All About Grout

All About Grout

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Grout: But Were Afraid to Ask

Grout is that humble binder we see between every elegant tile that adorns our floors, our kitchens, our bathrooms, our laundry rooms, our mud rooms, our sun rooms, and for the creatively brave, a decorative accent wall. But what do we really know about grout? We spend so much time thinking about its elegant and decorative cousin, that we often times look at grout as an afterthought. BUT IT IS SO MUCH MORE! With a rainbow of colors available, grout is as much a factor in tile design as the tile itself.

So what is grout, and what is the reason for having it? First and foremost, it is a binder, locking tiles together. Next it is meant to lock out moisture. It also strengthens the tile itself, keeping edges from chipping and cracking. And last, it is looked at as part of the tile design. Yep, even those who work with tile have looked at the design element as a poor stepchild. But like Cinderella, grout is rising to the top and finding its place in the world standing as an equal next to king tile.

There are two kinds of grout, narrow joints get unsanded grout and wider joints, over 1/8 of an inch, get sanded grout. The grout itself is made of Portland Cement, water, polymers for stability, and powered pigment. It is that powered pigment that is making grout a force to be reckoned with because new polymers are keeping colors from fading. Epoxy grouts are more durable.

Look in any older home, and even most homes built even five years ago, and you will see nothing but white grout. However, with the addition of consistent pigmentation, designers have come to see the potential of this overlooked element. As a matter of fact, today Raven colored grout is the new “hot item.”

Raven is a soft dark gray color that makes white tiles look whiter, while showing less staining over time. If paired with dark tiles, this color makes grout lines less pronounced. The other option with tile is to use a dark tile and light grout to make the grout line more pronounced.

When picking grout colors, the experts suggest staying on the conservative side. Tile work is meant to last many, many years, so make sure the grout color is something you can live with. If you are not sure, mastic a few tiles on a piece of board and grout it. After it is dry, live with it for a few days, if you love it, great! If you hate it, you picked the wrong grout.

Grout is porous and it stains over time. It will need to be sealed. Once professionally sealed, your grout should be protected for years to come, but harsh chemical cleaners can break down sealant, so it is a good idea to have grout cleaned and resealed at least bi-annually.

Food, grease and oils, and other organic compounds can seep into grout and stain it. There are professional cleaners, as well as everyday substances, that can be mixed together to clean your grout. City Tile carries professional grout cleaners that DYIers can use at home. But no matter what you use to clean your tiles, there is lots of elbow grease involved, so make sure to wipe up spills immediately!

Our designers at City Tile can help you find the right grout to work with your tile selection. Come to our showroom in Murfreesboro today so we can show you the most up to date grout and tile combinations.