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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!


Why Tile is the Best Choice for Commercial Surfaces

GIO offers a range of products that are Green Squared certified to help you meet your clients’ demands for sustainable, healthy, functional, and beautiful building materials at a desirable price point.

Sustainability, health and wellness, value engineering (satisfying the product’s performance requirements at the lowest possible cost), and functionality combined with exceptional aesthetics are what commercial interior design clients are demanding when it comes to building materials. With client expectations at an all-time high, it’s becoming more important than ever to provide your clients materials that provide the sustainability, wellness, and performance characteristics they require, along with the look they want to achieve, at a desirable price point.

While the supply of materials that satisfy these demands is still somewhat inadequate, ceramic tile (and that includes porcelain) is the surfacing solution you can depend on to meet all these  expectations.

Tile is Sustainable

Composed of natural clay and other raw ingredients, ceramic tile doesn’t require the destruction of other natural resources like wood or plant material. Tile lasts a very long time and can easily be recycled when replaced. For those who value sustainability when it comes to construction or remodeling projects, porcelain and ceramic tiles are some of the best options available. 

Tile is Healthy

Because ceramic and porcelain tiles are kiln fired at very high temperatures they don’t emit any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the indoor air of a building. VOCs can lead to a range of health problems and are commonly linked to “sick building syndrome.”

Additionally, glazed tile offers a surface that cannot be penetrated by odors or other contaminants. For this reason, tile can be cleaned with nothing more than warm water (you can add in a little vinegar or mild detergent), eliminating the need for harsh cleaners that contain unhealthy or dangerous chemicals.

Finally, ceramic tile is non-combustible; it doesn’t emit toxic fumes when exposed to fire.

Tile Saves Money

Invulnerable to stains or absorbing odors, ceramic tile is also very hard and dense, offering a much longer lasting surfacing option over other materials which makes it a money-saving material in the long-term.

Tile Can Satisfy Any Design Aesthetic

New technology in digital decoration techniques are bringing the highest aesthetics and emerging formats, making tile a great candidate for many areas inside and outside of a building. High-definition printing allows manufacturers to supply high-quality floor tiles that have the appearance of natural materials such as wood and stone. The digital printing process has become so sophisticated that manufacturers can create tiles that vary from piece to piece, much like their real counterparts. Digital decoration offers a potentially unlimited variety of graphic solutions such as three-dimensional tiles with a greater tactile appeal and large-format thin porcelain panels that can even be installed over existing tile, thereby resulting in less construction mess and down-time.

Tile is Functional

High-traffic commercial environments require extremely durable surfacing materials that are also easy to maintain, and commercial-grade porcelain tiles are truly up to the task. Hard, dense, and solid, porcelain is resistant to most heavy-impact stresses. Its density also makes it impervious to liquids and stains. Porcelain tile is fireproof, has a long lifespan, and if cracking from impact does occur, tile is repairable because it’s easy to remove and replace the damaged tile (save an extra box or two of the product during installation to make color matching easier).

Making tile your first choice of materials for commercial surfacing is a no-brainer! GIO brings you a carefully curated selection of tile and stone products developed expressly for your commercial design projects. Our looks cover a range of styles to transform commercial spaces, from retail and restaurants to hospitals and hospitality. And while all our tile is inherently “green,” we also offer a large selection of products bearing the Green Squared Certified logo which are manufactured according to rigorous sustainability criteria and have been verified by an independent 3rd party to be in conformance with ANSI A138.1. You can see all our Green Squared offerings here.


Known throughout the industry as Thin Porcelain Tile, or TPT, ultra-thin, large format porcelain tiles have been steadily growing in popularity since they first started finding distribution in the United States almost 10 years ago. Also called large porcelain panels or thin porcelain panels, these big tiles are a distinctive product characterized by minimal thicknesses of anywhere between three to six millimeters, with dimensions as large as five feet wide and ten feet tall. One thin tile panel can cover up to 50 square feet! Less grout lines create a modern, seamless look, and because they are less than a quarter-inch thick, they can be used on vertical surfaces without the worry of the unwieldy weight of full-thickness porcelain. And as an added bonus, thin porcelain tiles can often be laid right on top of old tile, eliminating costly (and messy!) demolition.

GIO_Thin 5.5 is, as the name implies, 5.5 millimeters thick, making it suitable for floors as well as walls, surrounds, and backsplashes. Like all porcelain, our thin tiles are nonporous and stain-, heat-, and etch-resistant, making them a durable and easy-to-maintain choice for commercial applications. And with their installation capabilities, they are also a cost-efficient option for renovations. Panel sizes up to 39″ x 118″ (that’s about 30 square feet!) make for fewer grout lines disrupting the flow and pattern of the design. The result is a modern, sophisticated look at an affordable price point. From stone and concrete looks, to everything in between, we offer a range of on-trend thin tile styles in both polished and matte finishes to suit any design scheme. Here’s a look at some great options from our GIO_Thin 5.5 collection.

Stone Looks

Gio_Thin 5.5 Lagos Grey Matte 39 x118
Gio_Thin 5.5 Lagos Grey Matte
GIO_Thin 5.5 Calacatta
GIO_Thin 5.5 Calacatta
GIO_Thin 5.5 Statuary Marble
GIO_Thin 5.5 Statuary Marble
Gio_Thin 5.5, Onyx Polished 39 x118
GIO_Thin 5.5, Onyx Polished
GIO_Thin 5.5 Crema Marble
GIO_Thin 5.5 Crema Marble


GIO_Thin 5.5 Pure Matte Black
GIO_Thin 5.5 Pure Matte Black


GIO_Thin 5.5 Innovation Black
GIO_Thin 5.5 Innovation Black

Concrete Looks

Gio_Thin 5.5 Cliffstone Silver 39 x118
Gio_Thin 5.5 Cliffstone Silver

Be sure to click over to the GIO_Thin 5.5 product page to see even more options!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at our innovative thin tile line! Samples for GIO_Thin 5.5, in addition all our tile collections, are available free to the trade. Contact us anytime – we’re here to work with you!