Tile grout is best considered the unsung hero of floor tiling. When it works well, tile grout is largely invisible and easily forgotten, only to be noticed when it fails or ages. A good grout not only links your beautiful floor or wall tiles, but it also helps protect and strengthen them for long-lasting benefits.
What is Tile Grout?
Hard tiles like ceramic, porcelain, stone and marble will naturally expand or contract in response to factors like temperature. If placed directly next to each other, this shifting will inevitably lead to cracking and chipping that wears away at the tile's integrity and beauty.
Why Tile Grouting?
Tile grout is used to fill in the area between tiles and provide a helpful buffer that prevents this wearing away. Grout also acts as a seal that keeps moisture and bacteria from slipping in-between tiles and compromising the tile layers below the surface.
The Two Types of Grout
Grout is either cement-based or epoxy-based and the one you need will depend on the nature of the project involved.
1. Cement Based Tile Grout:
1.1. Unsanded Grout:
As the name implies, cement-based grout is made of a mixture of Portland cement, water, and pigments. This is the basic "unsanded" formula that is used when applying tile grout to narrow spaces of one eighth of an inch or less.
1.2. Sanded Grout:
For larger joints, sanded tile grout is used. This is when sand is added to the mixture in order to improve bulk and prevent shrinkage.
Both forms of cement-based grout are also going to need grout sealers in order to maintain integrity.
2. Epoxy Based Tile Grout:
Epoxy-based grout for tile is made of a mixture of resin and hardener and, like its cement sibling, has sanded and unsanded versions. Epoxy is most known for its waterproof and resistant nature when contrasted with cement. It also has a longer shelf life; a container of epoxy grout can last indefinitely, so long as it isn't subjected to freezing cold.
Which Type of Grout is Best?
Both cement- and epoxy-based tile grout can offer protection to your tile floors and walls. Which one wins out depends on a mixture of circumstances and personal preference.
Cement grout is easier to shape when applying and has a somewhat pudding-like texture; this makes it more useful for grouting corners, round edges, and curves. As mentioned above, cement grout also needs a grout sealer due to how porous it can be. In areas with lots of water or potential contaminants, like in a kitchen or a bathroom—it may not be the best option.
Epoxy grout is inherently resistant to water, stains, acids, and greases, thus making it great for places where cement would falter. However, epoxy is also a bit harder to apply and more difficult to remove once it sets. A finished epoxy grout has a rubbery, plastic-like appearance that can be displeasing to some tastes as well.
Overall, the kind of wall and floor tile grout you use will depend mainly on personal taste, the kind of surface you are tiling, the shape of that surface, and how wet or greasy you expect it to get.
Get Great Wall & Floor Tile Grout at Centura
In addition to countless tiling options that allow you to bring any home design vision to life, Centura Tile also offers a variety of grouting options so you can protect, cushion, and accentuate your tiles. We offer several different types of grout and our tiling experts can advise you on pigment, application, and removal options as well. To learn more about how you can apply, maintain, or acquire new grout, contact us or visit a Centura Tile dealer near you.