Grouting and Finishing Glass Subway Tile

Hello again and Happy Holidays!

I’m back with part 2 of tilextravaganza! Today I’m talking about all things grout. Ah grout. Wonderful, because it means your project is almost done!

Not so wonderful, because grout. 

Grouting and Finishing Glass Subway Tile

Note: We did not partner with, nor we were given discounted/free materials from any of the companies/products mentioned in this post. Any products mentioned are for the sole purpose of narrating the process or because we just really liked the product.

First of all, you can read about how we laid the backsplash tile here.

In this post, I will be sharing how we grouted and finished the backsplash. The supplies we used were:

  1. Grout. (Surprise.) We used Stainmaster Stain Proof Grout in Ice White pre-mixed grout which was $69.95 from Lowe’s. OK.. pause. Maybe I don’t really understand the definition of “pre-mixed grout”, but I was assuming we would just pop the lid off this thing and go to town. Not the case. It comes with a little baggy of gel you’re supposed to mix with a drill and concrete mixer… which we do not have. Helloooo…. DIYers here! Obviously! Pre-mixed grout purchasers! John mixed it by hand with a long screwdriver and it worked fine (we think), but fair warning! Note: you are supposed to use unsanded grout with glass tile to avoid scratches. We saw other Stainmaster products that specifically said sanded and felt comfortable that this grout, without specifically saying unsanded, was fine. We even tested it on one tile before starting and couldn’t see any scratches. If you are more nervous about picking the right grout for your tile than we were- be sure to ask someone in the hardware store!Grout
  2. Sponges and rags. Our grout came with the white felt pad in the above right photo. I bought a pack of the yellow polyurethane sponges in the above photo from Lowe’s for $10.48 for 6. We also bought a contractor pack of throw away rags from Lowe’s.
  3. Grout haze remover. We bought Stainmaster Grout Haze Remover from Lowe’s for $11.48 and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (4 pack for $5.48 also from Lowe’s).
  4. Silicone Caulk for windows and joints. We used 2 from Lowe’s for $12.56.
  5. Grout float. I picked this Goldbatt Rubber float from Lowe’s for $9.98. I tested every float in the store and picked this one because it wasn’t too heavy or bulky for me and my significant lack of upper body strength.

We started by mixing the pre-mixed grout. Obviously not said begrudgingly at all. 

Then, using the float, I started slapping the grout on. The first slap, for lack of a better word, doesn’t matter that much. After I had a nice little pile on the tile, I spread the grout at a 45 degree angle. This is the best way to coax the grout into the cracks. If you don’t spread at a 45 degree angle, you end up pulling the grout out of the cracks because wet grout sticks to wet grout.

grouting

It took a lot of elbow grease and Adele (and a few colorful words) but eventually I had the whole kitchen grouted!

finished grouting

I worked in sections spreading the grout with my float. Every 15 minutes or so, I would go back over the grouted sections first with the wet felt pad, then with a dampened sponge. I wiped in a circular motion. You have to do this just firmly enough to remove the excess grout but not too firmly that you are wiping out grout you want to stay. I still have to go back and touch up a few spots that I must have wiped too aggressively.

wiping groutAfter everything was wiped clean, I went in with my caulk gun and caulked up the corner joints and the space between the counter and the first row of tile. We used silicone caulk since you want to waterproof where your tile meets the counter. I filled in the gap with my caulk gun, then ran my finger and a little water along the line. Manicures? No sorry, I’m renovating my kitchen. Any excess caulk I wiped up with a damp rag. Since our counter is white, the white caulk completely blends in and wiped up beautifully. 

caulkingWhen caulking around the window and near the walls, I first taped off the tile with painters tape, then again used my finger and a little water to smoosh (?) the caulk in. When I took the tape off I only had to wipe the tile off a little bit.

Window GroutEven though the instructions on the grout say that any grout haze could be easily wiped off the following day, we found this to be a blatant lie not true in our case. A week after I grouted (I had flown out for work and this possibly could have been why we had such trouble cleaning the grout haze, but who knows) we followed the instructions on the Stainmaster grout haze remover and then buffed the tile with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. You can see in the above right photo an area where I need to go back and touch up the grout because too much got wiped away. What can I say I’m a violent cleaner.

I shared this image in my post about laying the tile, but here it is again so you can see how well the tile cleaned up after using the grout hazer remover. SO EXCITING.

Finished Backsplash Tile

Just for funsies (and because I like before and afters) here is a comparison from the day we bought the house to now.

Kitchen before and after

The total for this project ended up being $635.82. Money well spent in my book! I would love to get a realtor in as the house continues to progress to see how much value we are adding with these updates. Not that we plan on moving any time soon, but I would be curious to see what the return on our investment is.

Even though I’ve been sharing the prices as we’ve gone along between this post and the post about installing the glass tile, here is a concise breakdown (some totals are guesstimations based on what I can remember):

  • Tile $348.95
  • Wet Saw $89
  • Mussel Bound Adhesive Tile Mat (2 @ 27.98) = $55.96
  • Brown paper and tape $10
  • Grout spacers $5
  • Silicone Caulk (2 @ $6.28) = $12.56
  • Grout $69.95
  • Sponges $10.48
  • Rags $6.98
  • Grout Haze Remove $11.48
  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers $5.48
  • Grout float $9.98

Until next time! Have a wonderful Holiday Season!