How to Determine the Type of Grout for Your Tile Projects
While grout is not the first thing you consider when taking on a tiling project, it can be just as important to your project’s final look and durability. And just like tile, there are different types of grout depending on many environmental factors. In essence, grout protects your tile edges, adds surface resistance, and helps prevent humidity and dirt from getting underneath the tile. So not only can color selection affect the overall aesthetics, but the type of grout can as well.
One might consider grout a mortar, but there are key differences. For starters, grout has a low viscosity and no lime. This makes it much thinner and easier to work with. In addition, while tile mortar is used to secure tiles to substructures, the grout helps fill the spaces in between.
Different Types of Grout
Grouting is a fundamental part of tiling, so what are the different grout types, and when do you use them? Here are the general types of grout that you can use for a variety of applications:
1. Sanded Grouts
This is the most famous for interior flooring installations; it is durable, handles foot traffic well, and is usable for large tile joints (the space between the tiles). However, ordinary sanded grout is very absorbent and attracts dirt. This is better used with a latex additive. Many new grouts will have polymers (latex) already added. Keep reading to learn about those.
2. Unsanded Grouts
Unsanded grout has a smooth texture and won’t easily scratch tile like highly polished stones (i.e., marble, honed stone). This grout can be used on walls, countertops, and bathtub enclosures because it clings to delicate surfaces.
Note: Both sanded and unsanded grout should be sealed. These porous grouts have tiny spaces or holes through which liquid, debris, and air can pass. Using a grout sealer helps prevent liquids and dirt from entering these types of grout. It also reduces stains and prolongs the tile surface’s life.
3. Polymer Modified Cement Grouts
Typically this grout is used for ceramic wall tiles, porcelain tiles, mosaics, vitrified tiles, and natural and engineered stones. It is a hybrid aggregate that is fine enough to go down to a 1/16″ joint and up to a 1/2″ grout joint. This ground also has good adhesion properties and strength. Polymer modified cement grout is more waterproof than your typical grout. This, in turn, makes it ideal for shower enclosures, swimming pools, and outside venues. It does not immediately require sealing, but one could always seal it later if desired.
4. Urethane Type Grouts
Urethane type grouts comprise of tiny glass balls suspended in a urethane or urethane-type solution. They are available in an array of colors that also include glittery options. This type of grout can be a beautiful complement to glass tiles and mosaics. The only drawback is they will take a bit longer to cure. However, once cured, it is a very strong and stain-resistant grout.
5. Epoxy Grouts
This grout type has three components (epoxy resin, hardener, and colorant) and is resistant to staining. This grout is most resilient in high-traffic interiors and exteriors. That includes living rooms, hallways, and kitchens. It also suits commercial spaces like malls, convenience stores, and hospitals.
Interestingly, epoxy grout doesn’t easily crumble, crack, or scratch your tiles. This grout is the most resistant to staining and the hardest grout. However, it is not widely used by many contractors because of the degree of installation difficulty. If you want epoxy grout, we recommend discussing it with your contractor to ensure they are on board with using it.
Get Grout And More At Atlas Marble & Tile
As you can see, grout comes in a variety of types. It also can come in different colors! If you aren’t sure where to start, visit us today. Atlas Marble & Tile has been operating since 1993 and has an expansive showroom and warehouse that includes over 40 colors of grout and caulk, plus setting materials for nearly any installation. And, of course, we stock a variety of porcelain, ceramic, marble, glass, and mosaic tiles. Come visit us, and our expert staff can help you make the right decisions on the tile, grout, and tool types needed for your tile project.