Clinker brick grouting (also called pointing) is nothing but filling the spaces between bricks or tiles with cement grout. There are several techniques for grouting clinker brickwork selected according to the type of brick so that the whole process is carried out efficiently and produces the desired effect.
Remember that the grout joint, which often constitutes even 30% of the wall surface, determines the final visual effect of the whole façade. A well-chosen and well-made joint can make even the least attractive wall look nice, while incorrect grouting leads to a completely opposite result.
Grouting clinker brickwork. Dry or wet?
There are several methods of grouting clinker brickwork, distinguished based on the consistency of grout used and the tools required for that purpose.
1/ Grouting by spreading the grout on the face of the wall, also slurry grouting or “wet” grouting. We do not recommend this method.
This type of grouting consists in spreading plastic grout with a rubber float on the face of the wall in such a way as to fill the spaces between clinker bricks or tiles tightly. This method allows to fill the gaps very quickly and produces a tight smooth joint aligned with the face of a clinker brick or tile. However, this method can only be applied to one type of clinker products – glazed bricks and tiles. This grouting method applied to other types of clinker products requires repeated washing of these products to remove cement milk, which is difficult.
In the case of absorbent substrates such as brick or handmade ceramic tiles, it is even impossible.
2/ Grouting clinker brick by filling the joints with a grout application bag
In this method the plastic grout is pressed into the spaces between bricks/tiles with a grout application bag or a grout application gun. After that, the pre-set mortar is shaped as required (flush with the wall surface or lower than the wall face). This method is mostly used for irregularly shaped products, therefore it is usually applied for natural stone cladding.
3/ Semi-dry grouting of clinker brick and tiles with grout of wet soil consistency.
The most frequently used and, at the same time, the most recommended method of grouting clinker bricks and tiles consists in filling the spaces between them with grout of wet soil consistency (wet enough to stay compact when squeezed in your hand, but dry enough not to get your hands dirty or leak between your fingers).
Semi-dry grouting is performed with a tool called jointer and the procedure itself consists in scraping grout from a metal tray and pressing it into the spaces between bricks or tiles. This method controls the filling of the joints with grout and, consequently, makes it easier to achieve various aesthetic effects. It is the cleanest grouting method.
Clinker brick grouting methods and materials
To prepare grout, you will need a grout container, a stirrer, and a measuring cup to measure the right amount of water. To apply grout on a brickwork you need a grout tray, a paintbrush or a bristle brush to remove remaining grout off the wall, and two jointers: a long one for filling horizontal joints and a short one for filling vertical joints.
Grouting clinker bricks and tiles – Useful tips
Jointing is not difficult but requires consistency, accuracy and keeping the work area clean. One of the most important things is to prepare the grout by following manufacturer’s instructions.
To achieve a satisfactory final result it is critical to follow essential recommendations such as the amount of dosed water, time to apply the grout or even the shelf life. To make grout characteristics consistent, and especially to make the colour repeatable, it is essential to add an equal dose of water to every single portion of the grout.
Working conditions should be as neutral as possible. Avoid working in direct sunlight, rain or frost, and pay attention to the temperature of the substrate – it cannot be frozen or too hot.
During work breaks or when the grouting is completed, the wall should be covered with a freely hanging veil of foil to protect it against rain or snow and from washing out the fresh grout from joints.
If in the course of works the face of the wall cladded with smooth-faced bricks or tiles is stained with grout, then remove the stain immediately using wet cloth. If the same happens to the wall made of porous bricks or tiles, leave the grout stain to set. You can easily notice that handmade products leave sand trace – it is not a coincidence. A layer of sand is intentionally left on the face of bricks and tiles so that any possible contamination can be removed together with the layer of sand. It is done at the end of the pointing process – after the grout is set the whole façade should be brushed in order to remove this protective layer of sand together with potential dirt and grout residues.