Although similar, there’s a difference between mortar and tile setting grout. Mortar is thicker and used primarily for laying bricks or stones. An essential part of any tile job, grout is thinner and used primarily as a joint filler between the tiles. There are several different types of grout. The most common ones are sanded, unsanded and epoxy. Before you figure out how much grout you need, decide which type of grout to use. The right grout for your project will depend on where your tile will be and how it will be used. Read on to find out the best grout for your shower, the right grout for tile flooring and more.
Different Types of Grout
Epoxy grout is made of resins, silica fillers, pigments and hardener. Sanded and unsanded grouts are cementitious grouts. This means their main component is cement. Sanded and unsanded grouts can be used for almost any tiling project. However, they do dry slowly. Give them time to cure and develop maximum strength and durability. Here’s some things to keep in mind when choosing grout:
- Appears and feels gritty.
- Contains large grains of sand to bond grout and prevent cracking.
- Use to grout seams that are 1/8-inch or wider.
- Do not use in seams that are thinner than 1/8-inch. Sand particles can fill too much width and weaken the structure.
- Shrinks insignificantly as it dries.
Unsanded Grout (non-sanded grout or wall grout):
- Contains very fine mineral particles.
- Has no noticeable grit and a smoother texture than sanded.
- Use to grout narrow seams that are 1/6-inch to 1/8-inch wide.
- Do not use in seams wider than 1/8-inch. Unsanded grout tends to crack.
- Shrinks noticeably as it dries.
- Is waterproof and less porous than cementitious grouts.
- Works well for seams wider than 1/8-inch.
- Does not need to be sealed.
How to Choose Grout
The grout you select will vary based on what tile you’re using and where you’re installing it. Below are facts to consider, especially if you’re choosing between sanded vs. unsanded grout:
- Highly durable and stable enough to stand up to pressure.
- Ideal for interior flooring projects, especially high-traffic areas.
- May scratch or scuff, matte tile stone or polished tile.
- Stickier and easier to work with than sanded grout.
- Perfect for tiling on walls or vertical surfaces.
- Won’t scratch soft, smooth or polished tile and stone.
- Waterproof, durable, stain- and shrink-resistant.
- Best grout for a backsplash, shower surround and other surfaces susceptible to moisture or stains.
- Works well with unglazed and other tiles.
- Dries very quickly, making it more difficult to work with.
Grout with Special Features
Epoxy and other types of grouts can have special features that make them low maintenance, easy to change or looking new.
- Pre-colored grouts come in a variety of shades to match or complement tile. They usually also resist stains and fading.
- Mold or mildew resistant grout contain anti-fungal or antimicrobial additives, making them easier to maintain.
- Moisture resistant grouts have various levels of polymers that slow or prevent the water penetration.
- No sealing required grout contains additives that can stop moisture and stains.
Grout Maintenance Tips
Prevention is the best cure for grout problems. Since cement grouts are especially porous, they can stain and are easily damaged by water. Make sure to use a penetrating grout sealer as soon as you finish installing your tile. Reseal existing sanded or unsanded grout every two years or so.
Keeping your grout free from mildew, mold and cracks requires regular maintenance and care. Wipe up any spills quickly and spot clean stains. Although epoxy grouts can often handle harsh cleaning chemicals, it’s generally best to avoid them for every type of grout. Harsh cleaners can crack or cause grout to break down.
An essential part of any tile job, there are several different types of grout. Deciding whether to use sanded, unsanded or epoxy grout depends on the type of tile and purpose. Sanded grout is highly durable while epoxy grout is waterproof. Always seal your grout to keep it looking and performing like new. Ready to get the right grout for your next tile project? The Home Depot delivers online orders when and where you need them.