Three Grout Tips from a Pro

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What is grout? Grout is a type of mortar, usually made from sand and cement, that’s used to fill the joints between tiles or stones. It provides protection against moisture getting into your home as well as filling in any gaps that may exist. If you have tile floors in your house, chances are there’s some grout involved; it can also be found on exterior walls and other structures such as chimneys or gutters.

what is grout
Bathroom tiling by manual worker grouting tiles with trowel cement mortar

There are two types of grouts: cement-based (for outdoor use) and water-based (for indoor use). The best time to replace old grout with new is when you’re about to put new tile down over it because the old will be removed along with the tiles themselves

Grout is defined as:

“a hydrous mortar whose consistency allows it to be placed or pumped into small joints or cavities, as between pieces of ceramic clay, slate, and floor tile”

This is according to the Dictionary University. That being said, we should discuss what that means to the homeowner and then suggest these tips from a Pro.

We have heard grout described in many ways. For example, “the concrete between the tiles”, “the line between the stones”, the dirty stuff between my tiles”…etc. etc. Let’s go through three quick very basic points.

Antique Ivory Tile Setting Materials Fg-c Unsanded Grout Various

Antique Ivory Tile Setting Materials Fg-c Unsanded Grout


The Difference Between Sanded and Unsanded

The homeowner needs to know the difference between sanded and unsanded. These descriptions are accurate but the usages are different. In general, the wider the joint the more likely it is that sanded grout will be used. The thinner the joint the more likely it is that un-sanded grout will be used to fill the joint area. The joint is of course what is between the stones or tiles.

Color, Color, Color!

grout tiling

Color, color, color! Grout in its most basic form is an inconsequential gray color. In many applications, that is totally fine. Take a look at the Mexican terracotta below and the wide gray joints. Looks great! But the truth is a little bit different. The typical customer at Marble Systems wants to see more color options than just gray. Fair enough! But please be careful with colors that might prove a little bit unstable in the mixing process. I once had a client that wanted a Pistachio colored grout. It did not work out so well. Neutral tones around creams and beiges might be a better idea.

Opposites may not Attract!

Remember that when it comes to grout and tile or stone, opposites may not attract. In fact, it may be a disaster. Here is what I mean. Usually, grout is “pushed and pulled” over the face of the tile or stone in the process of filling the joints. What if you are working a cream-colored grout over a cream-colored tile or stone and a little bit of grout residue remains? In most cases, this is “no harm, no foul”. On the other hand, what if you have white tile and decide to use the darkest black grout you can find. A true expert would protect the white tile while carefully tooling the black grout into place. However, in the absence of a true superstar at work, you might risk looking at the black grout haze on the face of the white tile for a long, long time!

Final Thoughts

Grout is a type of cement that provides the primary structural support for tile and stone floors. It can be installed using various techniques, but it usually needs to cure before water is used on the surface again. When installing grout in your home or business, make sure you consider how often you want people walking over it with wet shoes as well as what kind of surfaces will be sitting around it; these factors should help determine which type of grout you decide to install. If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! We have plenty of experience working with different types and colors of grouts and we are here to get everything set up so you can take care of other tasks while our experts handle installation!

To wrap this up, these are three simple basics. Marble Systems has showrooms across the USA and is now also in Puerto Rico. Go into one of them and the professionals there help you make informed grout selections!


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