Get a Grip on your Grouting!
Last week I covered the reasons why shower screens, curtain poles, loo-roll holders etc frequently come adrift from walls in tenanted properties, and how to prevent it. This week I’ll look at correct use and choice of grout, both for ease of application and durability.
There are several different types of grout and it’s important to use the right one. I NEVER use fix-and-grout for anything other than fixing. The reason is it sets by drying. (If you refer to my third blog this concept is explained in more detail with ref. to adhesives). So if you use fix-and-grout the thin smears on the tile surface will dry first and be an absolute swine to wipe off, while the thicker grout in the gaps (which you want to remain in situ) will still be soft and come out. The exact opposite applies to powder grout. It sets by wetting, so the wet grout in the gaps will start to set, while the smears on the tiles will dry too quickly and can be wiped off easily.
For tiles used on kitchen worktops and anywhere vulnerable to staining, use epoxy resin grout. It is impervious to moisture and will not mildew. Some types are also ever-so-slightly flexible. I know one investor who also uses it on floor tiles because of its extreme durability (thanks Paul).
The easiest way to apply grout is to mix to a blancmange-like consistency in a bowl, then use a proper rubber grout float (not a rag) to strike it off diagonally. When the grout has fully set you can remove any residue with a damp rag or possibly a scourer if necessary.
A few bonus tips since I have space – make sure the shower nozzle has plenty of slack – stretching it will soon make it leak. Put access hatches in bath panels, under shower trays and anywhere that is prone to leaks and blockages. Also put a rodding eye on the shower waste pipe outside. They are a favourite for getting blocked up with hair, cotton buds and plastic razor head covers. Also put isolation valves on everything (shower, loo, basin, bath, washing machine) so you can disconnect each independently & without having to turn the main water off.
Right that’s it! Next week I’ll discuss the reasons why you really should consider a wetroom as an alternative to a bathroom in tenanted properties (yes, really!)