Grout colors and width both impact your tile look
Grout and tile go hand in hand, you can’t tile without grout. Yet the type of grout and the grout color you choose will change how your final tile installation looks, and how easy it is to maintain.
Grout is used to fill the space between each tile and provide support to the installation. It serves as the base and the “glue” to hold tile to the wall or floor and to seal the spaces between each tile. Grout color can blend with the color of your tile or contrast, depending on the look you want to achieve.
Choose the grout color for the look you want
Grout is available in many color choices and materials. Let’s start with color. If you use a grout color similar to the color of your tile, the grout lines will blend in and create a monochromatic look, especially if you have tile that’s all one color to start with. Think white subway tile for a back splash in the kitchen.
But if you use a contrasting grout color it accentuates the tile layout so you’ll see each individual tile more clearly. This may be what you want to achieve if you have an intricately shaped tile or a tile with a beautiful pattern that you want to stand out.
Grout materials, which do you choose?
Remember, grout lines are depressions in the tiled surface and can be difficult to clean, depending on the tile and the grout you choose. Fortunately there are easy-to-clean grout options.
We’ll cover three types of grout here: cement, urethane and epoxy. Each have advantages depending on your application.
We’ve used Laticrete Permacolor Grout as an example of cement grout.
Just as it sounds, cement grout is simply Portland cement and colorant, with or without silica sand added. Permacolor grout has been certified for Low Chemical Emissions under the UL GREENGUARD Certification Program for Chemical Emissions for Building Materials.
Cement grout stains more easily than other types of grout. Non-sanded cement grout is used for very narrow grout lines with tile surfaces that are easily scratched. Sanded grout is recommended for grout lines 1/8” and larger. Sanded grout has a rough surface that can get dirty over time, especially in wet areas like showers.
We recommend using a good quality grout sealer on both sanded and non-sanded grout to make it easier to clean and to prevent moisture from penetrating. Re-seal the grout when you notice that water no longer beads on the surface of the grout.
When used at the joint of a backsplash and countertop, it’s common for cement grout to crack. This is usually due to the movement of cabinets or house settling. Use a sanded caulk that matches the grout color at this joint to prevent cracked material.
Quartzlock2 is our example product for urethane grout.
Urethane grout is a new, improved grout type. Its main advantage is it doesn’t need sealing. This is a big improvement over the porous cement grout that requires sealing in food preparation and wet areas to prevent staining.
Urethane grout is water based, is water resistant after curing, and stain and crack resistant. The grout is premixed, which means the color is consistent from order to order. Cement grout colors are mixed on site—color can be affected by the water used or any impurities in the bucket it’s mixed in.
Urethane grout also has antimicrobial protection to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold or mildew on the surface. Thus it also resists stains caused by mold. And it’s UV stable so the colors will not yellow, darken or fade.
Laticrete Spectralock PRO Premium Grout information is used in our example.
High performance epoxy grouts work well for areas like high use showers, pools and other areas that demand stain proof, durable grout. Epoxy grouts comes in three parts: two liquids that form the epoxy and a dry, sandy powder used to color the grout. The three parts are mixed together on site. Then there’s a short working time to apply the grout to the tile grout lines. Epoxy grout is a sanded grout, so caution should be used when grouting any tile that scratches easily.
Epoxy grout can be mixed with Dazzle, Laticrete’s glittery component that makes the grout sparkle. It’s available in many colors and even has a glow in the dark option, really!
Grout maintenance, keep your grout clean and free from stains
For all of the above grout types use a neutral pH and or/mildly abrasive everyday household cleaner such as Soft Scrub, Comet, Ajax or electric dishwasher detergent for routine cleaning. Do not use undiluted bleach or other harsh cleaners.
Be careful, although it might be okay for the grout, don’t use Comet, Ajax or other gritty cleaners on tile that scratches easily. Test your cleaner on extra tile before using.
Grout questions? Tile ideas?
Stop in to our store and talk with your project consultant. We have lots of tile samples we can show you, and even more available by order. Bring your room ideas and the pictures that inspire you. Our experts will help you choose the right tile and grout to fit your living space, your ideas and your budget.