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Finished tiling a tub surround today. Wife helped me clean up the grout...

My mix is like a creamy peanut butter. I read the directions. I use a float and drywall knife to apply. I buy the good stuff...

So I am coming out right now. I have more drops than a b-52. Literally 10-20% of my grout hits the deck.

I am not a bad tiler. My jobs look great and last. But I think I am about as messy as can be.

What is the normal amount of grout to drop?

Do other people have this same problem? (mention if you are a pro or DIYer)

How do you keep this from happening? I want tips/technique/whatever you have.

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in my opinion it is really just practice and keeping aware of what you're doing and how much grout you are working with at once. – RyanWinchester May 5 '13 at 5:51

Hold your hawk under the area you are applying the grout. It is normal to drop quite a bit, especially if it is something you don't do everyday, so let the hawk catch it before it hits the floor.

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I put the grout on the float with a drywall knife. How many hands do you have? – DMoore May 5 '13 at 14:38
Give me a % of the grout you drop too Shirlock. How do you get the grout on your float with a hawk? Are you afraid that swinging the hawk to catch grout would damage tile? I feel like there is a secret! – DMoore May 5 '13 at 17:51
feed the grout from the hawk directly to the wall with your trowel. Then just hold under, don't rest the hawk on the tile, a half inch away. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Push the grout up and sideways and you won't drop as much. – shirlock homes May 5 '13 at 20:57
You use a trowel to grout? Holy cow I am lost now. I use a float. – DMoore May 8 '13 at 6:45
Yes. I use a silicone rubber covered 10 inch trowel. Never use a metal blade type tool to push grout, it will scratch the tile. – shirlock homes May 8 '13 at 9:17

When I mix non-sanded grout, I mix it to a consistency that will not slump on a vertical surface (as with all cement the less water the better so long as everything is activated; properly wetted), but dropping one out of ten blobs is par for the course - you should see me attempt to do drywall mud. That's 50/50 for me on a good day. Grout is harder to work with less water but it makes for a better product.

Grout Consistency:

  • Sanded grout: yogurt to creamy peanut butter.

  • Non-sanded grout: creamy peanut butter to cold butter.

There's a drywaller's trick you should adapt to tiling: wipe off the sides of your float, so that when you squeeze down it doesn't just go right out the sides. Your 'blob' should be in the front middle and have room to go on the trowel before it's in no man's land.

Basically you scrape the excess off, back into the bucket (at an angle) and make a pyramid shaped dollop at the front of the float. Only use it sideways to clean up, not when you're forcing the grout in.

– professional DiY'er.

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