What Happens If You Grout Tile Too Soon

Have you ever wondered what happens if you grout tile too soon?

Or does your tile seem not to be perfectly in place, but you are not sure if it was caused by grouting too soon. 

This article is set to guide you on the effects of grouting tile too soon and when it is best to grout your tile.

The most common effect of grouting your tiles too soon is that tiles won’t sit in place. Then also, they will begin to pop out from the ground

Why Do We Need To Put Grout On Tiles?

why grout tiles

Tiling can be a lot of work but one which is worth it in the end if done perfectly.

Ceramic tiles are not only durable but also last long. They also come in bold and aesthetic designs that are befitting for our homes. 

However, to enjoy this long-term benefit of ceramic tiles, the tiling process has to be done perfectly. 

Grouting is the process of closing the gaps and spaces between the tiles or the wall. Putting grout on tiles helps give the tiles a complete finish.

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Grout is usually put in the gaps between the tiles and the walls. Hence, leaving those places empty wouldn’t give the tiles the befitting look it deserves.

Hence why grout is needed to be applied to tiles.

Tip: Grouting also helps level the tiles.

How Long Does Mortar Thinset Take Before It Dries

mortar thinset drying

There is a due process of tile laying. The mortar thin-set is required to dry off completely before one can grout the tiles.

On average, it takes the thinset a total of 24- 48 hours before it dries up completely. 

This is necessary as grouting the tile before the mortar is dry could cause certain damages. All these depend on a few certain factors, such as the temperature of the environment.

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The humidity, airflow, and the mortar used as well as the way it was mixed are also included among these factors.

The mortar could take a total of 48 hours to dry. In fact, if the mortar is too moist or the air too humid it can take up to 72 hours. 

Tip: Certain mixtures can be added to mortar to hasten the drying process.

Factors That Affect How Long Before You Can Grout Tile 

factors affect tiling grout

The mortar must dry before one can apply the grout to the tile. 

There are a few factors that affect how long it takes for the mortar to dry up. While most of them are factors we can not control.

There are those which we can influence, which include the following:

Temperature Of The Environment

temperature of environment

Temperature plays a major effect in the drying up of mortar.

For the thin-set mortar to dry hastily, the room temperature needs to be between 5°C and 40°C.

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Anything below 5°C, the mortar will take some more time to dry.

Humidity

The humidity of a room or environment can also affect how long the mortar will set in.

Moisture in the air will make drying up take longer. Humidity also plays a key role when mixing the mortar to be used.

Using much water in a highly humid environment will prolong the drying process.

Air Flow

air flow in room

Another factor that affects the drying process of the underlying mortar is the airflow in the room.

A spacious and well-ventilated room allows for air to get in more to the mortar.

Because the mortar is beneath the tiles, it takes time for the air to reach there. Hence when fixing tiles, allow for more airflow into the room.

Mixture Used

Mortar is a mixture of cement, fine sand, and other adhesive materials.

Certain mortars are manufactured in a way that they take a longer time to dry.

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Although this isn’t a problem, you might want to consider going for those that dry up easily.

There are those that dry up easily and still give as much hold as those that dry up longer.

Another thing to note is to follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to go about the mixtures. 

Water

water in grout mixture

Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions and the level of humidity.

Rationing how much water is used for the mortar mixture will not only determine how long it will take to dry but also, how well the mortar will hold the tiles. 

Tip: An extra tip for thin-set mortar drying up is to ensure consistency in the mixture of the mortar.  

How Long Do You Wait To Put Grout On Tile

hpw long before grout tiles

A common question that people ask me is “ can I grout tiles same day that I laid the tiles”? The simple answer is No.

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It is expected to wait for the underlying mortar to dry off before grouting.

Therefore one is expected to wait a total of 48 hours or 72 hours, depending on how long it would take for the mortar to dry. 

The major issue is there seems to be no way to tell if the thin-set mortar has dried. This is because one cannot view the mortar which is underneath the tiles.

Also, make no mistake in using the visible mortar in the gaps of the tiles. Those mortars are exposed and will dry up easily. 

Tip: A good tip is to wait another 24 hours after the visible mortar looks dry before applying grout.

What Happens If You Grout Tile Too Soon

applying grout on tiles

As discussed above, knowing when to put grout on a tile is heavily dependent on how long the underlying mortar dries off.

Putting grout on tiles before the mortar dries off or too soon can cause certain damages. And some of these damages are quite severe in the long run.

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These damages will either make the tiles not to be in place or not look too fancy. Solving these damages might involve the total removal of the tiles.

Below are some effects of applying grout too soon:

Tiles Popping Out

tile damage

Putting grout on tiles before the mortar dries up will cause the tiles to become unraveled. They may even pop out or crack.

This is because the underlying thin-set didn’t cure properly.

Mortar requires air to dry properly, and closing the gaps will prevent enough air from going through.

This causes the tiles to become unlevelled, pop out and crack. 

Mortar And Grout Will Be Discoloured 

discoloration

Moisture in mortar causes mold and fungi to form when this happens. The color of the grout begins to change, and trust me, it isn’t a pleasant color.

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Aside from the problem of discoloration, mold and fungi on your floor pose a danger of contamination and infections.

Mortar Will Eventually Fall Apart 

Not allowing the mortar to dry before applying grout will cause the mortar to eventually collapse beneath the tiles.

Now, this is major damage as the mortar will no longer be able to hold the tiles against the floor or wall. Hence, the tiles will pull out from the floor.

This damage might involve the total removal of all the tiles and a possible change as the tiles will no longer be usable.

Tip: Before applying grout to the gaps ensure to clean up the gaps of every form of dirt or debris.  

Conclusion

Knowing what happens if you grout tile too soon, will save you a lot of stress. This is as fixing the problem it causes might not be all that easy.

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This might involve the total removal of all the tiles. And this is not only time-consuming but also expensive. 

This article is for informative and educational purposes. It is best to leave the process of tiling your home to a professional.

Well, you can do so,  except you have the knowledge of masonry.

However, putting grout on tiles does not necessarily require a lot of expertise and could be done by you.

Kristina Davis
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