Save for a few unique exceptions, you'll need grout for your tile installation!
There are several different types of grout, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. See our comparison lists below to help select the right grout for your installation.
If there's any risk of spills or messes on a tile surface, you need to have grout. Grout fills the seams between the tiles to create a barrier that helps keep dirt and moisture out. Specifically, any kitchen, bathroom, shower, backsplash, or floor tiles need grout between them.
Tightly set tiles do not protect against water damage; liquids will use any crack to wick behind your tiles and can cause mold and mildew, which pose a health hazard and can lead to serious structural damage.
Grout helps your tile installation adjust to the natural movement and settling of your house.
Grout joints also allow for contraction and expansion of the tiles; outside installations exposed to hot summers and cold winters will fail if they are not set correctly and properly grouted. Inside, tiles can buckle and come loose if not properly set with adequate grout and the occasional expansion joint.
The only times when you can forgo grout are when tiling on a fireplace face (where there's no water, foot traffic, or spill risks) or when using a splitface mosaic or slate ledgerstone (the pieces are tightly set and heavily textured, with no room for grout).
To make grout as low-maintenance as possible, consider these options:
Most people choose a grout color that matches their tile, so that the grout disappears as much as possible.
Sometimes a contrasting color is chosen. This can make everything lighter or darker, more dramatic, or introduce a color that wasn't present before. If you grout a white and black mosaic with a red grout, it's now a black, white, and red mosaic.
A medium tone will hide dirt, while a very light or very dark color will show dirt.
These pictures show how much grout color can change your installation. Click to enlarge!
We deal with 3 major types of grout: pre-mixed, epoxy, and cement-based. Below are listed the pros and cons of each. For more information on each of the different types, please visit their individual pages.
+ Color Consistency: From one bucket to the next, your color will be exactly the same!
+ Stain Resistance: Non-porous, so you will never need to seal these grouts!
+ Crack-Resistant Flexibility: With the exception of expansion joints on floors, you don't need to use caulking and can put pre-mixed grouts in grout joints up to 1/2" wide.
+ Quick Install: Including clean up, this is a one step installation process. No need to come back and seal later.
+ Work in Increments: Unlike epoxy, where everything has to be installed at once, you can work in small sections and revisit the grout later.
+ Long Life In-Bucket: You can open a bucket, use some grout, re-seal the bucket, and then use your grout again up to two years later!
+ No Dust: Unlike cement grout, no powders to mix, meaning cleaner air.
+ Low VOCs: Epoxy is known for its hazardous fumes. Urethane grout has no BPA or NMP
- Price: Pre-mixed grouts range from $50-$100 per 1 gallon unit, depending upon color, brand, and availability.
- Work in small sections: Pre-mixed grouts dry by evaporation. If you try to grout an area larger than 4-6 sqft before grabbing a sponge to clean up, you'll find that the grout has already started to stiffen.
- Haze: Even if you do a very thorough cleaning, there may be some grout residue on the surface of your tiles. Fortunately, fine residue can usually be buffed off with a paper towel, and we have cleaners for more stubborn residue.
- Texture: The pre-mixed grouts have a sandy texture, and can scratch certain materials such as stainless steel during the installation process.
Learn more about QuartzLock2 Urethane Grout.
Learn about the sparkling, decorative Dimensions Urethane Grout.
Learn more about Fusion Pro.
+ Stain Resistance: You will never need to seal epoxy!
+ Color Options: A wide selection and fun, unique options, including glow-in-the-dark.
+ Best for Specialty Wet Areas: Most other grouts are not recommended for submerged or steamy areas (pools, steam rooms, etc.) or water installations with high chemical content (chlorine, salt water spas, etc.)
- Tricky Application: If you aren't careful, epoxy will set up before you can clean up. You're limited by how much time you have to work after mixing the components together. Work fast.
- Tough Clean-Up: This rubbery grout is stubborn when dry and requires specialty cleaners to dissolve epoxy residue.
- Fumes: Make sure you have good ventilation when using epoxy grout; some of the chemicals in this grout are harsh and strong. Banned in France.
- Mixing: You have to mix two or three separate components together before application.
Learn more about Epoxy Grout.
+ Color Selection: Cement-based grouts are the most common type of grout, and as such have the widest color selection.
+ Easy to Install, Easy to Clean Up: After installation, all you need is a wet cloth or, at worst, some light scrubbing to remove grout residue from your tiles.
+ Inexpensive: Per unit, cement-based grout is the cheapest grout available.
- Poor Color Consistency: Many factors (including minerals in your water, how you mix the grout, humidity, temperature, etc.) can affect the look of your grout, causing inconsistencies and hazy efflorescence.
- Porosity: Of the three major grout types, this is the only one with pores, which can allow staining and bacterial growth.
- Needs to be Sealed: A penetrating sealer is recommended to protect this grout from staining and mildew.
- Brittleness: Caulking is needed for corners and edges. Cementitious grout in corners will crack and flake out over time, and can crumble if not installed properly
- Breathing Hazard: The powder in the grout can get in your air and into your lungs; wear a mask when mixing
Learn more about Cement-Based Grout.
M-F 7:30am - 5:30pm
Sat 9:00am - 5:00pm
Appointments recommended for one-on-one service and complimentary design consultations
1531 Central Ave S
Kent, WA 98032