Most people spend so much time looking for the perfect tile to install into a space, yet take such little time considering what type of or color grout to use with it. But, grout deserves more attention and more respect. This Old House tile contractor, David Goodman says, “Not only does grout fill the voids, it makes the floor, wall, or counter top stronger by bonding the tiles together and preventing the edges of a tile from chipping or cracking.” Grout works to determine the functionality and durability of a tiled floor, especially in high traffic, heavy moisture areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. It also, however, plays a very key aesthetic role in how the tile is perceived, whether the concentration is on the tile itself, or the pattern and sequence of the tile across a surface that comes from the grout lines.
Read on for major considerations when selecting the perfect complimentary grout.
Type of Grout
Cement vs Epoxy: Cement based grout is the most economical, commonly used, and widely available type of grout on the market. Epoxy grout is pricier, more difficult to install, and harder to find, but do a better job at controlling water damage, chemical damage, are more durable, and far more stain resistant.
Sanded vs Non-sanded: Incorporating sand into your grout makes it more resistant to cracking or shrinking. This technique should only be used if the spaces between the tiles exceed 1/8 inch.
Sealing grout is most important for areas with light colored grout and for high traffic and moisture heavy spaces. Goodman recommends using more breathable sealers instead of “membrane forming” sealers which peel or trap moisture.
There are three basic approaches when choosing grout color, used by most designers and contractors nationwide. Matching the grout and tile color causes the grout lines to be less obvious and the tile itself is the star. This is the best option for expensive tiles with a basic layout. Contrasting the tile and grout draws attention to the pattern of the layout and the grout lines. This can be the best choice when dealing with detailed geometric or decorative patterned tiles. Neutral grouts in greys, beiges, and browns is probably the safest bet in many bathrooms, as they blend in better with the tile, and offer a cleaner, sleeker look.
Darker grouts hide dirt and stains, but can also fade easier and be stained or bleached by harsh cleaners. Lighter grouts can show more dirt, and can change colors based on lack of cleaning.
The designers at Caisson Studios deal with issues like grout very often. We are dedicated to making sure that every move we make is the best option for our clients, from an aesthetic, health, and practical point of view. Check out our online portfolio to see how we incorporate grout into our designs and also for great inspiration for your own spaces! Give us a call if you have any questions or are ready to start your own interior project!