Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to make your own ceramic tile grout

I found this recipe for making your own tile grout, I'd be interested to know if anyones tried it and what they think. Mix 2 parts dry clean sand with 1 part portland cement. Add this to water to form a slow damp curing grout.


9 comments:

  1. This recipe would work, but only on bigger grout joints. I'd say at least 1/4" and no smaller. The problem is with the sand particles. Most sanded grouts use a silica sand, which is very fine. If you can obtain some, then you could use it for smaller joints, as long as they are at least 1/8" or bigger. If your grout joints are any smaller, use just straight portland cement with no sand. Keep in mind that most commercially sold grouts use polymers (glue) in their mix to give the grout additional strength. I'm not sure what the ratio is, but if you add a bit of weldbond, or other suitable white glue to your mix, you will get a stronger end product. Do not use too much (only like a cup to about 3 gallons of mix) otherwise the grout haze may be difficult to remove after the joints have dried.

    The above recipe will only get you a white coloration. If you want to add color, then you will have to add pigment to your mix. I personally use Imasco pigments which are used by the stucco industry in order to color their stucco. You can find these at most Masonry Supply Shops, and they come in a wide array of colors. Add a small amount of pigment to your mix and mix it in thouroughly. Take a small stick or something else equivalent, and dip it into your mix. Shake off any excess, and dry the stick under a hairdryer, heatgun, etc. Once dry, you will see what color your grout will dry to. If you want it darker, add some more pigment, and repeat the process until you have the tone that you want. Make sure you mix up enough grout to do the entire project to avoid coloration problems. I've done this on my own tile jobs on occasion when a custom color was needed, but not available by the manufacturer, and have had excellent results.

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  2. I was thinking about making my own grout and throwing in some polyurethane or resin to give it a little flexibility. Thoughts? And you are guys really brothers? debhoag@juno.com

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  3. I know for doing concrete I use http://www.starpatchconcrete.com/PDS/PDS_Bonding_900X.pdf to give it flexibility and strength. I used about half a cup to a cup per 20kg cement at a 4:1 ration sand to cement. You have to be somewhat careful though, adding too much stuff such as color pigment will actually decrease the strength.

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  4. do you need calcium carbonate?

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  5. As one with no prior experience making grout, I'd suggest using sand blasting sand. It is available in various "grit" meaning sizes. Cement gets it's inherent strength due to the various sizes in the mix, everything from gravel, sand, and finally the ultra fine portland cement, which is the equivalent of powdered sugar. The cement mixture when properly tamped,vibrated, and trowled sweats any excess water up, thereby filling any and all voids. The strength is due to the tightness of the mix once cured.
    I'd suggest a couple of sizes, coarse and fine.

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  6. I am a bronze sculptor and naive about using cement and concrete. However, I am wanting to make a mosaic base and/or background for my sculptures. The area is small. I have the stone and tile all glued down and wish to use colored grout on it.

    I have portland cement. I wish the color to be dark chocolate brown, same color as the bronze finish on the sculpture. The area will be a 2'x2' panel. Do I need to add sand and/or gravel with this small a piece. Also can I use what I have to add color (i.e. acrylic artist paint or oil paint.

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    Replies
    1. You can use paint pigments from somewhere like Ace Hardware for your color. For the rest of the mixture, you will need a type 2 & 5 portland cement, #30 grade sand, and acrylic polymer as an additive to make it more flexible and also increase the bonding properties.

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