-Once you’ve installed new tile and the mastic
is cured, the next step is grout. For this job, you need plastic sheeting, masking or
painter’s tape, grout, two clean buckets, a grout float, putty knife, a sponge, a couple
of soft cloths, grout sealer, and caulk. Before you begin, protect your countertop with plastic
sheeting using tape to hold it in place. First, mix the grout with water using a putty knife
according to package directions. Mix until the consistency resembles creamy peanut butter.
Let the grout stand for five minutes. Next, spread the grout onto the tile, hold the float
at a 45-degree angle and firmly push the grout into the spaces between the tiles using a
diagonal motion. If you are grouting a large area, work in small manageable sections. Avoid
grouting where the tile meets the countertop, window, or wall. This area will be caulked.
After the grout has cured for 10 to 15 minutes, use a barely damped sponge and warm water
to wipe the excess grout off the face of the tile. Rinse the sponge often and repeat until
the tiles are clean and the haze is gone. It’s important to have a barely damped sponge
so as not to disturb the grout lines. Once the grout has set for a few hours or even
overnight, use a soft cloth to buff any remaining hazy film off of the tiles. Allow the grout
to cure and harden for at least 24 hours. After the grout has dried completely, seal
the grout to prevent stains. Then, caulk where the backsplash meets the countertop and to
any corners. Apply an even bead of caulk and wipe the line with a barely damped sponge.
Next, run your fingertip across the wet caulk and follow again with a barely damped sponge
until you have a crisp line. When the caulk is dried, you’re ready to enjoy your new backsplash.