Recently, I shared how I tiled our kitchen backsplash, so to finish up this part of the kitchen series I’m sharing how to grout beveled backsplash tile. Grout is the last step in tile installation, adding strength and stability to the tile. As a first time user of beveled tile (and my bevel is pretty wide), I initially found grouting it to be tricky. The key to conquering beveled tile or any type of tile is to be prepared, resourceful, and ready for a race against the clock because grout sets-up in 15 to 30 minutes! Follow along to find out how to grout beveled backsplash tile like a speedster!!
Here’s what you’ll need to get started.
- Painter’s tape
- Builder’s Paper (to keep mastic off the countertops)
- Grout Float (a tool for spreading grout)
- Buckets (at least 2, one for mixing grout, and at least one for clean-up)
- Mask (to wear while mixing grout)
- Paper Towels and/ or shop rags
- Large Sponges (for wiping the grout haze from tile)
- Spackling knife (to stir grout)
- Drop cloth (to protect countertops from tools)
- Gloves (optional – to protect hands from grout)
I had two areas to grout, a fairly small area (our coffee and charging station backsplash that is 2’x17″) and a much longer area (near the stove, sink, and dishwasher that is 10’x17″).
Prep and Planning
I started by cleaning and drying the backsplash tile. I also made sure all the joints were free of dried mastic so the grout could adhere properly. To remove dried mastic, I applied painters tape to protect tiles and carefully removed dried mastic bits using a small screw driver and a spackling knife. I worked slowly and carefully in order to protect my tiles.
Note: Grout adheres best when the tile joints are free of any dirt, debris, or dried mastic!!
I attached builder’s paper to the countertops with painter’s tape to protect it from grout and I covered the Nespresso machine with a plastic bag to keep it clean!
Using one of the large buckets, I mixed the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
I filled a second bucket with lukewarm water for cleaning excess grout and grout haze from tile surfaces.
Grout needs to be pressed into the joints for it to make your tile installation stable.
I scooped a sizable amount of grout from the bucket with a medium spackling knife and spread it on my grout float and began applying grout to the tile joints. I used this method in an attempt to keep my float from getting too messy.
I applied grout to the tile joints with a grout float in an upward movement, pressing the grout into the joints. During this step, I noticed that the float was getting caught or skipping on the channel created by the bevels between adjacent tiles. (Let’s call it the “grout gutter.”) This was the first indication that using the traditional grout method might not go as planned.
I continued to apply grout to the tile face, despite the grout gutter, because I needed to get enough grout onto the tile face so it could be pressed (eventually) into tile joints by whatever means necessary.
Applying grout can be very messy, but that’s okay, it’s totally normal. Typically, grout it applied by holding the grout float at a 45° angle to the tile joint which presses grout into the joint as the float is moved across the tile face. This process also removes excess grout from the file face. It’s important to note that the opened or closed angle of the float to the tile does not matter here, it’s the angle in which you move the float across the tile joint that presses grout into the joint.
While holding the float at a 45° angle to the tile joint, I attempted to smear grout into the joints. However, it became apparent that the grout gutter was preventing an even distribution of grout into the tile joints.
Quickly switching gears, I decided to press the corner of the grout float into the grout gutter between the beveled tiles to remove excess grout and to press grout uniformly into the tile joints. Mission accomplished!
There was still some excess grout in the grout gutter, so I decided to run my gloved index finger along the beveled edges to remove it. This allowed me to smooth the grout joints, as well as push grout into the outer joints by the Dural edging strips. A Dural finishing edge is a piece of metal with a channel that hides the unfinished and/ or cut edge of tiles, much like pencil or bullnose tile is used.
Hold grout float at a 45° angle to tile to press grout into joints, then hold hold float at a 90° angle to remove excess product from the face of tile.
Continuing with the gloved finger method, I ran my finger along the grout gutter removing excess grout and smoothing the grout lines. I frequently cleaned the grout from my gloved hands in the bucket of water and dried them with a paper towel.
Note: Any remaining grout on the tile can be easily removed by holding the grout float at a 90° angle to the tile and moving the float across the tile face. This insures that the grout stays in the joint between tiles and is only removed from the tile face.
After I waited about 15 minutes for the grout to setup (so the grout didn’t pull out of the joints), it was time to remove the grout haze with a sponge.
Grout haze is the cloudy residue of grout installation that dries onto the surface of tiles.
I squeezed water from my sponge to make sure it was merely damp and worked using a light, circular motion. But somehow my sponge still had water in it! And, it dripped down the surface of the tiles! Not good! Time to adapt, again!
I grabbed paper towels to clean up the drips and smoothed the joints again, just to be on the safe side. I then used a slightly damp cotton t-shirt (cut into rags) instead of the sponge to remove the grout haze. Afterward, I inspected the grout joints to insure they were evenly filled with grout and perfectly smooth.
The end result – amazing!! Here’s the coffee / charging station after grout application.
When grouting, it’s best to work in smaller 3′ x 3′ areas so grout doesn’t harden before you can finish. Thankfully, I started with the smaller (2’x17″) section of backsplash which allowed me to work out all the kinks in my process before I moved onto the 10 foot stretch of backsplash.
I’ve included several photos of grout haze for reference. Grout haze is the cloudy residue left behind after grout application. This haze should be cleaned from the tile surface before it dries completely, though it is possible to remove it the next day, but you’ll need to use a little ‘elbow grease’.
Being careful not to disturb the grout lines, I used damp paper towels to clean the tile surface and dried them with pieces of old cotton t-shirts. Once the grout had cured for a couple of hours, I cleaned the tiles one more time with damp paper towels.
New Outlets and Switches
Then it was time to install our “fancy” new outlets, switches and wall plates from the Radiant line by Legrand (available at Lowe’s and Amazon).
The beveled tile backsplash is finished and Ah-mazing!! Additionally, the new outlets, switches and wall plates are the icing on the cake, I can’t stop looking at them!! It’s even more satisfying because we did it ourselves!
While grouting beveled tile required a little more on the spot problem solving than regular un-beveled tile, it was still pretty easy and only took me about an hour to complete the entire job.
P.S. Over the weekend we discovered how NOT to apply caulk. Once we’ve cracked the code, I’ll share our do’s and don’ts!
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!