Selecting the right grout is not as straight forward as you might think, and it is not simply a choice of color. Different types of grout are used for different types of installations. For instance, some tile installs require sanded grout, and others do not. You must know which type of grout is right for the project you are undertaking for the best results.
Sanded or Unsanded grout
If you are installing tiles with a 1/8 inch or wider joint, select sanded grout. Sanded grout has added sand to increase its strength and reduce brittleness. Using unsanded grout on wide joints will result in broken, chipped and cracked grout. This leads to water damage. Remember, 3/16 inch channels are greater than 1/8 inch. Use unsanded grout for anything smaller than 1/8 inches.
Choose a grout ideal for your particular type of tile and installation. Regular sanded or unsanded grout is fine for most types of ceramic, porcelain or stone tiles (although you need to select different mortars for these various types of tiles). However, if you are installing glass tile, choose epoxy grout.
It is more flexible and better suited for brittle glass. For installations in very wet areas (like pools, sauna or spa rooms, and some bathrooms) epoxy grout is a better selection as well. It resists stains and is more water resistant than regular grouts.
Picking grout color
Selecting the right grout usually comes down to one thing: color. It is not easy to select the right one, and there really is not scientific way to select the perfect color. However, following a few tips will help you narrow it down.
The color of your grout will greatly enhance or detract from your entire tile installation. So, take time to select the grout color. If you are using stone tiles, or multi-colored tiles, choose a grout that is the same color as one of the colors in the tile pattern. If, you have a solid color, choose one that matches or brings the color to life. You can select either a darker or lighter color grout, depending on your taste. Grouts that offset the color of the tile will create contrast that pops.
Also, think about the durability of your color. Lighter colors tend to show stains, whereas darker colors will not. Use darker colors on floors and other areas that may attract or trap dirt.
Sealed or unsealed grout
Some grouts need to be sealed in order to be waterproof. Check to ensure your grout either has the proper water resistancy, or you have the right sealer to protect the grout once installed.
Follow these tips and selecting the right grout will become a little easier. Next, learn how to grout the right way!