Grout-Space Raking Tool
Modified tool removes thinset and makes for better tile joints.
Today I was tiling a floor and pondering why I always have a problem with some of the thinset squeezing up into the grout space or getting on the sides of the tile. This is not only poor cosmetics, but it makes for a weaker grout joint. So I took one of my brick-joint raking tools and converted it into a grout-space rake. First, I wrapped the metal wheels of the raking tool with duct tape to protect the tile surface, and then ground the point off of a hardened, round-fluted masonry nail. I inserted the nail and set it to the depth of the tile grout joint. Not only will it rake out all of the thinset down to the substrate, but the
sides of the nail are like a hard file that will clean the edges of the tile off too.
You have to wait a few hours until the thinset has firmed up enough to be able to get out on the tile. Then just run the rake tool through all of the joints to clean out the extra thinset, and vacuum the joints with a shop vac. You’ll end up with nice full-depth joint spaces and clean tile edges when you start to grout.
—Grant Litts, Norway, Mich.
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #283