All About Tile Grout

Tile makes a striking design statement on floors, on kitchen backsplashes, and in bathrooms. Tile grout is an essential part of a tile installation. Learn the tips and tricks for using grout to give your tile job a finished, professional look.


Why Grout?

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Grout fills the gaps between tiles for a finished look, keeps moisture from getting beneath tiles, and protects tile edges from damage.

Grout Tips

  • Use unsanded grout for stone tiles; sanded grout is used for most other installations. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the package for your tile type.
  • Use unsanded grout in narrow joints measuring 1/8 inch wide or less. Sanded grout adds stability to joints wider than 1/8 inch.
  • Help increase the slip-resistance of a floor by using plentiful grout joints. This is especially important in a shower, which means smaller tiles are generally better for shower and bathroom installations, where hazardous slick floors are common.
  • Minimize maintenance chores by selecting dark grout colors and applying sealant to grout.
  • Boost grout flexibility -- a necessity for creating joints as wide as 1-1/4 inches -- by including polymer additives.

Grout Colors

Unless you're going for a dramatic look, you want people to notice the tiles, not the grout. When it comes to grout, skip traditional white or flashy hues that match your tiles. Opt for soft neutrals that fade away, disguise stains, and let the tiles star. Select grout in a color similar to the tile to create a unified look. A light gray grout works well with white tile, and a sandy-color grout pairs nicely with brown or neutral tiles. If you want each tile to stand out, choose a contrasting grout color.

Grout Q&A

Q: How do you regrout floor tiles? Is it true that you have to remove the old grout first?

A: You heard right: New grout does not adhere well to old grout. If you want to do the job right, remove the old grout. It's best to hire a professional for this part of the project because you need to use a high-speed angle grinder to carefully saw out the old grout. Warning: It's easy to cut the tile in the process. If you're not handy with this dangerous gadget, it's best left in the hands of a professional.

 

Q: I would like to have my grout even with the floor tile instead of having a groove between the tiles. Is that possible?

A: It's certainly possible to make the fresh grout joint flush with the top of the tile. In fact, it makes for easier installation. Pick up a rubber float from a home improvement store. As you work in the grout, wipe the float across the surface of the tile to make it permanently flush.

 

Q: How much grout is required for a 6-foot-square area?

A: The answer depends on the type and brand of grout. First, choose the grout you want to use (color and type), and consult the packaging. Proper mixing instructions are printed on the box or bag. When mixing the grout, it should be the consistency of soft butter, maybe a bit stiffer. Next, let the grout and color product sit, as recommended, to chemically bond. Before installation, be certain the surface and materials being grouted are properly cleaned.

More for You

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Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

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