Tiles are durable for decades and can prove themselves strong for external stairs and steps even under heavy load. But they have to be properly laid and grouted. And the tiles of the external staircase must be grouted in a frost-proof manner due to the heavy load. Here is our guide to how to frost proof grout in external and wet areas to prevent damage.
The overall impression of the tiled steps and the floor is decisively influenced by the joints. Even when laying, the joint width must be reconciled with the size of the tiles. The larger the tile, the wider the gap should be.
A uniformly maintained joint width is actually self-evident. Squeezed or too small bleed tiles disturb the picture. The quality of the joint filler also depends on the width of the joint, because not every mortar can be used for every joint width.
The staircase is exposed to the weather and temperature fluctuations. Stairs and garage are usually cleaned with a hard broom and the garden hose. When garage floor is still the high pressure load is added by frequent startup and braking of the car. High quality demands are placed on the quality of the joint filler.
It must be impermeable to water, frost-proof, heavy duty and flexible. The question of the color of the grout can be easily answered for the outdoor area.
Constant dirt leaves the joints appear gray after some time anyway. For this reason, a gray, color pigment-free grout is recommended. The appearance of the tiled surface does not change significantly and remains uniform when you frost proof grout.
Frost proof grout: Filling the joints
The last but not the least important operation when laying tiles is filling the joints. It seems so easy, but there are some points to keep in mind in order not to ruin the whole result of the installation work.
The work to frost proof grout can be started about 2 – 3 days after laying the tiles. The tools needed are a trowel, long-handled rubber pusher, sponge board, sponge and a soft cloth. Highly recommended are knee pads.
The grouting of the baseboards and the subsequent cleaning of the floor must be carried out slipping on the knees, for better or worse. The pourable mortar is poured out on the tiles and slipped diagonally to the joints in the joints by constant back and forth wiping.
Open-pored absorbent pads should be pre-wetted before starting work. Outdoor work should not be carried out in blazing sun to avoid too fast drying out of the joints.
You start with a small area to get used to working with this material. In the further course can be worked over a large area. In the case of soil cladding, the surface is sprinkled with dry, untrimmed grout immediately after leaching and then swept off with a squeegee several minutes later.
After dressing, if the grout can no longer be wiped out or washed out, the fine cleaning of the floor is started immediately. With a large, damp sponge, which must be washed out again and again, the surfaces are cleaned.
Then any remaining veils are polished away with a dry cloth. In very stubborn cases can be treated with a Zementschleierentferner. Since the joints are not completely dry, they must be protected from rain, frost and too fast drying by covering with a foil.
Tips for colorfast grouting
With all grouts, color deviations can easily occur, which can disturb the overall picture. To avoid this, you should note the following:
1. The joint width should be uniform, so that the grout can dry evenly. Uniform distances are obtained when using tile crosses.
2. In order to achieve a uniform joint depth, adhesive residues that have pressed into the joints must be scraped out with a wooden wedge when laying.
3. After slurrying, the floor tiles are then sprinkled with dry mortar to absorb excess moisture
4. When using colored joint mortar, make sure that the mortar is always mixed with the same amount of water and stirred thoroughly.
5. Always put fresh joints on first. They must be slightly dry on the surface. Then clean with a damp sponge.
Gerhardt Richter is a writer and a trainer at trade technical colleges, specializing in carpentry, plumbing and construction.