In ceramic tile installation, grout is a cement-based material used as a jointing material. This article will describe the four main types of grout on the market.
A wise choice between these types of grout is imperative since the spaces between tiles, known as grout joints, must be sealed and maintained properly to prevent stains and discoloration.
The tile and grout are very porous. It is essential to protect them to make them easier to clean and more resistant to staining and damage. When you have completed all the hard work, you wonder how long it will take so you can reinstall the furniture in your room and walk on your new tiles. This guide is all about how long it takes grout to dry.
How Long Does it takes Grout Take To Dry?
Tiles are typically attached to grout walls, filling gaps between them and keeping them in place. For your grout to work its magic, you should allow it to dry for a reasonable amount of time; otherwise, it will not work.
The average time grout takes to dry is 24-72 hours. When it comes to how long it takes for grout to dry, several factors are at play. This article aims to highlight these factors and explain why you should let the grout dry completely.
Factors that affect the drying time of grout
While you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, several factors can speed up or slow down the grout’s drying time. The type of grout, humidity levels, and whether you’re working indoors or outdoors are considered.
Type of Grout
Numerous grout varieties are regularly utilised in house remodelling tasks. These different varieties of grout dry at varying speeds, some taking longer than others, because to their different compositions. You can more accurately estimate the drying time for your project when you know what kind of grout you’re using.
- Cementitious grout: The average drying time of cementitious grout is 72 hours. Grout made of cement is a common material used primarily on residential construction projects. It has a sand-like texture and is mixed with water. When you have formed a paste, apply it with a flat trowel. Water-retentive additives keep the grout moist, ensuring maximum durability by slowing down its drying process. Polyblend Plus and Starlike Crystal are examples of cementitious grouts that are popular today.
- Sanded grout versus unsanded grout: You have two choices when using cementitious grout: sanded and unsanded. Because sanded grout is less likely to shrink and crack, it is ideal for wide gaps and floor tiles. Grout that has not been sanded is smoother and easier to apply to vertical surfaces like shower walls. However, it should only be used if the grout joint is less than 18 inches wide. Grout that has been sanded and unsanded generally dries in about the same amount of time, usually 72 hours, but you should wait even longer before exposing it to moisture.
- Epoxy grout: Epoxy grout can dry within 24 hours on average. It’s ideal for tiles exposed to harsher materials, like acids or grease. Epoxy grout includes epoxy resin and hardener, which will last for many years. This grout is more durable and resistant to stains, cracks, chemicals, and weather changes. It’s more expensive and harder to apply since it dries quickly, but it will last long. Because this grout does not always require sealing, it dries and is ready for use much sooner than cementitious grout. These are two famous examples of epoxy grouts: Starlike Classic and Starlike Crystal.
The humidity level.
A high humidity level will also slow down the drying process of grout. For example, the bathroom has the highest humidity level in the home, so that the grout will dry more slowly there than in the kitchen. Additionally, humidity levels outside can affect drying rates as well. When the grout is applied in tropical climates like Florida, it takes longer to dry than when applied in desert climates like Las Vegas.
Interior plants can also influence the drying time of grout. Plants such as lilies and philodendrons release moisture, which increases the humidity in your home. Grout takes longer to dry when there is more moisture in the air.
Is Grout Drying Properly Causing Problems?
The following can happen if the grout doesn’t dry properly: Peels and flakes: This is often caused by applying sealant before the grout is fully dry. Peeling and flaking of grout can reduce the overall strength and appearance of the material.
- Weak joints: If the grout does not dry properly, it can’t provide a strong bond between the tiles, causing holes, cracks, or gaps. Due to these issues, the joints are weakened, and moisture is allowed to enter under the tiles.
- Crack and crumble: Not letting grout dry properly can lead to cracks and crumbles. Typically, this happens when you expose the grout to moisture before its fully cured.
- Exploration: This is especially noticeable if the grout is white or light-colored. Discoloration can occur if the grout is not allowed enough time to cure, creating an uneven color between tiles.
- Mold and mildew: Grout that isn’t allowed to dry appropriately is prone to mold and mildew growth. Due to the porous nature of grout, mold and mildew are commonly found between tiles. Moisture can penetrate the grout through cracks, crumbles, weak joints, and flaking, leading to mold and mildew growth. A mold infestation behind the tiles can make it impossible to remove the mold without destroying the tiles.
How can I make tile grout dry faster?
Waiting for the grout to dry can be frustrating if you have recently installed new tiles in your home or just completed a renovation project. However, you can take some simple steps to speed up the drying process and have your tiles look great in no time.
Firstly, ensure that the room is well-ventilated. Proper airflow will help the moisture in the grout to evaporate more quickly. Use a fan or open windows to increase airflow.
Secondly, if you are working in a particularly humid environment, consider using a dehumidifier to reduce the air’s moisture. This will help the grout dry more quickly and prevent it from becoming too soft or moldy.
Another tip is to use a hairdryer on a low heat setting to dry the grout gently. Hold the hairdryer a few inches away from the grout and move it around to ensure even drying.
Finally, adding some alcohol to the grout mixture before applying it can speed up the drying process. This should be done carefully as adding too much alcohol can cause the grout to become brittle and crack.
Following these tips can speed up the grout drying process and enjoy your newly tiled floors or walls sooner.
The drying time for grout is dependent upon a variety of variables that you should consider. You should allow your grout to dry before applying tiles, particularly if you plan to leave the tiles in place for long periods. If not, several problems can develop, such as cracking, weak joints, mold growth, and mildew.
When it comes to applying grout, patience and precision are required. The task is certainly best left to professionals. If you’re looking for experienced professionals to seal your grouts, Grout Magnificent specializes in doing so and much more.