Top Ten Tips for Hot Weather Grouting
When working in hot weather it is important to consider four key temperatures: water, powder, air, and surface. Higher temperatures for any of these can reduce a grout’s working time, especially for fast setting products. The following outlines best practices to help ensure successful grouting in hot weather.
- Ensure the powder temperature is between 60-80°F prior to mixing. Store bags in a shaded or conditioned space, if possible. Powder makes up about 78-86% of the final weight, which means that hot powder will lead to a short working time, even if it is mixed with cool water.
- When possible, plan your job to avoid the hottest part of the day, ideally starting early in the morning. Minimize sun exposure by planning your work. If an area cannot be shaded, try to complete the installation during the coolest part of the day. Use shades to cover the installation as much as possible.
- Be aware of your water temperature. If necessary, add ice to the water to cool it. Cool water and cool powder can greatly extend your working time in hot conditions.
- If reusing buckets, be sure to clean any residual product out of them before starting your mix. Cross-contaminating your grout with other cement based products can shorten the working time.
- Always add the grout to the water before mixing with a low speed drill. TEC® recommends a low speed (300-350 RPM) drill for grout and mortar installations. Allow the grout to slake before remixing. Be careful to not over mix the grout.
- Mixing at the high end of the water amount will extend pot life. Be sure not to exceed the maximum.
- Pre-moisten the tile before grouting. This will help keep them cool and will extend your working time. Do not install grout on tile that is hot to the touch.
- It is critical to work in small areas to ensure easy clean up. Be sure to use the grout float to remove as much excess grout as possible from the surface of the tile as you go.
- If the grout begins to set up it can be gently remixed to a groutable consistency. Do not add additional water.
- Start the clean-up procedure as soon as your finger comes away with no transfer after lightly tapping the grout joint. In hot weather, the time it takes for the grout to firm up in the joint can be drastically shortened, and it is important to check the grout’s readiness for clean-up earlier. Be sure no haze remains on the tile after clean-up.