Sealing, Grouting, and Finishing Mexican Paver Tiles
Various treatments involving oils, impregnators, colorants and waxes can be used with Mexican paver tiles, but they must be sealed before grouting. After grouting, it is good practice to add at least one more coat of sealer, since the grouting process is comparable to sanding and will remove much of the luster of the first coat. A finish layer could be a coating of paste wax or a liquid-applied material.
Grouting Mexican Paver TilesBecause of the width of the joint required for Mexican paver tiles, and the varying nature of the color of the tiles, I normally use a natural cement-colored grout made with Portland cement, sand, and a latex additive. The preferred mix is one part Portland cement to two or three parts all-purpose sand. Finely graded sand, the kind used in regular-sanded grout, may cause some shrinkage in the wider joints. Coarse sand gives better results.
The powders and liquid are mixed together, allowed to slake for about ten minutes, remixed, and applied to the joints. Use the face of the trowel to compact the grout (photo 3), and the relatively sharp edge to remove excess grout from the face of the tile (photo 4).
FinishingFinal cleaning begins with a barely damp sponge and a bucket of clean water. Wring as much water as possible from the sponge, shake off any excess so that no water drips on the tiles, and gently scrub the surface of tiles until the grout residue is loosened (photo 5). Rinse the sponge frequently, as build-up on the sponge can rake grout out of the joints.
Once the grout is quite firm, and a faint grout haze has formed on the surface of the tiles, use the tip of a narrow tuck pointer to scrape out grout from the expansion joint slots (photo 7). The grout comes out rather crumbly and dry; remove it with the help of a vacuum. At the margins of the floor, use a tuck pointer or margin trowel to trim the edge of the grout surrounding the decorative spots. Any lingering haze is removed with a soft cloth. The grout is allowed to dry and harden undisturbed for 72 hours before the final coat of sealer is applied and the expansion joint is filled with flexible sealant.