Grout is meant to keep out moisture, and it give the area a more finished look. However, people don’t pay much attention to grout until something goes wrong. It can stain, crack, and even fall out. But grout plays an important role. Not only does it fill in the gaps between each tile, but it also serves as a bond that can make your wall or floor stronger.
There are two main types of cement-based grout:
- Sanded Grout – Has a very fine sand, which is better for wider spaces and larger tile.
- Unsanded Grout – Has a series of polymers instead of sand, which makes it better for thinner grout lines. It’s also better for vertical surfaces like bathroom walls and kitchen backsplashes.
Sanded grout will be your choice for most applications. Not only is it cheaper and more widely available, but it can also come in a variety of colors. However, unsanded grout might be a better choice for tile that can be easily scratched.
There are some situations where tile is exposed to harsher substances like acids and grease. And in this case, a cement-based grout won’t be enough. An epoxy grout will be a better choice, because it’s more resistant to those substances. It’s made up of two parts (a resin and a hardener), and it comes in both sanded and unsanded form. Early epoxies were hard to apply because they cured fast and were hard to clean, but the detergents being used in more recent epoxies have made it easier for tile setters.
Epoxy grout can cause discoloration in tiles that have more porous surfaces (such as unglazed quarry and limestone tile), so they should be sealed before the grout is applied. And because of its resistance to stains, it’s the best option for kitchen counters, backsplashes, and floors. Epoxy grout is expensive, but there’s a positive to the higher price. Cement grout has a one-year shelf life, but epoxies can last forever.
Choosing the Right Grout Color
There are three main approaches to choosing the right grout color:
- Contrasting – A clear difference in the color of both the tile and the grout (such as a black tile with a white grout).
- Harmonizing – A blend of colors between the tile and the grout.
- Neutral – Choosing a shade of gray or white in the grout.
The best choice will depend on your specific situation, so be sure to speak to a professional for more information.
Choosing the right type of grout is as important as choosing the right tile, because it plays a more important role than many people think. Grout is more than just a decorative feature. It’s also part of the tile’s overall structure. And while cement-based grout is good for most applications, you may need to use something else. Be sure to speak to a professional so you can make the right choice.