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Let’s Talk About Grout!

Let’s talk about grout! While not the most exciting component of a tile installation, grout is an important piece of the big picture. Choosing the right grout for your project, budget, and performance requirements is essential. Let’s look at the different types of grout and when to use them.

Standard Cement Grout

Mia in Bone 5x5 Cross and Terracotta 6x6 Star
Mia in Bone 5×5 Cross and Terracotta 6×6 Star

Standard cement grout is the most common and most economical of all the grouts. It’s been around forever, and all installers are familiar with it. Installation is straightforward, and it’s easy to clean up after installing. The downside is this grout is porous and should be sealed with good quality sealer (which adds to the labor costs). And the sealer will likely need to be replaced every few years. Standard cement grout is a solid choice if you are on a budget, but it is best suited for areas that won’t get wet or soiled.

Within the standard cement group category, we have two types: sanded and non-sanded grout. Sanded grout is sand mixed with portland cement. The sand adds strength and helps to reduce joint shrinkage. Use sanded grout in joints 1/8” or greater. It’s appropriate for floors, unpolished porcelain tiles, and natural stone tile.  Use non-sanded grout when the joints are 1/8” or less or for tile that scratches easily, like glass, marble, metal, mosaic tile, and highly polished ceramic or porcelain.

High-Performance Cement Grout

GIO Pastel in Aqua 2.5 x10
Pastel in Aqua 2.5 x10

High-performance cent grout is what it sounds like — it’s a premium grout with higher performance because it is less porous and has more strength than standard grout. They are harder and denser, with better stain resistance, and are more consistent in color. They are more expensive than regular portland cement grouts, but with typical joint widths today between 1/8″ to 3/16″ (versus the 1/4″ average width used in the past), and with large formats more on-trend, the cost per square foot becomes less, making high-performance grouts only slightly more expensive.  Use high-performance cement grout on floors, walls, backsplashes, bar backs, countertops, shower enclosures, steam showers, and tub surrounds.

Ready-To-Use Grout

GIO Padana in Pearl 24x24
Padana in Pearl 24×24

Ready-to-use grout (RTU) from the pre-mixed grouts of yore into high-performance material that is faster to install, and in terms of stain and chemical resistance, this grout has been compared to epoxy grout. But unlike epoxy grout, RTU is much easier to install. There are different types of RTU grouts and are comprised of either a urethane, acrylic, or hybrid chemistry. RTUs are also a good choice if you want brightly colored grout.


Varenna in Bianca 24 x 48
Varenna in Bianca 24 x 48

Epoxy grouts meet or exceed industry standard, ANSI A118.3. Epoxy grout is considered the most durable and robust of all grouts and has superior stain and chemical resistance. Installation, however, is more challenging as epoxy grouts are generally two- or three-component mixtures that require special mixing and handling at the job site. Use epoxy grout for backsplashes, floors, high-traffic areas, and demanding commercial environments such as healthcare, commercial kitchens, restaurants, and schools.

Do you have grout questions? 

The tile pros at GIO are ready to answer all your questions about tile, grout, settings materials, and more.  Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!


GIO Tile in Real Life!

While professional room scenes are great for showcasing our tile collections attractively on our website’s product pages, and digital swatches can be a designer’s best friend, there’s nothing like the actual installation for seeing how a particular tile collection really stacks up. We’re always thrilled to get installation pics from our customers, and we post them all over social media again and again. But it dawned us recently that we’ve never done an installation round-up here on our blog. So without further ado, here are some of our favorite tile installations from over the years. Be sure to keep the installation pics coming; there’s nothing better than tile in real life!

CANVAS by GIO in Polygon Dark Mix makes for a eye-popping feature wall at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers in Atlanta. This chic commercial design is by Occupied Renovations.

GIO Canvas polygon dark mix on feature wall

GIO Canvas polygon dark mix on feature wall

GIO Canvas polygon dark mix on feature wall

MIDTOWN by GIO at the Home Meridian headquarters lobby floor in High Point, North Carolina, designed by Workplace Strategies.

Home Meridin-HQ-Lobby-with Midtown on floor

Meridin-HQ-Lobby-with Midtown

Another great installation of MIDTOWN at  Agility Fuel Systems’ new facility in Salisbury, North Carolina, designed by architect Steve Schmidt of  Merriman Schmitt Architects.

Restroom/Locker Room at Agility Fuel Systems, Salisbury NC

Locker Room at Agility Fuel Systems, Salisbury NC

An installation in the works of our MAXIMUS porcelain tile at Caldwell Memorial Hospital, designed by Clark Patterson Lee.


GIO maximus on wall


A stunning installation of both Canvas and Midtown at Wycliffe Golf & Country Club, designed by Atlanta Design Firm Larson Nichols.

Canvas Dark Mix Mosaic floor

Midtown in Bianco on floor

BRICK by GIO in 2×10 Bianco, HANDMADE in White Hex, and our Claystone 24×24 Anthracite at the very cool Ray’s on the River restaurant on the Chattahoochee River, Atlanta.

BRICK by GIO in 2x10 Bianco

HANDMADE in White Hex

Claystone 24x24 anthracite

This groovy retro style bath in a Printer’s Alley Nashville condo features our Freestyle wall tile in yellow. Designed by Kathy Anderson of Anderson Design Studio. The second bathroom image offers a glimpse of our patterned VINTAGE in Florentine.

GIO Freestyle at Printer's alley

GIO Vintage in Florentine at Printer's alley


Here are a couple of artsy installations of our three-dimensional ARTÉ.  The top image shows Arté in Colbat at the bar at Pin & Proper, an indoor gaming and entertainment venue in Atlanta, designed by Placemaker Design. The bottom photo features Arté in Bianco Matte.

ARTE in Colbalt


Arte Bianco matte


Our PAINTWOOD at The Reformation Brewery restroom in Woodstock, Georgia.

Paintwood wood look tile at Reformation Brewery


Paintwood at the Reformation Brewery


Installation of our SOHO in Light Grey in the reception area of the beautiful Viewpoint Midtown Atlanta condos, designed by Habachy Designs Inc.

Soho porcelain tile

When Focus Design Interiors, Inc. moved into their new space, they wanted their office to also serve as a working showroom. They chose HANDMADE by GIO in Super White to complement the sleek cabinetry and countertops.

Handmade by GIO on wall at Focus Design

Handmade by GIO on wall at Focus Design

We couldn’t wrap up this post without showing off our very own working showroom! The top photo shows our Vintage in Florentine on the full-height backsplash, and the bottom image shows our  GIO_Thin 5.5 in Calcatta Honed 39×39 on the floor.

VINTAGE in Florentine at GIO working showroom.

GIO showroom

Don’t forget, we love to show off your installation pics. You can email them to news@giotile.com. Please include any additional information about the project and those involved in the project. Thanks for considering GIO for your tile projects!

GIO is your gateway to beautifully designed, strategically selected collections of floor and wall tile sure to fit your demanding specification requirements and unique style. We look forward to working with you!