Author Archives: Kit Stansley

Kit Stansley

About Kit Stansley

Kit Stansley writes about serious DIY, the love of tools, and what it's like to live in a garage while building a house in her spare time at DIYDiva.net.

Three Ways to Find a Wall Stud (Without Fancy Equipment)

How to Find a Wall Stud - Diagram

Photo: Kit Stansley

We’ve all been there, right? “Oh, I just need to find a stud to hang this picture.” And fifteen holes later, you’re convinced the wall is held up by pixie dust and a wish, because apparently there’s no wood behind it.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I will jump at any opportunity to buy a new tool—like I need to hang a picture, I have a bee sting, or it’s Tuesday. Really, it doesn’t take much. But I have a rule about only buying tools that really work and I happen to think of stud finders the same way I do ghost detectors… exciting for the five seconds that they are beeping and a total let down after that.

Related: Get Hooked: 10 Favorite Wall Storage Ideas

After months of framing the big addition to my current house, I now have a good enough understanding of the structure of a wall to help me find studs whenever I need to.

Things You Should Know About Walls

• Studs exist to hold up drywall on interior walls and wood sheathing on exterior walls. This means you will always find a stud, header, or footer on the top, bottom, or corners of walls.

• Typical stud spacing is 16″ on center and even on older houses is rarely greater than 24″ on center.

• Most electrical boxes for switches or outlets are attached to a stud on one side.

• There are studs on either side of a window.

• Most trim (crown molding, base board, and shoe molding) is nailed on the stud.

• The actual lumber dimensions of 2×4 studs are 1.5″ by 3.5″.

Keeping these points in mind, here are the ways I’ve been most successful at finding studs:

1. Look at the Trim
Since the baseboard is attached to the studs, look to see if you can spot where it might have been nailed. These holes—dimples—are generally filled with caulk and painted, but you may be able to spot one to identify the whereabouts of a stud. If you find one, measure in 16″ increments to locate the additional studs.

2. Use the Switch
If I don’t have any luck checking out the trim I look for switches or outlets, knowing that at least one side of an electrical box will be mounted on a stud. Now, I’m not great at doing the “knock test” on the wall, but I can usually detect from tapping which side of the outlet bears the stud support. I then measure about 3/4″ away from the outlet on the stud side and use that as my starting point to determine the 16″ intervals.

3. Measure from the Corner
With studs generally 16″ on center, you can also do calculations by measuring from a corner of the room. Now, all rooms aren’t built in numbers divisible by 16″ so you are likely to have a stud that is less than 16″ from one corner. Try the “knock test” near the corner to see if you can determine where the shorter stud-spacing might have been added. This only really works if you’re measuring a corner off the exterior of the house, which is why it is my least favorite. But it’s worth a shot before you go crazy with the test holes.

Builder Tip: if you’re in the position of building your own house or have torn the drywall off some walls for a remodel, I strongly suggest taking pictures of the walls before closing everything up. I took interior shots of every wall in my house before the drywall went up and I reference them all the time when looking for studs.

If all else fails, consider…

How to Find a Wall Stud - Sensor

Stanley Tools IntelliSensor Pro Stud Finder

For more on walls, consider:

Drywall 101
Bob Vila Radio: Metal Studs
5 Must-Remember Picture Hanging Tips


How To: Install a Dimmer Switch

How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Photo: Kit Stansley

I like mood lighting as much as anyone, particularly first thing in the morning when the full blast of light from a 100 watt bulb makes me scream like a vampire at high noon. Could be that I’m just not a morning person. Regardless, I like to be able to adjust the brightness in a room, and installing a dimmer switch is a pretty easy way to get control over your lighting.

GETTING STARTED
Before you go around ripping switches out of the wall, there are a couple of things you should know about wiring and dimmer switches:

- Not all dimmer switches are compatible with Compact Fluorescent Lights.  If you have CFL bulbs you will need to go with one of the newer varieties, like those from Lutron.

- Check to see if the switch you want to replace is a single pole (one switch) or three-way (can be turned on/off from multiple locations) switch—that too will determine the type of dimmer you need.

- Some dimmer switches use resistors so you’re paying for the electricity even though you’re seeing less light. Newer dimmer switches will actually conserve energy when you’re not lighting the bulb at full capacity.

What You’ll Need
Your basic electrical tools will do for this job.
- Wire strippers
- Screwdriver
- Voltage detector (not strictly necessary but highly recommended)
- Dimmer switch (I prefer the kind that are the same size as a regular toggle switch
- Flashlight (if you’re working at night or in an area without natural light)

How to Install a Dimmer Switch - Tools and Materials

Photo: Kit Stansley

(Does that floor look familiar?)

INSTALLATION

Step 1: Power Down
Not at the switch—at the breaker. This is always at least a three-trip ordeal for me… down to the basement, flip the breaker, up to test the switch, over and over again. However, it beats sticking your hand into a live circuit any day. I always use a voltage detector before touching any wires.

How to Install a Dimmer Switch - Voltage Detector

Photo: Kit Stansley

Step 2: Out With The Old
Once everything is shut off, unscrew the old switch and pull everything out so you can get a good look at it. For a toggle switch like this, the wires are more than likely wrapped around the connector screws. Either loosen the screws or use the wire strippers to snip the ends off and remove the old switch.

Step 3: Install the Dimmer
To install the dimmer, read the instructions to make sure you’re clear on what wires go where and which is the top and which is the bottom. As always, green denotes the ground or copper wire. Unlike installing a light fixture, both wires going to the dimmer will be black and usually can be placed on either gold screw. There shouldn’t be any silver screws.

How to Install a Dimmer Switch - Out with Old

Photo: Kit Stansley

If the switch can be used for either a single-pole or three-way, there may be an extra screw so make sure to look at the wiring diagram. (In this case it was covered by tape so it was very clear which was the “extra” connection.)

Note: On this dimmer’s directions it said you could just insert the wire straight under the screw, rather than loop it around, and tighten the connection. But an electrician friend of mine says he always loops the wire if possible, as he’s seen too many cases where the wire pulls loose. So looping it is!

To connect the wires, strip 3/4″ of casing off the end, loop it into a U shape, hook it around the screw, and then pinch the ends together before tightening the screw down.

How to Install a Dimmer Switch - Putting It Together

Photo: Kit Stansley

Step 4: Putting It Back Together
Once the wires are attached, you will want to re-fasten the switch to the electrical box with two screws top and bottom, and then re-attach the switch plate.

How to Install a Dimmer Switch - Complete

Photo: Kit Stansley

Turn the breaker back on, and there you have it… ultimate control over the brightness in one small section of the universe!

For more on lighting and saving energy, consider:

Light Bulbs—The Shape of Things to Come
Quick Tip: Solar Hot Water Systems Save Money 
Creating a Zero Energy Home


How To: Install a Light Fixture

Since my current residence is only half finished, there are a lot of fixture-less light boxes in the ceilings—which means I am tripping over tools in the middle of the night more often than I care to admit.

Electrical DIY projects are not a favorite of mine; probably a result of being shocked as a child by the current from a cut phone line (or perhaps the innate fear of sudden death by electrocution). But for simple electrical work around the house, a little knowledge and the right tools can make the work slightly less intimidating and—more importantly—less shocking.

GETTING STARTED

Here are a couple of things you should know about electricity and residential wiring before you get started.

- All electric power is fed through the meter to your breaker panel. If you shut something off at the panel there is no power to the wires or boxes in the house.
- Shutting something off at the switch does not necessarily mean that there is no power to the wires in the electrical box.
- When looking at wires, black or red is the current, white is neutral, and green or copper is ground.
- Don’t stick a bobby pin into an electrical outlet, even if your cousin dares you to.

What You’ll Need

How to Install a Light Fixture - Tools and Materials

Photo: Kit Stansley

To replace or install a light fixture, here’s what you’ll need:
- Voltage detector (not strictly necessary but highly recommended)
- Wire strippers
- Screwdriver
- Light fixture (a simple pull chain fixture is pictured but most fixtures install the same way)
- Work light/flashlight if working in an area without natural light
- Wire nuts (depending on your fixture)

INSTALLATION

Step 1: Shut off power
For some fixtures you can simply shut the power off at the switch, but I recommend always shutting power off at the breaker. If you’re lucky, the breakers on your electrical panel will be labeled. If not it’s a bit of a guessing game, shutting off breakers and then using the voltage detector to make sure the area you’re going to be working in isn’t “hot.” (The voltage detector will beep and light up when a current is present.) I always power down my computer before randomly flipping off breakers … just in case.

Step 2: Connect wires
A standard box for a light fixture will have three wires, a white (neutral), black (current), and copper (ground.)

How to Install a Light Fixture - Connect Wires

Photo: Kit Stansley

A permanent fixture may have a plate that will be connected to the two screw holes on either side of the box, and I find it’s easier to have that done before connecting the wires (particularly on a heavy fixture that will need to be supported while wires are being connected.)

Wires may be connected to the fixture in different ways. In this case, the wires are wrapped around screws to make a connection. There may also be wires (of corresponding colors) in the fixture that would be connected to the ceiling wires with wire nuts.

In either case, use the wire stripper to remove 3/4″ of wire sheathing. To attach to screw connections, bend the wire into a U-shape, wrap around the screw, then crimp the wire closed and tighten the screw.  (White wire to silver screw, black wire to gold screw, ground to green screw.)

How to Install a Light Fixture - Wires to Screws

Photo: Kit Stansley

To attach wires to wires, twist like-colored wires together and then twist a wire nut over them.

Step 3: Attach fixture to box
This simple pull-chain fixture was attached with two screws that go directly into the box, but you may also have just one screw directly on to the mounting plate. Once the fixture is mounted, install a light bulb, turn the breaker back on, and let there be light.

How to Install a Light Fixture - Complete

Photo: Kit Stansley

For more on home electrical, consider:

The Electrical Rough-In
Electricity in the Modern Home
Installing Electrical Wiring in an Old Home


How To: Install a Sink Disposal

How to Install a Sink Disposal

Photo: Kit Stansley

Depending on what part of the world you’re from you may have heard sink disposals referred to as “garbage disposals,” “food waste disposers,” or, if you’re really proper, a “sink waste disposal unit.” Whatever you call it, switching one out or installing a new one is a fairly simple task.

GETTING STARTED

There are essentially four connection points for a sink disposal:
- Where the disposal connects to the sink, under the drain
- Where the drain line connects to the disposal to remove water/waste
- Where the disposal connects to power
- Optionally, where the dishwasher connects to the disposal

The most important things to know are how the disposal gets power (either through a plug or direct connection) and whether or not you need a dishwasher line connected to the disposal.

What You’ll Need
- Disposal unit
- Possible outlet connection kit if the disposal needs to be plugged into an outlet
- Screwdriver(s)–Flat and Phillips
- Hammer
- Plumber’s putty/putty knife
- One “self-service wrenchette” (Included with disposal, and no, I’m not making this up.)

How to Install a Sink Disposal - Wrenchette

Photo: Kit Stansley

I think this “wrenchette” answers the age old question of whether or not tool manufacturers have a sense of humor!

INSTALLATION

Step 1: Wiring for power

How to Install a Sink Disposal - Disassembled Unit

Photo: Kit Stansley

To prep your unit for installation, you may have to attach a cord with a plug to reach the outlet, or extension wires to reach a hardwired box. In this case, I attached a cord with a plug kit that I bought separately from the disposal unit. It’s as simple as feeding the wires from the cord through the disposal and attaching them to the matching colors on the unit with wire nuts.

How to Install a Sink Disposal - Wiring

Photo: Kit Stansley

If you have to hardwire the unit, wait until it’s installed under the sink. Note: It’s probably a good idea to shut off power at the breaker now, so as to avoid forgetting to shut it off later. If there’s anything worse than being shocked by a live wire, it’s being shocked by a live wire while under a sink.

If there’s an existing disposal, use the handy self-service wrenchette to disengage the old unit from the bottom of the sink. It will fit in the holes on bottom piece of the bracket. Twist the bottom piece clockwise while supporting the bottom to get it free.

Step 2: Dishwasher Punch Out Option
This is not something you do with a misbehaving machine, but it’s a very crucial step if you have a dishwasher and you want it to work. If you don’t have a dishwasher you can skip directly to Step 3. For everyone else, there’s a little plug inside the dishwasher connection which needs to be punched out with a screwdriver and hammer. Again, only do this if you are attaching a line from a dishwasher at the time of installation.

Step 3: Installing the Drain
If there was an existing disposal attached to the sink already, it’s likely that the new unit will fit the existing bracket. If not—or if there is no disposal currently in place—start by removing the old drain. Most drains are attached to the sink by a large nut underneath the sink that can be turned counter-clockwise to loosen.

Installing the new drain is a simple matter: First, create a snake out of plumber’s putty and circle the drain from the top, like this:

How to Install a Sink Disposal - Plumbers Putty

Photo: Kit Stansley

Then install the top half of the drain from the top, and screw the nut and mounting bracket on from underneath. Make sure to remove any excess plumber’s putty using a putty knife.

Step 4: Installing New Unit
Position the unit so the existing pipes/hoses line up, and then use your self-service wrenchette to move the bottom piece of the mounting bracket counter-clockwise until tight.

Then attach the waste pipe (and dishwasher hose, if applicable).  If your unit is outlet-ready—pay attention to this part—make sure your disposal switch is in the “off” position before you plug the new unit in. While it’s unlikely that having a disposal start up while your head is pressed against it will lead to decapitation, it may scare a couple of years off your life. Not that I would know from experience.

If you need to hardwire the unit, make sure the power is off to the box (I recommend shutting it off at the breaker) and then attach the wires to the corresponding color using wire nuts.

Once the unit is plugged or wired in, turn the breaker back on, run the water and have fun chopping food waste to bits!

For more on kitchen and bathroom plumbing, consider:

How To: Fix a Clogged Drain
Green Homes: Water-Efficient Plumbing Fixtures
Installing a Basement Half-Bathroom


How To: Install a Faucet

How to Install a Faucet

Photo: Kit Stansley

Changing or installing a new faucet is a fairly simple home improvement task, even if it does require contorting your body into a pretzel-like shape under the sink temporarily.  If you can avoid needing to be hoisted out from under the cabinet and being put into traction (I recommend stretching first) this type of project should take less than an hour.

GETTING STARTED

All sinks consist of the same basic parts:
-  Hot and cold water lines underneath the sink, usually with shut-off knobs located on each
-  Drain pipe
-  Sink basin (with anywhere from 1-4 holes–important to note when purchasing a new or replacement faucet)
Faucet

If you have to remove an existing faucet, it’s always a good idea to assess the situation before you start. If the sink and faucet are old or rusted it may take more time and tools to remove it.  (I always like to keep a sledgehammer nearby. You know, just in case!)

What you will need:
-  Faucet (to fit number of holes in sink) and accompanying parts
-  Teflon tape
-  Plumber’s putty
-  Wrench (a basin wrench works best for those tight spaces)

Most faucets are attached to the sink by a plastic nut—or a metal one in older models. There are also faucets that mount with bolts on the top, but more than likely you will need to wedge yourself inside the cabinet under the sink to accomplish this project.

How to Install a Faucet - New

Photo: Kit Stansley

To remove an old faucet, shut the water off at the pipes under the sink or at the main shut-off to the house. Then remove the water connections and the nuts securing the faucet to the sink.

INSTALLATION

Step 1: Adding the Gasket
Before the faucet is attached, there should be a seal between the faucet and the sink. Some faucets come with a plastic or rubber gasket. If not, you can make a snake from plumbers putty (just like you did with Play-doh as a kid), and put it on the sink where the faucet will sit.

Step 2: Positioning the Faucet to Sink
Attaching the faucet to the sink is pretty easy. Just set the faucet into the proper holes (once the gasket or putty is in place), position yourself under the sink, and screw on the plastic nut. If you’ve used plumbers putty you can clear away the excess with a spackling knife or use a finger.

Step 3: Connecting to Water Lines
Some faucets (Delta Faucet brand, for example) come with flexible PEX lines connected to the faucet already, which makes this step much easier as the hoses just need to be connected down at the water lines. For other types of faucets, you’ll need to attach flexible piping (available at hardware and plumbing supply stores, lumber yards, and home improvement centers) at your line and then to the faucet.

How to Install a Faucet - Connecting Water Line

Photo: Kit Stansley

When attaching water lines, wrap a bit of Teflon tape around the threads to give everything a tight seal.

If you do have to attach the water lines to the faucet behind the sink basin near the top of the cabinet, it will be well worth your while to use a basin wrench. Or you can struggle through with a regular wrench. I did it and it works, but there’s always the off chance your fingers go numb and you drop a wrench on your head. Not that I would know first hand . . .

Once this step is complete you can turn the water back on, check for any leaks, and enjoy having running water in your sink!

How to Install a Faucet - Complete

Photo: Kit Stansley

For more on kitchen and bath projects, consider:

Green Bathroom Makeover
Quick Tip: Budget Kitchen Remodeling
Bathroom Trends


How To: Finish Drywall Joints

How to Finish Drywall Joints

Photo: Kit Stansley

Most of the time finishing drywall joints isn’t one of those jobs that has people jumping up and down with excitement. Even with a decent amount of drywall experience under my belt, when faced with the 2000 square feet of unfinished drywall in my current house, all I could picture was a lot of sanding in my future. Like, for all of eternity. Luckily I had a great mentor to teach me some of the tricks of the trade, and in no time my joints required very little sanding for a perfectly smooth wall.

GETTING STARTED

Before you can finish drywall joints you need to have actual wallboard in place. You can learn how to install drywall here. The thing to keep in mind is that a sheet of drywall has slightly beveled ends which make finishing joints much easier. When hanging the boards it will be tempting to use small scraps to finish things off, but you’ll be hurting yourself in the long run.  Always try to use the factory edges to create your joints.

Now, let’s talk mud.

What You Will Need
Now, I never turn down a good excuse to add to my tool collection, but this is one instance where having the right tools will mean the difference between a good drywall joint and losing your sanity over a sanding block.
- Mud pan
- 6″ drywall knife
- 10″ drywall knife
- Drywall tape
- Lightweight joint compound
- Sanding block

How to Finish Drywall Seam - Mud Pan

Photo: Kit Stansley

Now, let’s talk mud.

INSTALLATION

Step 1: Mixing Joint Compound
Joint compound comes in two forms: ready-mixed and powder. You can use either, but I prefer the ready-mixed variety for convenience. You will need to stir the compound to loosen it up and make it easier to work with. You can do this with a mixer attachment to the drill or use the drywall knife (and some elbow grease). A little bit of water at the ready will also help get the mud to an easy-to-work-with consistency, loose enough to spread on the wall without running.

How to Finish Drywall Joints - Mixing Compound

Photo: Kit Stansley

Step 2: Taping The Joints
You can use paper or mesh tape to finish the joints. Mesh tape is usually self adhesive and can go right on the joints.  For paper, you will need to apply a thin coat of mud to the joint, apply the tape, and press into place with the drywall knife.  It’s a good idea to let paper tape dry overnight before finishing off the seam.  Mesh tape can be finished immediately after installing.

Step 3: The Three Swipe Method
I’ve always been pretty conservative with how much mud I put on the seam, because like everyone else in the universe, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life sanding it down. However, getting enough joint compound on the wall is key. This is how much should go on the seam to start.  

How to Finish Drywall Joints - Three Swipe Method

Photo: Kit Stansley

I know, I know, even seeing that much mud on a seam in a picture gives me sanding anxiety too. However, the three swipe method is all about putting a lot of mud on to start and then taking away the extra.

First, “feather” the top edge of mud by holding just the top edge of the knife tight to the wall and drawing it smoothly across the seam (Swipe 1).

How to Finish Drywall Joints - Swipe One

Photo: Kit Stansley

Then do the same to the bottom with the bottom edge of the knife (Swipe 2).

Finish it off by going over the whole joint with one smooth stroke while keeping the knife flat to the wall (Swipe 3).

How to Finish Drywall Joints - Swipe Three

Photo: Kit Stansley

The beveled edge of the drywall retains more mud in the middle of the seam than on the top or bottom. Between swipes, be sure to wipe both sides of the knife on the pan. Dried clumps of drywall are your enemy at this point.

Once the first coat is dry you’ll need to repeat the process, making the finished coverage about 12″ wide. You can use a sanding block to smooth away any imperfections between coats and after the final coat.

As with anything, experimentation and practice will help you perfect the technique of finishing drywall joints. But, follow my three-swipe method and you too can have smooth joints without losing your sanity to sanding.

To find out more about drywall installation and finishing, consider:

How To: Choose Drywall
Installing Mold-Resistant Drywall
Patching Damaged Drywall (VIDEO)


How To: Install Door Hardware

How to Install Door Hardware

Photo: Kit Stansley

As a person who has recently upgraded from living in a garage to living in a half-constructed house, the novelty of having multiple doors to open and close on a whim cannot be overstated. Over the last several weeks, I’ve gotten used to the convenience of hooking a finger through the empty hole to swing the door open and closed. On the plus side, there’s no knob to turn or lever to push, and you can always see when the bathroom is occupied by peering through the open hole. (Listen, when you spend a year living in 400 square feet with another human being and a cat, privacy becomes a moot point.)

GETTING STARTED

Here’s what basic cylindrical interior door hardware looks like.

How to Install Door Hardware - Getting Started

It consists of a latch assembly, a handle attached to the cylinder, a second handle and face plate.

What You Will Need
Installing an interior door handle is a pretty easy task and doesn’t require any fancy tools.  Here’s all you will need:

- Door handle hardware and accompanying screws
- Screwdriver and/or drill (if you’re impatient)
- Chisel (optional)

INSTALLATION

1. Installing the Latch Assembly. The only trick here is to make sure the beveled side of the latch faces the jamb so that it pushes the latch back when you close the door. If you do this backwards, you’ll have to turn the handle to get the door closed each time.

How to Install Door Hardware - Latch Assembly

Photo: Kit Stansley

Most doors come with space removed to accommodate the face plate. If not, you may need to trace the size of the plate onto the door (making sure it’s centered and level) and then remove some of the wood with a chisel so the face plate sits flush.  Once the latch assembly is in place, wait until the rest of the handle is installed to screw the face plate in place.

2. Installing the Handles. With the latch assembly in place, slide the door handle with the attached cylinder into place.  It must line-up with the holes in the latch assembly to function properly.  When in place, position the opposite handle to secure the connection.  The handles can now be fastened with two screws; generally located on the “locking” side of the door. With lever style handles, like these, you may need to “swap handles” so that they are facing the correct direction. Most models can be released with a small button on the base of the handle.

3. Fastening the Face Plate. Bringing our exciting adventure in door hardware installation to a close, just a few screws into the face place, and voila! Securely closed doors and no more peeping toms.

How to Install Door Hardware - Face Plate

Photo: Kit Stansley

For more on doors, consider:

How to Install a New Door
Hanging Old Doors and Installing New Door Trim
Installing Restored Brass Hardware


How To: Grout Tile

How to Grout Tile - Bag

Photo: recoore.com

Maybe I’m the only person (at least over the age of three) who gets a kick out of making a mess, but I would still argue that grouting is the best part of a tiling job—and not just because you get to smear mud all over everything. Grouting is when everything starts to come together and your project stops looking like a collection of individual tiles and starts looking like a finished floor (or wall, or counter).

If you have an existing tile surface that needs re-grouting, you will need to remove the old grout compound. A grout saw or grout removal bit for a rotary tool like a Dremel are good options. If you’re tiling a new surface, make sure all tiles are fully set before grouting.

There are different types of grout for different applications. Traditionally grout comes in “sanded” and “non-sanded” varieties; the latter being best suited for tile spaces less than 1/8″ wide. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re talking about the mix-it-yourself sanded grout.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Two buckets (one for mixing grout, one filled with clean water)
- Grout sponge
- Grout float (specially designed grout-smoothing tool)
- Grout
- Water
- Putty knife, stirring stick, or mixer attachment for drill

Step 1. Mixing the Grout
When mixing grout, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but here are a few additional tips. Pour about 3/4 of the recommended amount of water in the bucket and then add the grout. Once mixed, add the remaining water to achieve the desired consistency, which should look something like this. I find that working in smaller batches and hand mixing is best.

How to Grout Tile - Mix

Photo: Kit Stansley

Step 2. Using a Float
Press the grout into the spaces between tiles by first moving the float across the spaces at a diagonal to make sure the grout line is filled.

How to Grout Tile - Float

Photo: Kit Stansley

Then do a second swipe over the top to clean off the excess.

How to Grout Tile - Swipe

Photo: Kit Stansley

Step 3. Removing the Excess
You now have a floor full of mud, but you know that fun can’t last forever. After the grout sets for 15-30 minutes (you may have to work in sections if you have a large area to cover) wipe up the excess grout with water and sponge. Wait three hours and do it again, this time making sure there isn’t excess grout on the tile or outside of the grout line. Also, change the water as often as necessary to keep things pretty clean.

How to Grout Tile - Wiping Clean

Photo: Kit Stansley

Step 4. Wiping the Floor Clean
No matter how good you are with a sponge, once everything is dry (usually overnight) there will still be a grout haze on the floor. You’ll be tempted to use a wet cloth to wipe it off, but if you do that you’ll find yourself in a vicious grout-wiping cycle. A better idea is to use a dry towel, or perhaps your significant others sock (not that I would ever do that) to rub off any haze. The dust can then be swept up.

How to Grout Tile - Complete

Photo: Kit Stansley

And it’s that easy. After everything dries I would recommend a good grout sealer.

For more on tile, consider:

How To: Work With Mosaic Tile
Using Glass Tile for a Handcrafted Look
Installing Tumbled Marble in the Bathroom