This table shows the calculation of the material consumption per 1 m² for grouting tile joints. If the dimensions of the mosaic are non-standard, you can calculate the approximate material consumption yourself using the following formula:
Consumption (kg / m²) = (k + d) / (k * d) * z * m * n, where:
- k is the length of the mosaic tile (mm);
- d is the width of the mosaic tile (mm);
- z is the thickness of the mosaic tile (mm);
- m is the width of the joint between the plates (mm);
- n is the density of the composition (kg / dm³), usually a figure from 1.5 to 1.8.
For example, the size of the mosaic tiles is 20×20 mm and the thickness is 4 mm. The joint thickness should be 2 mm. Divide the sum of length and width (40 mm) by the product of length and width (400 mm). In this case, this figure is 0.1 mm. Next, you need to multiply the resulting number by the thickness of the tile (4 mm), then – by the width of the seam (2 mm) and by a factor (1.6 mm) – you get 1.28. In the table, all values are rounded, and our number turns into 1.3 kg, which confirms our calculations..
In a similar way, you can calculate the consumption of grout not only for mosaic, but also for ordinary tiles. If you don’t want to mess around with the calculations, you can use the manufacturers’ norms indicated on the packaging of each trowel..
Application: process description
The process of grouting mosaic tiles requires certain skills in working with materials and tools. Much depends on knowledge of the process technology, the nuances of work, the quality of the selected materials.
The grouting process includes several stages..
- Before you start grouting the surface must be thoroughly cleaned from dirt and dust. You can start work only 24 hours after laying the tiles. This is necessary so that the mosaic solidifies properly, and trowelling cannot harm the coating, otherwise moisture can affect the color of the joints..
- Remains of tile adhesive should be removed together with dirt., so that the surface can dry. Special acidic cleaners will help to wash the glue. After applying them, the surface of the mosaic should be washed with plenty of water..
- If light-colored grout will be used, the grooves between the tiles must be completely clean. Decorative mosaics can be cleaned several times, allowing them to dry after each cleaning. To prevent the grout from cracking after drying, it is recommended to blot the tiles with a sponge, which will remove excess moisture..
- You need to mix the product strictly in certain proportions., following the manufacturer’s instructions. As a rule, they indicate all important aspects of working with grout: joint width, preparation, application. You can achieve a homogeneous mass with a drill, using a special drill attachment for kneading..
- So that the grout fits better and does not lose moisture, and the seams turned out to be even and neat, the edges of the mosaic can be slightly wet. If there is a concern that the tile may be damaged during the work, it is recommended to treat the surface with a special protective compound. If the applied mixture begins to dry, you can blot the surface with a damp sponge or lightly spray from a spray bottle.
- The finished mixture should be rubbed with a rubber spatula diagonally from top to bottom.. All holes must be filled immediately, after which excess material is removed. You can start washing the tiles within 30 minutes after the completion of trowelling. It is impossible to wait for complete drying, since it will be quite difficult to remove the hardened mass from the surface of the tile. The drying time of the grout depends on the type of compound and the manufacturer. Some materials dry after 15 minutes.
- Remove excess grout from the mosaic with gentle circular motions.. It is better to wash the tiles with a soft cloth or sponge, regularly rinsing it in clean water. Do not press hard on the tiles so as not to damage the integrity of the coating. After the grout is completely dry, wipe the entire coating with a dry cloth or hydrosponge..
- Two-component grout washes off much harder. In addition, it will take about an hour to dry, and the seams will have to be washed out with warm water. If you do not wash off the excess epoxy grout in time, then it will be possible to get rid of the dried mixture only mechanically..
- The time for complete drying of the grout is approximately several days.. Before the surface is ready for use, it should be protected from direct sunlight, temperature extremes, drafts and getting wet..
- Trowel mesh will help to simplify the process of grouting.. This special fixture consists of perforated fiberglass sheets coated with crushed silicon carbide. But you should not resort to using this tool without experience, since there is a risk of scratching the coating.
Construction professionals recommend following a few tips when working with mosaic grout.
- Before starting to apply the grout, it is recommended to check it on an inconspicuous area, wait until it dries completely..
- If it is not possible to choose a certain color, the white grout is equally well in harmony with any color of the mosaic..
- Grouting area at one time should not exceed two square meters.
- It is better to wash the mosaic several times, taking breaks to dry. Acidic cleaners can be used, but they also need to be rinsed off with water.
- During the grouting process, the mosaic tiles may slide out. To put them back in place, you need to gently correct the edge with the smooth part of the putty knife. It should be borne in mind that it is possible to adjust the location of the tiles only within the next half hour, then the glue will harden and the mosaic will firmly “grab”. And if grouting is carried out in the hot season, then the drying time is reduced..
- Epoxy compounds are more suitable for grouting wooden mosaics, since wood easily changes its size under the influence of temperature and humidity. Therefore, mineral compositions that can crack quickly are not suitable.
- It is better to grout glass mosaic with a colorless composition, the color of which will not stand out against the general background. This will give the coating integrity..
For more information on epoxy mosaic grout, see below..