The time has come. You have decided to install new floor tiles in your house. Most likely, you will spend a ton of time searching for tiles that you love. They are going to be part of your home for years to come, so making sure you pick out the ones that work best for you is key. You probably won’t spend as much time considering what type of grout you will be using in between your tiles. Grout is an important component of tiling. This is a tough decision to make last minute and should be part of the big decision.

Grout holds tiles together, preventing moisture and water from getting into the layers underneath. It also forms a strong foundation around the whole structure, making sure to keep every tile in its place as well as saving tiles from cracks or chips. Grout can be as versatile as the tiles themselves and there is different grout for different tiles. Traditionally, grout is made by mixing cement, sand and water. It is then applied using a grout float and takes about a day to dry. It can also be made from synthetics such as polymers and epoxy. 

Let’s take a look at the most common types of grout: 

Unsanded/Non-Sanded Grout
This kind of grout is typically made from mixing cement, water and non-sand particles. only used for wall tiles and specifically for grout joints that are smaller than 1/8th of an inch. Unsanded grout tends to shrink after drying. If used in grout lines that are larger, it will shrink to the point where grout lines will be exposed and then resulting in an unsuccessful application. But because it is made with non-sand particles, this type of grout is great for natural stone like a polished marble and ceramic tile as well as shower floors and walls. If you do use this kind of grout, it should be sealed when you’re finished applying to reduce the amount of water that it will absorb. 

Sanded Grout
This grout is very popular because it gets hard as cement when it has dried. This is a cement based mortar which has sand added to it. This type of grout should be used for tiles that have a grout joint that is larger than 1/8th of an inch because there is no risk of the grout shrinking and ruining the grout job because of the added sand. The sand provides an extra strength to the grout joints, making the whole foundation more resilient to the wear and tear in the years to come. Ceramic and stone tiles are great for this type of grout since the tiles have larger grout joints. The downfall for sanded grout is that since its absorbent, it may attract dirt. And because of this, it is a good idea to seal the grout once it’s dried. By applying a grout sealant, you can keep the grout looking as clean as the first day it was installed. Just make sure that you don’t use sanded grout on tile that easily scratches like marble. 

This type of grout does not absorb water like the cement-based grouts do and is also stain and mildew resistant. Since it doesn’t absorb water, it isn’t necessary to seal it. It can be the perfect grout to use in a bathroom or another area that gets wet often (kitchen floors and backsplashes). This type of grout can be difficult to apply so it really should be done by a professional.

This versatile grout has both durability and strength to outlast most homeowners. It is made by combining epoxy resins with hardener. It needs to be applied within a short time period because it solidifies quickly after being activated. If the area for your grout is large, you should divide the grout into two groups and stash the other half in your freezer while you work (again, you should consult a professional). This will help slow down the chemical reaction and leaves your grout pliable once its out of the freezer. Epoxy also comes in a few different colors, which also makes it ideal for non-patterned tiles that can require a grout color that is similar to the tile. Epoxy does not scratch tile so it’s safe to use with most tiles.