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Grout 101

Choosing new tile for your kitchen and bathroom doesn’t stop at “square or hexagon, marbled or matte”–finding the right grout to pair with it is an essential part of the process. And while it’s one of the least exciting, most unsexy decisions you’ll make during a renovation, the type of grout you choose is so important! The grout will determine how the finished project will look, its longevity and durability. Here, we’ll explore the three main types of grout, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and some elements to consider when choosing your tile.

Types Grout

Epoxy

Material: Silica, resin, pigment, hardener

Appearance: Two parts–the base and activator

Pros: Waterproof, not porous, doesn’t need to be sealed, dries quicker than cement grouts, stain-resistant, durable

Cons: More expensive upfront, dries quickly 

When to use: Multipurpose, can be used in many areas, even wide seams, great for bathrooms and kitchens


Sanded

Material: Cement

Appearance: Gritty, large grains

Pros: Crack and shrink resistant

Cons: Porous 

When to use: For seams bigger than one eighth inch


Unsanded

Material: Cement

Appearance: No grit

Pros: Smooth

Cons: Porous, prone to cracking

When to use: In seams less than one eighth inch


Choosing the Right Grout

Not An Afterthought

Consider your grout at the same time you’re choosing tile. Choosing the two together helps you conceptualize the two as a unified pairing–the end result will look more intentional and clean.

Location is Everything

Think about where you’re placing your tile. Is it in a high traffic kitchen? Guest bathroom? Basement laundry room? Keeping the location in mind will help you more easily make the other choices.

Size Matters

As stated above, certain grout works better for certain seams. Be sure you choose a grout type that matches your seam size. 

Color

There are seemingly endless color options for grout and it’s important you choose a color that best complements your tile and your style. There are three avenues to take when it comes to choosing a grout color:

  1. Matching: A statement, but one that lets the tile color and texture shine. A more modern, fresh approach to the neutral color option.
  2. Contrasting: Also a statement, but one that pulls more attention to the grout itself. 
  3. Neutral: Probably the most common and safest option and often the most cost effective. 

Installation + Maintenance Tips

Slake It

When mixing grout, it’s important to let it set, or slake, for 10 to 15 minutes before remixing (and using) it. This allows the water you’ve added to completely soak through the dry grout. 


Spread It

But not too much! Heat, moisture, and humidity all affect how quickly grout sets. When spreading grout, work in small, manageable sections to ensure it remains pliable and easy to work with.


Fill It

Angle the groat floater at 45 degrees after you’ve gone over the same area a few times. The angle will help force grout into the joints. Once you’ve done this, you can then go back over the same area with the rounded side of the floater to make the joints look uniform and nicely shaped.


Clean It

After you’ve finished filling the joints, use a damp sponge to gently wipe away excess grout from both the joints themselves and the surrounding tile. 


Seal It

Using a non-porous grout sealant will help ensure your tile and grout remain unstained and looking like new. Sealant helps protect it from moisture, humidity, food, grease, dirt, and anything else that could wear away or stain the grout. If you’re using a more porous grout, re-seal your floors every couple of years. 


DIY + Inspiration

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