When you spread grout on a ceramic tile floor, you need to make sure that you allow it plenty of time to dry before walking across it. If you step on the tiles before the grout has had a chance to fully set, you could easily ruin all your hard work. Schedule your days to set aside plenty of time for the floor to set; if the new grout is in the kitchen, plan your meals out; if it’s in a bathroom, be sure your family uses other bathrooms in the house, or arrange for alternate accommodations.
In most cases, you should allow the grout to dry overnight before using that room as total dry time may take up to 24 hours. If you are thinking about sealing your grout after you have installed it, you need to wait even longer than that so that all of the moisture has had time to be released. In most cases, this process can take as long as 72 hours to complete.
Different grout mixes from different manufacturers can have their own instructions for dry times. To ensure that you always allow ample time, consult the instructions on your specific packaging and follow any directions for application to the letter.
As Grout Dries
It is important to note that cleaning up excess grout will actually take place while the material is still drying. Naturally, since grout is meant to be durable, clearing any grout off of your ceramic tile when it’s already dry will be difficult. So, instead, you’ll want to take a wet sponge to the grout after it sets for about 15 to 30 minutes. This should remove most of the excess, leaving only a thin haze that will have to be dealt with later.
Certain factors in your home environment can cause your grout dry time to increase, the biggest of these being humidity. Since grout dries as the moisture evaporates from the material, too much moisture in the air will make it harder for the moisture to evaporate quickly. This situation will be more common in humid climate regions, but also in homes with a lot of flora indoors as plants actually release moisture into the air.
Running an air conditioner or a dehumidifier in the room is the best way to dry out the air, but using a fan can also help by circulating the air across the surface of the tiles. Pull any plants you may have in the room out prior to drying the grout so they’re not negatively affected.
It should also be noted that dry time should never decrease under what's directed, no matter the conditions of your home.