We've been in the middle of a complete kitchen remodel for two months now. We're doing it all ourselves! Well, really just my husband since I'm out of commission since a surgery went bad three months ago (*sigh*). We brought the entire room down to studs (and even had to replace a few of those since my house is 110 years old!). The chimney stack is in the kitchen (no fireplace and the kitchen is only 10 X 12), I was hoping when we pulled off the *plywood* that was over it and painted and wallpapered how many times, that we would find red brick - no luck - just concrete. So, we tiled over it with 12 X 12 sheets of 2 x 2 tumbled marble squares. It looks great. Now my problem is this: I've read a few ideas on how to grout it without getting grout in all the little crevices and holes that give the stone its character - some say to seal it first and then grout and then seal again after cleaning. But to me that defeats the purpose of sealing since it would be a light 1st coat in order to not penetrate the grout lines (otherwise the grout would not stick), and then when you put the second coat on, it would not fully penetrate the stone to give it the water proof sealing it needs because the first coat would not allow it in. Ok, so others say to using painters tape and put a piece on each and every stone that I want to protect from getting "filled", then grout normally.
I was wondering if anyone had experience with grouting tumbled marble and can tell me what you did.
We had good luck on a similar project using Aqua Mix Grout Release. You can google it to find out more. We chose this because we were afraid of getting product between the tiles so the grout wouldn't stick where we wanted it to. This is water soluable so you don't have to worry about that.
Okay, so I am very late on this, but we just put in the exact same type of tile (in the same size). We considered both ways, but finally just ended up filling in the holes with grout. Ours is in the kitchen and everyone said you can fill it with grout or it will fill in itself with dust, grease, etc. Anyway, I will tell you that it changed the look, but it still has the character (just a little more subdued) because the grout is not the exact same color and texture as the stone. Also, if some of the areas were a little thin on the grout in the center of the stones, I just left it.
Again, I am sure that you have already grouted your tile, but maybe some one else will have a similar question will find it helpful. Also, I would be interested in knowing how you handled yours for future reference.
I remodel Kitchens for a living and the only way to keep the texture of the tumbled look is to tape the face of every tile and leave the grooves between the tile for the grout to fall. Grout release products are only going to clean the surfaces of the tile. Good Luck.