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
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
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 (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.
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!